The Vault: Ruth Rendell’s sequel to A Sight for Sore Eyes

Books to the Ceiling

  A Sight for Sore Eyes came out in 1999. It is a novel of psychological suspense, not a police procedural – Reg Wexford does not appear in the narrative. Sight features one of the most genuinely frightening characters I’ve ever encountered in a work of fiction. In the more than ten years since I read it, I have not forgotten his name: Teddy Brex.

  The Vault opens with Franklin Merton commenting that although he could afford to buy a particular house, he could not afford to purchase a painting of it. The painting he’s referring to is entitled Marc and Harriet in Orcadia Place. The painter was Simon Alpheton, an artist of considerable note at the time, that time being 1973.

A Sight for Sore Eyes opens with Simon Alpheton in the act of painting Marc Syre, star of the rock band Come Hither, and his girlfriend…

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