❰Reading❯ ➽ A Judgement in Stone Author Ruth Rendell – Horse-zine.co.uk

A Judgement in Stone summary A Judgement in Stone, series A Judgement in Stone, book A Judgement in Stone, pdf A Judgement in Stone, A Judgement in Stone b8933363c2 What On Earth Could Have Provoked A Modern Day St Valentine S Day Massacre On Valentine S Day, Four Members Of The Coverdale Family George, Jacqueline, Melinda And Giles Were Murdered In The Space Of Minutes Their Housekeeper, Eunice Parchman, Shot Them, One By One, In The Blue Light Of A Televised Performance Of Don Giovanni When Detective Chief Superintendent William Vetch Arrests Miss Parchman Two Weeks Later, He Discovers A Second Tragedy The Key To The Valentine S Day Massacre Hidden Within A Private Humiliation Eunice Parchman Has Guarded All Her Life A Brilliant Rendering Of Character, Motive, And The Heady Discovery Of Truth, A Judgement In Stone Is Among Ruth Rendell S Finest Psychological Thrillers

10 thoughts on “A Judgement in Stone

  1. says:

    Often deemed the greatest work of one of the world s great crime novelists, A Judgement in Stone is justly famous for its arresting first sentence Eunice Parchman killed the Coverdale family because she could not read or write But it is not often appreciated that, however straightforward and revelatory it may appear, this sentence and the upper class narrator who utters it suggests an artful and deceptive interpretation of a socially complex crime Sure, Eunice kills because she is illiterate, but there are many contributing factors suppressed lower class rage, lower class shame, aristocratic arrogance and paternalistic meddling, the general obliviousness of employers and their objectification of the help, familial reticence that conceals essential information, the fear of village gossip, the effect of religious enthusiam on individual lunacy, and perhaps most important of all how two people can perpetrate a hideous crime neither would be capable of completing on her own.This is an absorbing tale told by a distinctive voice, a cold voice which keeps us aware of the march toward inexorable death, and yet pauses on crime s road oh so briefly for moments of pity and elegy The ending, too, is a particular pleasure I was certain the thirty pages or so after the murders would be anti climactic and perfunctory, but they are not they are crisp, ironic, and one of the joys of the book.Oh, if you like great movies Claude Chabrol s La Ceremonie, starring Sandrine Bonnaire and Isabelle Huppert as the two partners in crime, is at least as good as the book And that is saying something.

  2. says:

    Revenge of the DeplorablesWe have learned recently that the union of the illiterate and the evangelical is a powerful political coalition As Rendell notes illiteracy is a kind of blindness And evangelicalism is a form of egomania, a public selfishness that is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live The mashup of the two is a perennial phenomenon, but nevertheless it is surprising when it occurs and somewhat dangerous The ignorant leading the self righteous Could Rendell have been channeling Trump as early as 2000 A Judgment in Stone has one of the most arresting first lines in English fiction, rivalling even Dickens Eunice Parchman killed the Coverdale family because she could not read or write Of course Eunice s illiteracy is a consequence of a complex set of circumstances just as the Cloverdales upper middle class lives are or less determined by theirs Yet everyone gets on Neither Eunice nor the family she murdered could therefore be said to be in control, or driven by compulsion The designation of victim depends on how far into history one wishes to go.But the catalyst, the source of the flame that lights the fuse of homicide is a different story Joan Smith is a religious fanatic by choice not circumstances She suffered from a particular form of paranoia She projected her feelings on to the Lord She is thus justified by her privileged access to the divine will, which of course happens to coincide with her own on every occasion She is the disenfranchised wannabe, the self identified victim whom the world hates She prefers to attribute that hate to her beliefs and so can claim righteous motivations for every action.The sub text is important The Cloverdales are defenseless because they have no experience of Eunice s world or Joan s depravity They lack the imagination to understand what the coalition of the two is capable of doing Respectability is a vulnerable mode of life It limits one s imagination As usual in all her work, Rendell s literary mission here is to ensure that middle class smugness has just a touch of insecurity added for piquancy.

