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To Fear a Painted Devil

To Fear a Painted Devil

A stand-alone novel published by John Long in

To Fear A Painted Devil is a non-series novel with its roots in the classic English mystery. However, it blooms into something very different under Rendell’s care, giving us the first real hint of her skills as an anatomist of the human psyche.

Val McDermid 1

Like any small community, Linchester has its intrigues: love affairs, money problems, and unhappy marriages. But the gossip is elevated to new heights when young Patrick Selby dies on the very night of his beautiful wife’s birthday party.

Give me the daggers: the sleeping and the dead
Are but as pictures: 'tis the eye of childhood
That fears a painted devil.
(Macbeth, Act II, Scene ii)

The whole neighbourhood was there, witness to the horrible attack of wasp stings Patrick suffered at the end of the evening But did Patrick die of a wasp sting? Dr Greenleaf thinks not. Heart failure is more likely.

Still, Greenleaf isn’t at peace about his death. After all, everyone in Linchester hated Patrick. With the help of a certain naturalist, Dr Greenleaf begins to think about murder.


Contemporary Reads 2


  1. Essay on Ruth Rendell for Penguin Random House ↩︎

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