book jacket illustration


The tenth Barbara Vine novel published by Viking in

When I wrote Grasshopper I did a lot of electricity stuff, because my principal character was a female electrician, and I didn’t know anything about that. I bought a book called Electrics Made Easy. Well, a couple of years later I was in Switzerland talking to the husband of my translator — a very nice man who was a top-grade electrician — and he said to me, By the way, I would like to congratulate you on your novel Grasshopper, because all the electrics were absolutely right.

Ruth Rendell 1

An insect has six legs … and so does a pylon. It’s a grasshopper hopping across the fields.

Blamed by her parents for the tragic death of a friend, Clodagh has been banished from their home in the countryside to a dingy basement flat in the city.

Her life is transformed when she meets the inhabitants on the top floor of 15 Russia Road. An exotic range of young people who explore a London of roofs, eaves and ledges, thrilling in the freedom and danger.


Contemporary Reads 4


  1. P.D. James and Ruth Rendell discuss the development of crime writing since the age of Agatha Christie, and why it deserves to be taken as seriously as ‘mainstream’ fiction. RSL Review 2006. ↩︎

  2. Fancy a night on the tiles (and the chimneys)? The Guardian 2000. ↩︎

  3. Meddlers on the roof. Washington Post, 2000. ↩︎

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