  3. says:

    Although it is the opening line of A Judgement in Stone which is most widely known and reveals the murderer of the Coverdale family, it is perhaps Ruth Rendell s second sentence which speaks volumes about the murderess There was no real motive and no premeditation no money was gained and no security Written and first published in 1977, this tightly woven and suspenseful slice of eloquence is just over two hundred pages in length but it offers an excellent social examination of the class difference so entrenched in England at the time It takes just nine months of employment at the country house of the upper middle class Coverdale family for Eunice Parchment to wreak havoc and the ensuing massacre of the four members of the household still resident within the walls of a fine East Anglian village dwelling A second marriage for both fifty seven year old George Coverdale, now managing director of a family firm and forty two year old Jacqueline Mont sees the union bestowed with a resident stepson for George in the form of a eccentric and studious Giles Of the three children from George s first marriage, it is only university student Melinda who returns home in between academic terms Overwhelmed at the work involved in running the household and doing the daily chores, an advertisement for a housekeeper at Lowfield Hall brings just one reply, itself a bleak letter which does not leave the lady of the house keen to engage the services of Miss Eunice Parchment A combination of vanity and snobbishness sees Jacqueline engage the services of a plain woman easily ad old as herself it not older and with a humble regard for her lowly position In fact, so keen does Mrs Coverdale become in offloading her burden of daily chores, within the course of a twenty minimum interview she is pretty much selling the Coverdale home and family to Eunice Parchment The inability of Eunice to read or write and her outright hostility to ever admitting it sees her an odds with the tomes that line the bookshelves and the leisure hours of the family Permitted to a black and white television, free of the need for purchasing a license or filling in a hire purchase form, Eunice is content with her lonely evenings of viewing Quickly she finds a favourite in an American LAPD cop and devoid of interference she would have no reason to wish for any different life Sent away to the country in the days of WWII, Eunice s illiteracy is the result of her sporadic schooling and a resulting oddly incurious nature Illiteracy had dried up her sympathy and atrophied her imagination That, along with what psychologists call affect, the ability to care about the feelings of others, had no place in her make up Contented knitting and enthralled in innocent childlike excitement in front of the television, Eunice has no wish to explore the surround area or makes friends It is the well intentioned Melinda who first raises the treatment of Eunice with her elders and keen to engage the hired help in conversation she quickly makes a nuisance of herself and shatters the tranquility of life at Lowfield Hall Soon offers to learn to drive and opticians tests are being booked for Eunice and the family seem to go out of their way to interfere and readily subscribing to the inclusivity and harmony within the workplace It is the breakdown of the television which Eunice has become so reliant upon that sees her branch out from Lowfield Hall and unfortunately encounter local gossip, former prostitute and now religious convert, Mrs Joan Smith Running the village post office, steaming open mail and seeing in Eunice a potentially malleable and green friend Joan Smith quickly asserts her leverage over the Coverdale s housekeeper However, Eunice is no fool and understands that she can reap the benefits of this alliance and as the burgeoning union flourishes, the seeds of resentment at her own misfortune in working for such a family and quickly planted and frequently brought out for examination Rendell does flirt with a deeper examination of the situation perhaps showing how television violence has come to stimulate Eunice s own latent violence and waves of aggression , but never ponders in true depth thereby leaving the interpretation that it is the meeting of two malicious souls each intent on using a friendship to further their own causes that causes the bloodbath into the denouement As Detective Chief Superintendent William Vetch from Scotland Yard is sent to deal with the case and quickly institutes,a murder room of the village hall, it falls on his shoulders to dole out blame and retribution Will a policeman of twenty six years standing overlook efficient housekeeper and see behind her reticent demeanour Admittedly it is a close call but in a piece of final Rendellian magnificence, be prepared for a last gasp resolution As the novel closes the inevitable squabble over the inheritance and whom predeceased whom, leaving Lowfield Hall uninhabited and falling into state of sorry disrepair.Succinct and enlightening, A Judgement in Stone a masterpiece in eloquence As the lady of the house when in conversation with her stepson Peter s wife attests I don t want to make a friend of my servant, I want her the way she is, marvellously efficient and unobtrusive I can tell you, she really knows her job So do boa constrictors, said AudreyMy inspiration for reading this novel was a forthcoming theatre production which was too expensive for me to purchase a ticket for, but in hindsight I think reading the actual text allows readers to appreciate the true range of Ruth Rendell s skills in clearer depth.

