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Extended Audio Sample The Waters Lovely Audiobook, by Ruth Rendell Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,532 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Ruth Rendell Narrator: Rosalyn Landor Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2007 ISBN: 9781415939062
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When Ismay thinks of that terrible day, and she often does, she remembers Heather coming down the stairs—her dress wet, her face as still and white as a porcelain mask. Sometimes the memories return in a dream: climbing the stairs, following her dripping-wet sister to the upstairs bathroom—but when Heather opens the door they are standing in a marble chamber on the edge of a glassy lake. Ismay watches as a white thing floats toward them, its face submerged. She looks into the water and sees her stepfather Guy’s face, his lifeless, frightened eyes, staring up at her.

Now, nine years after Guy was found dead in the bathtub, she and Heather still live in their childhood home, and to this day the two sisters never talk about what happened. Although Ismay finds herself feeling intensely protective of her little sister and of the secret they share, their lives move placidly, even happily, forward. It seems as if the mysterious death of their stepfather is behind them. But when Heather becomes seriously involved with a man for the first time, Ismay’s long-repressed memories can no longer be ignored. With painful inevitability, the surprising truth will emerge whether Ismay wants it to or not.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A haunting, taut and perfectly woven mystery that can easily be devoured in a single sitting. Associated Press
  • A deft, sneaky and complicated book, a novel rish with parallels and shadows. . . . [Rendell] draws her characters with an insightful yet light touch. . . . The main mystery presented by The Water’s Lovely is how an author so relentlessly prolific . . . can do such buoyant, impeccable work. . . . [TWL] is one of her most gleefully energetic efforts. And its powers of description and characterization place it far beyond the limits of a genre novel. This book is less a conventional crime story than a sly social comedy in which not everybody dies of natural causes. New York Times
  • The Water’s Lovely is one of Rendell’s most virtuosic [stand-alone novels], shifting seamlessly from tart Barbara Pym-style social comedy to black comedy, to gothic horror, to romance, then back again. . . . As in all her work, this novel is grounded in spot-on, grave observations of human nature. Rendell writes marvelously here….A-, EW Pick Entertainment Weekly
  • Ruth Rendell, Britain’s best, offers up another well-crafted tale of psychological suspense. San Diego Union-Tribune
  • [Rendell’s] writerly decorum masks a darkness and horror that Agatha Christie never touched. New York Magazine
  • The creepiest thing in Ruth Rendell’s latest mystery, The Water’s Lovely, isn’t the murder . . . but the deep chill that can pervade human interactions. O Magazine
  • Chills from a master. People
  • The queen of the psychological suspense novel. . . .This [is a] subtly horrifying story. New York Times Book Review
  • Rendell is in absolute top form here. The Water’s Lovely is as suspenseful as any crime novel she has written, but it also has the generous humanity of her best Inspector Wexford cases. . . . Rendell provides the reader with many pleasures: her intelligence and humanity, her sculpted sentences, her jokeless wit. . . . What a sneaky mind the woman has. Washington Post Book World
  • She is one of the marvels of crime fiction. Forty years after her first book, Ruth Rendell is still producing work that puts her head and shoulders above most other writers. Sunday Telegraph
  • Ruth Rendell is back to her creepy best. She has always been wonderful at exploring the dark corners of the human mind, and the way private fantasies can clash and explode into terrifying
    violence.
    Daily Mail
  • No contemporary writer of suspense stories tries to vary the form’s boundaries more than Ruth Rendell. Guardian
  • Rendell’s eerie capacity to comprehend disturbed criminal minds continues to astonish. The Times

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joanne | 1/31/2014

    " My cup of tea. Off to find others by Barbara Vine. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Alicia | 1/18/2014

    " When I finished this book, I actually slammed it down and exclaimed, "This book was crap!!" Because it was. It focuses on a young woman who's convinced that her younger sister killed their stepfather when they were girls. As she frets over this, a cast of other characters all come into the story, leading to a bunch of totally unbelievable coincidences and interactions. The mystery's resolution is totally predictable, and the end of the book sucks hard. D. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andrea Howarth-Salazar | 12/30/2013

    " The storyline of The Water's Lovely is twisted and tangly, in typical Ruth Rendell psychological thriller fashion. There are many tense passages that have stayed in my imagination. I even found that my GCSE students wanted to know the story once they had read the opening - and that's some recommendation! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 YiShun | 12/28/2013

