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The Bridesmaid

The Bridesmaid

A stand-alone novel published by Hutchinson in

The commonplace and the bizarre conjoin in Ruth Rendell’s The Bridesmaid in which she traces a young man’s fixated path to maturity. He refurbishes suburban homes, lives with mother and sister, becomes obsessed with a garden nymph statue and then dangerously infatuated with its living lookalike. This relationship is emotional, erotic and vampiric with him as its victim.

Matthew Coady 1

Philip Wardman had more than just the ordinary squeamishness where death was concerned. Yet he could hardly avoid the suspicious disappearance of his sister’s friend Rebecca Neave, especially when everyone was ascribing the cause to murder.

Philip’s feminine ideal is the statue of the Roman goddess Flora in his mother’s garden. His marble Flora doesn’t fade, alter or die. But then he meets Senta Pelham, a beautiful, sensual, childlike actress and a living incarnation of the statue.

The two embark on a passionate affair that soon becomes dangerous when Senta sets Philip a test; to prove their love, they must each commit murder.


Contemporary Reads 3


  1. The Guardian, 12th May 1989. ↩︎

  2. Ruth Rendell’s support for village communities, The Guardian 2015 ↩︎

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