  4. says:

    Eunice Parchman matou a fam lia Coverdale porque n o sabia ler nem escrever Num romance policial, s um grande escritor ousaria subverter totalmente as regras, revelando, na primeira frase, a identidade do assassino, das v timas e o motivo Pois, a Baronesa Rendell f lo, porque o crime somente um pretexto para analisar a mente humana a do criminoso e a das v timas H quem diga que a vida vale a pena, mas eu prefiro ler

  5. says:

    I discovered Rendell s work when I was browsing The Top 100 Crime Novels of All Time Many of her works are included on the list that I came to the realization of maybe she s that good Since then, I became a fan of Mrs Rendell after reading this particular title.The story is about a wealthy family wealthy in the sense that they re all educated who hires a spinster, Eunice Parchman to serve as their housekeeper There isn t much problem about her at first for the family starts to like their new house proud helper as the days passed They even encourage her to take a day off from work since she does nothing but clean Until they start to notice something different Eunice s secret that will drive her to kill the concerned family The first sentences of the novel are so revealing that you wonder what would happen in the next couple of pages I don t want to spoil some interested reader but the story is about the effects of something important in our lives that if one s deprived of, will make living a difficult journey And particularly for Eunice, to resort to something drastic thus the meaning behind the title.Rendell is known not for whodunits but for her whydunnits With the presence of murder, there s always a reason But there was to it than that Everybody has reasons especially when one is compelled to do something unimaginable The novel is adapted twice for screen with English The Housekeeper and a French adaptation La C r monie I ve watched both films and in my opinion, the French one s better as Mrs Rendell also liked it I suggest you read the book first before watching the movie, not only because it s the original, but it s also complete.

  6. says:

    Great book It s not a mystery or particularly suspenseful, but it is a very interesting character study of a murderer I think what I enjoyed most were the fully developed characters nobody was fully good or bad, including the killer.

  7. says:

    Uma pedra que respirava, eis Eunice, tal como sempre tinha sido.

  8. says:

    Meh I can t say I loved this at all The narrator really annoyed me with the voice of one of the characters although I understood where she was coming from As the majority of the reviews stated the murderer is revealed in the first sentence or two of the story I honestly thought there would still be a decent plot though I was wrong The bright side is that this is not a lengthy book so I didn t have to suffer very long Bottom line don t waste your time or money.

  9. says:

    Count me amongst those who are not fans of this book Ok, the characters were well drawn Neither the characters nor the story were unbelievable So, I guess that s good And it was well written, in the sense that there was nothing trite or annoying.But I didn t enjoy reading this book at all I would actually go as far to say that it was an unpleasant experience From the beginning, the reader is told the whole story that Eunice kills the Cloverdale family because she is illiterate I suppose the suspense of the book plays out in terms of how such a minor issue could lead to murder But, knowing this end just leaves the reader to dread what is coming the death of a family who fundamentally doesn t deserve it and, while somewhat shallow, are people with good intentions.The only suspense in the end came from the dramatic irony of knowing what was coming, and I didn t like that, as I said above The only interesting part of the story to me was the last 30 pages, once the inspectors from the police showed up and were trying to figure out what had happened.On the cover, there are raves that Ruth Rendell couldn t write a better novel I know she has written many , so I hope this isn t true The book was written in 1977, so I wondered as I read if, in the days before the true crime books and shows like 48 Hours Mystery, which outline all kinds of real life cases with bizarre circumstances and motives, this book might have been appealing to the reader At any rate, I wouldn t recommend it to anyone I think I will give some of Ruth Rendell s other works a try but those that concern police investigations as opposed to another like this one.

  10. says:

    This is one of Rendell s most amazing, suspenseful books We members of Goodreads could scarcely imagine what it would be like to be unable to read Much has been written about illiterate adults We are aware of the efforts these people go to in order to conceal this deficit from those around them Many have developed coping strategies or employ artifice This book, written earlier in Ruth Rendell s career, has deftly described such an individual, Eunice Parchman It is especially interesting to note that the behaviors of this woman surround her fears of detection, causing her to erect an icy, impenetrable barrier from others Rendell s chilling plot, written with her elegant prose, builds in intensity, gripping the attention of the reader Her main character and her closest associate act in ways that would strain ordinary belief In viewing these arrogant and self serving exploits,one can begin to analyze and comprehend their roots as this author has so brilliantly rendered them in her narrative.I continue to feel awe in Rendell s ability to devise such pathological human nature, to delve so deeply in her character developments and to demonstrate such insight and tension in her plots.

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