Portobello by Ruth Rendell
A Novel

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Ruth Rendell is widely considered to be crime fiction’s reigning queen, with a remarkable career spanning more than forty years. Now, in Portobello, she delivers a captivating and intricate tale that weaves together the troubled lives of several people in the gentrified neighborhood of London’s Notting Hill.

Walking to the shops one day, fifty-year-old Eugene Wren discovers an envelope on the street bulging with cash. A man plagued by a shameful addiction—and his own good intentions—Wren hatches a plan to find the money’s rightful owner. Instead of going to the police, or taking the cash for himself, he prints a notice and posts it around Portobello Road. This ill-conceived act creates a chain of events that links Wren to other Londoners—people afflicted with their own obsessions and despairs. As these volatile characters come into Wren’s life—and the life of his trusting fiancée—the consequences will change them all.

is a wonderfully complex tour de force featuring a dazzling depiction of one of London’s most intriguing neighborhoods—and the dangers beneath its newly posh veneer.

About Ruth Rendell

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Ruth Rendell has won three Edgar Awards, the highest accolade from Mystery Writers of America, four Gold Daggers, and a Diamond Dagger for outstanding contribution to the genre from England’s prestigious Crime Writer’s Association. Her remarkable career has spanned more than forty years, with more than sixty books published. A member of the House of Lords, she lives in London.
Published September 7, 2010 by Scribner. 322 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Crime. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Portobello

Kirkus Reviews

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Seething under the thumb of his grand-uncle Gilbert Gibson, a reformed burglar who seems an even greater menace to society as a fundamentalist Christian, Lance is determined to break into a flat or two, eat some of the food he finds, maybe pinch some jewelry or cash.

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The Guardian

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The casual, arbitrary exchange of the Portobello Road street market is echoed in the plot of Rendell's latest, about the vanity and thinness of gentrification.

Nov 29 2008 | Read Full Review of Portobello: A Novel

Book Reporter

Named for (and set largely in the neighborhood of) one of London's most famous roads and markets, PORTOBELLO begins --- as the best suspense novels often do --- innocently enough, with a colorful description of the neighborhood's equally lively milieu: "You can buy anything there.

Jul 07 2011 | Read Full Review of Portobello: A Novel

The Telegraph

In her latest novel, Portobello, Ruth Rendell visits the straggling thoroughfare in west London whose market was a handy source of bargains for Paddington Bear and the setting of a protracted song-and-dance routine in the children's film Bedknobs and Broomsticks, while its side streets provided a...

Dec 08 2008 | Read Full Review of Portobello: A Novel

The Bookbag

Summary: It all began when a man had a heart attack and lost some money and a group of people are brought together.

Oct 24 2009 | Read Full Review of Portobello: A Novel

Suite 101

Aurora Teagarden has a visit from the past when Robin Crusoe comes back to Lawrenceton, this time with a film crew and Hollywood stars in tow.

Feb 10 2010 | Read Full Review of Portobello: A Novel

Reviewing the Evidence

Lance is fixated on the mother of his child, Joel on his vision of heaven (or was it hell?), Lance's grandad on his new evangelical religion, and even Ella, mild and reasonable though she appears compared to the rest of them, is curiously diminished by the appeals of patients in need.

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MostlyFiction Book Reviews

Lance, for example, sees Eugene as “White Hair,” while Eugene sees Lance as “a non-descript sort of young man, all skin and bone, fairish, potato-faced but what did it matter?” Eugene Wren is distracted by the contemplation of marriage to his long-term girlfriend Ella, a doctor, and so the meeti...

Nov 04 2010 | Read Full Review of Portobello: A Novel

Bookmarks Magazine

British writer Ruth Rendell, a member of the House of Lords and an award-winning crime writer, is best known for her psychological thrillers and murder mysteries, including the Inspector Wexford police procedural series.

Sep 06 2010 | Read Full Review of Portobello: A Novel

Spinetingler Magazine

Brian is the non-fiction editor of Spinetingler magazine and one of the fiction editors of Snubnose Press.

Mar 23 2011 | Read Full Review of Portobello: A Novel

Spinetingler Magazine

It is a somewhat disjointed story of some disparate characters joined only by the Portobello, a winding street in London filled with stalls and shops where one can find almost anything at any price.

Mar 23 2011 | Read Full Review of Portobello: A Novel

Chamber Four

I picked up Portobello because, on the back cover, TIME Magazine calls Ruth Rendell “The best mystery writer in the English-speaking world.” As it turns out, that’s not a good reason to read this book.

Oct 14 2010 | Read Full Review of Portobello: A Novel

My San Antonio

Novelist Ruth Rendell is considered among the best mystery and crime writers of the English-speaking world, but she's more than that.

Oct 17 2010 | Read Full Review of Portobello: A Novel


The Kill by Jane Casey.

Sep 14 2011 | Read Full Review of Portobello: A Novel

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