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Download The Birthday Present Audiobook (Unabridged)

Extended Audio Sample The Birthday Present (Unabridged) Audiobook, by Barbara Vine
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (715 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Barbara Vine Narrator: Ruth Sillers, Paul Blake Publisher: AudioGO Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2009 ISBN:
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One of the world's most popular writers of mysteries and thrillers, Ruth Rendell (who also writes as Barbara Vine) tells a gripping story of one man's rise and fall from grace.

It's late spring of 1990 and a love affair is flourishing: between Ivor Tesham, an ardent womanizer and rising star of Margaret Thatcher's Conservative government, and Hebe Furnal, a stunning North London housewife stuck in a dull marriage. On the eve of her birthday, Tesham gives Hebe a present to remember: a man arranges for his unsuspecting, but otherwise willing, girlfriend to be snatched from the street, bound and gagged, and then delivered to him...

Barbara Vine is a pen-name of Ruth Rendell. Her works have been translated into 14 languages and more than a million copies have been printed in English. She was awarded the Crime Writers' Association Diamond Dagger for a lifetime's achievement in crime writing. Download and start listening now!

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Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 J | 2/14/2014

    " U.K. based story/author, political fiction, story is jumpy, UK ref make story long read. New shelf pick. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kim | 2/3/2014

    " I have really loved some of Vine's books but this one was really pointless. Even the fly leaf description of the "mystery" wasn't fulfilled. Disappointing but I have to admit I did keep reading to see what would eventually happen, which was ultimately a big let down. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sibylle | 2/2/2014

    " Brilliantly written as always but the story sadly fell flat. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jeanne | 1/28/2014

    " I was so disappointed with this book. I discovered Barbara Vine about 15 years ago and she became my favourite author. I can't read Ruth Rendell books, but when she writes as Barbara Vine she's fantastic. Until now, that is...the story was boring, the narrators' voices irritating, and the thrill of the thriller just wasn't there. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Peggy | 1/28/2014

    " This novel is written by Ruth Rendell writing as Babara Vine. I enjoyed 'A Dark Eye Adapted' years ago and thought I would try another Barbara Vine. This one was not as good. I couldn't really connect with any of the characters or even really like them. For me, I need to like the characters at least one of them! The plot was very good though so the book isn't all bad... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chanelle30 | 1/27/2014

    " This one was hard to get into, and even once I did...it was only okay. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ian | 1/19/2014

    " Not as good as the early Barbara Vine novels. There doesn't seem to be as much distinction now between the non-Wexford Ruth Rendell books and those written using her pseudonym. Still a decent read but not wonderful. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katie | 1/19/2014

    " I've found another solid mystery writer. Hurray! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Eva | 1/2/2014

    " An attractive but callous politician, a beautiful but shallow housewife, a daring birthday surprise and an accident that changes everything. A book about guilt, indiscretion, reputation and the subterranean motivations that drive us. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Piers | 12/14/2013

    " The worst 'thriller' I've ever read. No thrills, no tension, no drama, no point. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Marianne Stehr | 12/10/2013

    " This was horrible. I couldn't get past the first couple pages it just rambled and the characters meshed together. I never read this author before and I don't see myself picking up another one of her anytime soon. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kaethe | 10/27/2013

    " I had a little trouble getting into this, but found it compelling. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bonnie G | 9/25/2013

    " Good plot, not very likable characters though. Premise of kinky sex gone wrong kept getting in the way of a good political thriller. Downfall of the vain is how I would characterize this. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Vivian | 9/2/2013

    " Her style seems to be hinting at future events, but not clarifying everything until the end. Story of powerful politician who is destroyed, although not for several years, by the events which follow a very poor choice he made as a birthday present for his married mistress. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Morag Malloy | 10/23/2012

    " Not one of Barbara Vine's finest - the blurb was so much more intriguing and interesting than the way the book played out. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Andrea | 4/20/2012

    " Definitely one of the weaker Vine books but I love Ruth Rendell no matter what. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kate | 3/20/2012

