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The Saint Zita Society
 
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The Saint Zita Society [Format Kindle]

Ruth Rendell
4.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)

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1

SOMEONE HAD TOLD Dex that the queen lived in Victoria. So did he, but she had a palace and he had one room in a street off Warwick Way. Still he liked the idea that she was his neighbour. He liked quite a lot about the new life he had been living for the past few months. He had this job with Dr. Jefferson that meant he could work in a garden three mornings a week, and Dr. Jefferson had said he would speak to the lady next door about doing a morning for her. While he was drawing his incapacity benefit, he had been told he shouldn’t get any wages, but Dr. Jefferson never asked, and maybe the lady called Mrs. Neville-Smith wouldn’t either.

Jimmy, who drove Dr. Jefferson to work at the hospital every day, had asked Dex round to the pub that evening. The pub, on the corner of Hexam Place and Sloane Gardens, was called the Dugong, a funny name that Dex had never before heard. There was going to be a meeting there for all the people who worked in Hexam Place. Dex had never been to a meeting of any sort and didn’t know if he would like it, but Jimmy had promised to buy him a Guinness, which was his favourite drink. He would have drunk a Guinness every evening with his tea if he could have afforded it. He was halfway along the Pimlico Road when he got out his mobile and looked to see if there was a message or a text from Peach. There sometimes was and it always made him feel happy. Usually the message called him by his name and said he had been so good that Peach was giving him ten free calls or something like that. There was nothing this time, but he knew there would be again or that Peach might even speak to him. Peach was his God. He knew that because when the lady upstairs saw him smiling at his mobile and making a message come back over and over, she said, “Peach is your God, Dex.”

He needed a God to protect him from the evil spirits. It was quite a while since he had seen any of them, and he knew this was because Peach was protecting him, just as he knew that if one was near him he should look out for, Peach would warn him. He trusted Peach as he had never trusted any human being.

He stopped outside the Dugong, which he knew well because it was next door to Dr. Jefferson’s house. Not joined on to but next door, for Dr. Jefferson’s was big and standing alone and with a large garden for him to look after. The pub sign was some kind of big fish with half its body sticking out of blue, wavy water. He knew it was a fish because it was in the sea. He pushed the door open and there was Jimmy, waving to him in a friendly way. The other people round the big table all looked at him, but he could tell at once that none of them were evil spirits.



“I AM NOT a servant.” Thea helped herself to a handful of mixed nuts. “You may be but I’m not.”

“What are you then?” said Beacon.

“I don’t know. I just do little jobs for Damian and Roland. You want to remember I’ve got a degree.”

“Blessed is she who sitteth not in the seat of the scornful.” Beacon moved the bowl out of Thea’s reach. “If you’re going to eat from the common nuts, you ought not to put your hand in among them when it’s been in your mouth.”

“Don’t quarrel, children,” said June. “Let’s be nice. If you’re not a servant, Thea, you won’t be eligible to join the St. Zita Society.”

It was August and the day had been sunny and warm. The full complement of those who would compose the society couldn’t be there. Rabia, being a Moslem and a nanny, never went out in the evening, let alone to a pub; Zinnia, cleaner for the Princess and the Stills and Dr. Jefferson, didn’t live in; and Richard was cooking dinner for Lady Studley’s guests while Sondra, his wife, waited at table. Montserrat, the Stills’ au pair, said she might come, but she had a mysterious task to perform later; and the newly arrived Dex, gardener to Dr. Jefferson, never opened his mouth except to say “Cheers.” But Henry was still expected, and as June was complaining about the Dugong’s nuts being unsalted and therefore tasteless, he walked in.

With his extreme height and marked resemblance to Michelangelo’s David, he would in days gone by have been footman material. Indeed, in 1882 his great-great-great-grandfather had been footman to a duke. Henry was the youngest of the group after Montserrat, and although he looked like a Hollywood star of the thirties, he was in reality driver and sometime gardener and handyman to Lord Studley, performing the tasks that Richard couldn’t or wouldn’t do. His employer referred to him with a jovial laugh as his “general factotum.” He was never called Harry or Hal.

Beacon said it was his round and what was Henry going to have. “The house white, please.”

“That’s not for men. That’s lady juice.”

“I’m not a man, I’m a boy. And I’m not drinking beer or spirits till next week when I’m twenty-five. Did you see there’s been another boy stabbed? Down on the Embankment. That makes three this week.”

“We don’t have to talk about it, Henry,” said June.