    " really nice, with thoughtfully drawn characters. Typically Ruth Rendell. Need some more Wexford now; he's considerably more redeeming than her characters in the non-Wexford novels. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristen | 12/17/2013

    " Ruth Rendell is a mystery writer that sure does an excellent job of capturing the quirky side of evil in her characters. The good aren't totally good and the bad aren't totally bad. Odd stories. Strange coincidences. And not always a happy ending. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kate | 12/16/2013

    " Rendell uses the unreliable narrator to great success here, and the characters in this work are vivid and well crafted. I read this in two or three sittings: I found it enjoyable, if not as gripping as some of the other Ruth Rendell or Barbara Vines. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stephanie | 12/10/2013

    " In my recent review of End in Tears, I remarked that Rendell seemed to be getting a little sentimental. Well, the pendulum has swung the other way on this book...she's back to creating tragic outcomes for her characters, and I, for one, am delighted. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarah | 11/26/2013

    " A very strange book with an even stranger ending. I enjoyed it but there were some parts that were rather disjointed. Odd very odd. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Karen Boothroyd | 9/8/2013

    " It went on a bit, but an interesting story. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Cher | 8/13/2013

    " Too much drama and just reminded me of relationships of junior high students. Story was just ok but honestly was time I could have been reading something more exciting! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ayla | 8/3/2013

    " Very gripping read - story of Ismay and Heather and the mysterious death of their stepfather in a bath tub nearly 10 years ago. Start off thinking Heather is the nutty one, but interesting how your view changes as you realise she's the sensible one. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nona | 7/29/2013

    " Not as good as other Ruth Rendell books, but would still definitely recommend. Characters are real. Themes of father-daughter relationships. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Nancy | 7/7/2013

    " What a terribly disappointing ending. It just didn't seem to fit. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rachael (iiluvmygirlz) | 11/17/2012

    " This book was okay, not great. I found some of the main characters to be very aggravating, but I did like the way that the characters stories were intertwined. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Laura | 11/12/2012

    " This great mystery novelist writes a non-mystery and it is GREAT. Actually, there is a bit of a mystery but that's the least of it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mimi | 9/21/2012

    " This is one of Rendell's best. The characters and settings are well-drawn, and there's a good deal of humor along with the suspense. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 allison | 2/2/2012

    " Not really a psychological thriller, more like a psychological meditation. I kept wanting to know what would happne next, but when I got to the end, I couldn't help feeling that very little had actually happened. All suspense and no payoff--the suspense was enjoyable, though. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 William | 1/5/2012

    " I like practically everything that Rendell writes...though this book is not long on actual mystery as usually is the case...her ability to tell a story and keep the pages turning none the less make it a exquisite read in my book "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Poppy Hall | 10/19/2011

    " this was an interesting book, but not one of her best. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alejandra | 8/18/2011

    " Quite slow pace, not very easy to get into. Well written, but a bit disappointing as suspense goes. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kate | 4/12/2011

    " It was good. Up until the end, that is. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Steve | 2/13/2011

    " With a cast of nearly universally unlikeable characters and a plot that fizzles like a spent fuse toward the end, this is surely not Rendell's best. But even a mediocre Rendell has its pleasures. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ed | 2/10/2011

    " I was surprised at how much I liked this book. I will be reading more Ruth Rendell! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jamesgcampbell | 11/29/2010

    " Not the best Ruth Rendell but even that means very good "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Janice | 10/28/2010

    " This was my first book by Ruth Rendell and according to the reviews, this book was below average. I enjoyed the story, but was disappointed with the ending. Anxious to try another book and see if there is more of a conclusion. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shirley | 10/10/2010

    " One of my favorite English authors. Interesting story - did her sister kill their stepfather years ago? Ending was a surprising twist. "

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About the Author
Author Ruth RendellRuth Rendell has been awarded three Edgars for best novel by the Mystery Writers of America, as well as the Grand Master Award. In England, the Crime Writers’ Association has honoured her with two Gold Dagger Awards for best novel, a Silver Dagger, and a Diamond Dagger for outstanding contribution to the genre. In 1996 she was awarded the CBE and in 1997 became a Life Peer.
About the Narrator

Rosalyn Landor has won eight AudioFile Earphones Awards and been a finalist for the Audie Award. She has worked as an actor since the age of seven, both in Europe and the United States. Her extensive list of credits includes leading roles in film, theater, and audio productions, as well as in various miniseries on all the major television networks and in such productions as Masterpiece Theatre’s Sherlock Holmes and Rumpole of the Bailey.