Since From Doon with Death (1964), Rendell has produced a steady flow of novels remarkable for their outstanding overall quality. The 17 Wexford novels, set in a fictional town of Kingsmarkhan, are police procedurals in the British mould, which have grown steadily more ambitious over the years. The most recent, Road Rage, shows Rendellís eye for topical issues and her ability to chart the hidden rocks of our society.
She also writes psychological thrillers that re almost unbearably taunt accounts of crimes, their causes and their consequences.
In 1996, writing as Barbara Vine, she published the first of nine exceptional novels focusing on past crimes and unhappy families, which can be compared with the "sensation novels" of the 19th century. Though novels vary in quality, and some readers find them disturbingly chilling, the work of Rendell/Vine constitutes a literary phenomenon.
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