book jacket illustration

The Crocodile Bird

A stand-alone novel published by Hutchinson in


Eve’s misdeeds anchor the structure but the book works as bildungsroman rather than thriller, the fascination lying in the growth of Liza’s mind under these unusual conditions.

Hugo Barnacle 1

Liza is not your average teenager. Sixteen years old, she lives with her mother, Eve, in a secluded gatehouse, which she has never been allowed to leave. There was only enough room for two in their cocoon; intruders entered at their peril, only to mysteriously disappear.

Liza is not the only one to discover the truth behind her mother’s pathological violence or the dead bodies. When the police arrive on their doorstep, Eve throws her daughter into the real world to protect her from the consequences of her chilling crimes.

As Liza runs into the arms of her secret lover, she begins to see the logic behind her mother’s gruesome crimes, and must accept the possibility that she has inherited Eve’s lust for murder.

I began to think of the concept of the Victorian girl brought up in a very isolated place. Perhaps with a mother teaching her at home, having very little contact with people. And then I thought, Well, what happens when you do this with somebody in our society? And they are exposed, at the age of mid-teens, say to our society as we know it now? And when I had thought of that, I had my character of Liza. Then I thought, Well, who’s she going to live with? Who’s going to be her mother? Then I thought of the character of Eve.

Ruth Rendell 2

Notes

Contemporary Reads 3

Footnotes

  1. Odd jobs and strange tales, Independent 1993. ↩︎

  2. Off the Shelf Productions, 1994. ↩︎

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