This is what happens when you are mostly offline for a while. One of your all-time-favorite authors passes away and you don't find out for well over a week! I find this really heartbreaking. For me, when it comes to writers of psychological suspense, she wasn't just one of the good writers out there, she was THE writer. There are lots of really good writers who were her contemporaries or who have followed in her footsteps, but she did what she did so very well. Even a so-so Rendell/Vine novel has always been head and shoulders above all the rest.
I have been following her and reading her for not just years but decades. I think I must easily own close to fifty of her books. I have read nearly all of the novels she wrote under the name Barbara Vine (some of my favorites of her work) and a good lot of the Rendell novels. I have never read any of her Inspector Wexford mysteries, however. For some reason I have always thought they wouldn't quite compare to her other novels. I do own a lot of Wexford stories, though, so I will now have to rectify that.
I've always found her admirable. For her writing, of course, but I thought it really cool that she was not only a successful novelist but she was not only a Baroness but sat in the House of Lords in the Labour Party. And she was still writing up until the end. Last year she published a book and there is still one more forthcoming. And then there will be no more. This is such a loss.
I was reading Barbara Vine/Ruth Rendell novels well before I ever began blogging, but I have written about a few books here and there: A Judgement in Stone is classic Rendell territory and more recently (though still far too long ago) I read A Demon in My View (also classic Rendell). There has been some short story reading as well.
She is someone I could very happily go back to and reread all her books, and I have a mind to pick up something by her right now in honor of her memory. It is my summer of mystery and suspense reading, so I think I can squeeze another book into my reading pile. Do I pick one of the books I pulled (above) from my shelves closest at hand or go into my bins and shift books around to look for something older and different. Like I have said on many a previous occasion--I don't think Ruth Rendell can write a bad book, so whatever I pick up is bound to be good.
Have you read her? Do you have a favorite? I always enjoy her work but I especially have loved, Anna's Book, A Dark-Adapted Eye, A Fatal Inversion, The House of Stairs (I was all set for a reread of it some time back as you can see and it ended up in my reading pile above) and The Minotaur.