    " Started out ok, but quickly degenerated into a lengthy waste of time. How does this crap get published? Why do I keep reading it??? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amanda | 2/14/2012

    " The Birthday Present: Liked it. Interesting voice / pov switches to the story. Was shocked to read the author jacket at the end and discover the author was in the House of Commons, writing under a pseudonym. Made me wonder if it was possibly a scandal she was basing this after. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Very | 1/26/2012

    " Just another anticlimactic mystery. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nancy | 1/16/2012

    " Psychological suspense from Barbara Vine who is also Ruth Rendell, when a prominent politician begins an affair with a local woman that quickly evolves into role-playing. The fun quickly turns disastrous when a birthday prank has disastrous consequences and is observed by outsiders. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lizzie | 12/14/2011

    " One of Barbara Vine's why-didn't-someone-just-tell-the-truth knotted stories. It's an interesting premise, as usual, but I'd have to say the end was disappointing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda | 11/27/2011

    " Interesting premise. I thought it was smart in the way it was written and was more like a novel than a standard mystery. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Cheryl | 9/13/2011

    " i've been disappointed with the last two barbara vine books i've read. bland and boring, not much action. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Natasha | 9/11/2011

    " A little slow to get into but once you get into the story its a good read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rebecca | 8/18/2011

    " enjoyed very much, surprising and not as creepy as some of her other psychological/nonprocedurals (a good thing) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bachyboy | 6/11/2011

    " I couldn't put this down. The plot just kept unravelling as Ivor Tesham tried to staunch the revelation that it was he who ordered the "kidnapping " of his mistress Hebe and indirectly caused the disaster that followed. Really good and really cleverly constructed. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michele | 5/18/2011

    " J'aime beaucoup mieux ses séries de l'inspecteur Wexford "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda | 2/4/2011

    " Great psychological thriller. Very enjoyable read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kirsty | 12/8/2010

    " I very much like Barbara Vine and this is precisely why. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kate | 11/20/2010

    " Started out ok, but quickly degenerated into a lengthy waste of time. How does this crap get published? Why do I keep reading it??? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Peggy | 10/21/2010

    " Barbara Vine is the master of suspense. Her insight into the human psyche is always interesting and creative. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gina | 9/21/2010

    " Ms. Vine weaves a cautionary tale set in The Houses of Parliament where on upstanding MP devises a unique gift for his Mistress. It was a great book to take on a long plane ride. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kemi looves 2 read | 9/7/2010

    " I found this book boring and the plot stretched out!! Maybe this why Ruth Rendell wrote it under a pen name. I actually put it on ice to read another book and then came back to it. I didn't lose my spot. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dwanna | 8/24/2010

    " A good read. As usual, Barbara Vine (Ruth Rendell) is good at showing the not-so-nice sides of people. When the person is mostly good, this can be unsettling. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Naomi | 6/12/2010

    " I cannot believe I gave this book 2 stars. It really only deserves one star. This book was boring, predictable and just could not keep my interest. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rachel | 5/24/2010

    " This book was fun to read. A thrilling suspense novel. Not usually my kind of book but i couldn't put it down. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Perkimom | 5/14/2010

    " While I did finish this book, I was tired of the British plodding sense of writing. There was some intrique and surprises and some interesting characters but it just wasn't a hit for me. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Sarah | 4/22/2010

    " Reading this for bookclub. Action didn't happen until the very end. I did not like it. Long and boring. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mary Kay | 4/12/2010

    " A traffic accident causes trouble for an MP who is into kinky sex. "

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About the Author
Author Barbara Vine

Barbara Vine is a pseudonym for Ruth Rendell, who has won numerous awards, including three Edgars, the highest accolade from Mystery Writers of America, as well as three Gold Daggers, a Silver Dagger, and a Diamond Dagger for outstanding contribution to the genre from England’s prestigious Crime Writer’s Association. A member of the House of Lords, she lives in London.