Synopses & Reviews
The first young woman murdered had a bite mark on her neck, prompting the media to dub her killer "The Rottweiler." As the number of killings grows to two, three, and beyond, that nickname sticks, even though it has become clear that the original bite was incidental. The Rottweiler is a serial garroter, distinguished by his habit of taking a small trinket from each victim as a macabre souvenir.
The strangled young women all lived in the same ethnically diverse London neighborhood near Lisson Grove, so it is here that the police focus their investigation. Soon their suspicions lead them to an antiques shop, where items taken from the victims start turning up amid the clutter. As we get acquainted with the odd assortment of characters who work in and pass through the shop, we sense that one of them will be the Rottweilers next victim...unless the meticulous killer makes an uncharacteristic mistake.
Ruth Rendell is in top form here as she deftly propels the narrative, alternating between the inner life of a compulsive killer and the daily affairs of those who live nearby, unknowing yet somehow aware of the unnerving shadow of his presence.
"[A]n especially sure-handed mystery novel from Ruth Rendell." The New York Times
"I hate to say that Rendell disdains genre convention or 'transcends the genre.' That would imply that the form she's working in is by its very nature unworthy, and only hacks work for 40 years in a form they disrespect. But genre is not the only way to explore the anxiety and deception that is Rendell's subject, and while she delivers the narrative satisfactions of mystery, she also, in The Rottweiler
, tweaks the form." Charles Taylor, Salon.com
(read the entire Salon.com review
A series of apparently motiveless murders disrupts the lives of some very different people in Rendell's darkly atmospheric London.
The first victim was discovered with a bite on her neck. The police traced the DNA to the girl's boyfriend, but the tabloids had already dubbed the murderer "The Rottweiler," and the name stuck. The latest body was found near Inez Ferry's shop in Marylebone. Someone spotted a figure fleeing into the shadows, but couldn't say even if it was man or woman. The only other clues are the murderer's penchant for strangling his prey, and for then removing a small token a necklace, a lighter.
To make ends meet, widowed Inez Ferry takes in tenants above her antique store. The unpredictable and obsessive acts of the serial murderer begin profoundly to disturb the lives of the heterogeneous little community of lodgers, especially when suspicion grows that one of them might be "The Rottweiler."