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The Birthday Present Penguin Canada Barbara Vine


31st August 2012 Literature & Fiction 0 Comments

Ivor Tesham is a handsome, single, young member of Parliament whose political star is on the rise. When he meets a woman in a chance encountera beautiful, leggy, married woman named Hebethe two become lovers obsessed with their trysts, spiced up by what the newspapers like to call adventure sex.

Its the dress-up and role-play that inspire Ivor to create a surprise birthday present for his beloved that involves a curbside kidnapping. Its all intended as mock-dangerous foreplay, but then things take a dark turn.

After things go horribly wrong, Ivor begins to receive anonymous letters that reveal astonishingly specic details about the affair and its aftermath. Somehow he must keep his role from being uncoveredand his political future from being destroyed by scandal.

Like a heretic on the inquisitors rack, Ivor is not to be spared the exquisitely slow and tortuous unfolding of events, as hints, nuances, and small revelations lay his darkest secrets hideously bare for all the world to see.

The Birthday Present is a deft, insightful, and compulsively readable exploration of obsessive desireand the dark twists of fate that can shake the lives of even those most insulated by privilege, sophistication, and power.

In her newest Barbara Vine novel, Rendell has crafted a subtly sordid tale studded with imaginative plot twists and black humor. Though she reveals Teshams eventual downfall within the first few pages, Rendell builds a great deal of tension into her complex, tightly constructed plot, and her descriptions of Teshams sexual adventures, though accurate, are never lurid. Interestingly, most British critics panned the novela possible reaction to the liberal Rendells political leanings or a jaded familiarity with the national events framing the plot. However, American critics praised The Birthday Present, calling it one of [Rendells] best literary excursions to date (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). Readers in search of a smart, fast-paced thriller by an expert storyteller will appreciate Vines latest.
Copyright 2009 Bookmarks Publishing LLC –This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Vine, the pen name of Ruth Rendell (whose Reginald Wexford mysteries are among the best of contemporary British procedurals), turns in anotherinvolving stand-alonethat explores the twists and turns ofhuman behavior.Flipping between theperspectives of two unacquainted narrators, she chronicles the rise and fall of a self-indulgentBritish politician, whose careercollapses, in part,becauseof a tragic stroke of bad luck. Ivor Tesham, a rising star inJohn Majors liberal party, is shocked when he learns about the death of his mistress, killed in a car accident while on her way to him, bound andblindfolded, as the willing victim of a faux kidnapping meant to set the stage for a birthdaygift of adventurous sex. Fearing public censure, Tesham stays quiet, despite the advice from his sister and brother-in-law.As might be expected, hisselfish decisiongradually ripples outward, leading to unexpected consequences not only for himself but also for the other vicitims of the accidentespeciallythe womans troubled friend.As with her other psychological thrillers, Vine writes with calm elegance, slowly unravelling the story whileconstructing a strong sense ofplace, politics,and social class to support her players. Its the very ordinariness of her characters and the randomness of their lives thatcreate the drama here. –Stephanie Zvirin –This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

The Birthday Present










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