Ruth Rendell wrote both under her own name and as ‘Barbara Vine’. In both guises she was a prolific and hugely successful author of crime and mystery novels.
Rendell had an inauspicious start as a writer, being fired as a local newspaper reporter for writing about a local sports club dinner she hadn’t attended and, as a result, neglecting to mention that the guest speaker had died while giving his speech. Death would go on to become the theme of her 24 Inspector Wexford novels, 14 Barbara Vine fictions and another 28 stand-alone novels. A Guilty Thing Surprised was nominated for the 2010 Lost Man Booker Prize, and she was a serial thriller prize winner. In 1997 she was elected to the House of Lords, as a life peer.