book jacket illustration

A Demon in My View

A stand-alone novel published by Hutchinson in


I was at the time living in a flat in which I found a shop window model or torso made of a sort of plastic in a garden chair. I was sharing this flat with a cousin of mine at the time and he is called Richards. There was somebody who had another flat in the same house called Richards and their correspondence got mixed up so these two ideas came together and gave me the idea for the book.

Ruth Rendell, 1981 1

Arthur Johnson doesn’t look like a murderous psychopath. He is a mild-mannered man who has never known how to talk to women.

Years of loneliness have warped his mind, turning his desire for a woman’s love and respect into a pathological need for carefully controlled violence. Locked in the cellar of his building is the perfect willing victim: a woman who waits for Arthur every night. A mannequin in the form of a female.

But when a young scholar of psychopathic personalities moves in downstairs—and Arthur’s mannequin disappears—where will he turn to satisfy his urgent craving for violence?

From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were—I have not seen
As others saw—I could not bring
My passions from a common spring …
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view …

Edgar Allan Poe, Alone

Notes

Contemporary Reads 3

Footnotes

  1. Means of Evil: Inside the Mind of Ruth Rendell by Diana Cooper-Clark, The Armchair Detective Vol. 14 Issue 1, Spring 1981 ↩︎

  2. The Best of Ruth Rendell, The Telegraph 2015 ↩︎

  3. Book links may earn this site a small commission. ↩︎