One who plainly didn’t want to talk about it was Dex, who drank the last of his Guinness, got up, and left, saying nothing. June watched him go and said, “No manners, but what can you expect? Now we have to talk about the society. How do you set up a society, anyway?”

Jimmy said in a ponderous tone, “You pick a chairman, only you mustn’t call him a chairman because he may be a lady. You call him a chair.”

“I’m not calling any bloke a piece of furniture.” Thea reached for the nuts bowl. “Why can’t we make Jimmy the chairperson and June the secretary and the rest of us just members. Then we’re away. This can be the inception meeting of the St. Zita Society.”

Henry was sending a text on his iPhone. “Who’s St. Zita?”

June had found the title for the society. “She’s the patron saint of domestic servants, and she gave her food and clothes to the poor. If you see a picture of her, she’ll be holding a bag and a bunch of keys.”

“This boy that was stabbed,” said Henry, “his mum was on the TV and she said he was down to get three A-levels and he’d do anything for anyone. Everybody loved him.”

Jimmy shook his head. “Funny, isn’t it? All these kids that get murdered and whatever, you never hear anyone say they were slimeballs and a menace to the neighbourhood.”

“Well, they wouldn’t when they’d died, would they?” Henry’s iPhone tinkled to tell him a text had come. It was the one he wanted, and he grinned a little at Huguette’s message. “What’s the society for, anyway?”

“Solidarity,” said Jimmy, “supporting each other. And we can have outings and go to shows.”

“We can do that anyway. We don’t have to have a servants’ society to go and see Les Miz.

“I’m not a servant,” said Thea.

“Then you can be an honorary member,” said June. “Well, that’s my lot. It’s got quite dark and the Princess will start fretting.”

Montserrat didn’t come and no one knew what the “mysterious task” was. Jimmy and Thea talked about the society for an hour or so, what was it for and could it restrain employers from keeping their drivers up till all hours and forced to drink Coke while they awaited their employer’s call. Not that he included Dr. Jefferson, who was an example to the rest of them. Henry wanted to know who that funny little guy with the bushy hair was, Dex or something, he’d never seen him before.

“He does our garden.” Jimmy had got into the habit of referring to Simon Jefferson’s property as if it belonged equally to the paediatrician and himself. “Dr. Jefferson took him on out of the kindness of his heart.” Jimmy finished his lager, said dramatically, “He sees evil spirits.”

“He what?” Henry gaped as Jimmy had intended him to.

“Well, he used to. He tried to kill his mother and they put him inside—well, a place for the criminally insane. There was a psychiatrist saw to him and he was a pal of Dr. Jefferson, and when the psychiatrist had cured him, they let him out because they said he’d never do it again and Dr. Jefferson gave him that job with us.”

Thea looked uneasy. “D’you think that’s why he left when he did without saying good-bye? Talking about stabbing was too near home? D’you think that’s what it was?”

“Dr. Jefferson,” said Jimmy, “says he’s cured. He’ll never do it again. His friend swore blind he wouldn’t.”

Henry left last because he fancied another glass of lady juice. The others had all gone in the same direction. Their employers’ homes were all in Hexam Place, a street of white-painted stucco or golden brickwork houses known to estate agents as Georgian, though none had been built before 1860. Number six, on the opposite side to the Dugong, was the property of Her Serene Highness, the Princess Susan Hapsburg, a title incorrect in every respect except her Christian name. The Princess, as she was known to the members of the St. Zita Society among others, was eighty-two years old and had lived in this house for nearly sixty years, and June, four years younger, had been there with her for the same length of time.

Steps ran down into the area and June’s door, but when she came home after having been out in the evenings, she entered by the front door even though this meant climbing up eight stairs instead of walking down twelve. Some evenings June’s polymyalgia rheumatica made climbing up a trial, but she did it so that passing pedestrians and other residents of Hexam Place might know she was more of a friend to the Princess than a paid employee. Zinnia had bathed Gussie that day and brought in a new kind of air freshener so that the doggy smell was less pronounced. It was warm. Mean in most respects, the Princess was lavish with the central heating and kept it on all summer, opening windows when...

Revue de presse

"The queen of the psychological thriller...an updated Downton Abbey with a higher body count." --John WIlliams, Mail on Sunday (UK)


"Rendell is brilliant...her sympathy for the human predicament comes across in every line of this novel."--Sophie Hannah, Sunday Express (UK)


"Rendell is just marvelous." --Herald Sun (Australia)


"As always, Rendell excels at detailed misunderstandings, paranoia, subtle power-shifts and the laws of unintended consequences."--Laura Wilson, The Guardian (UK)


"One hell of a read...Rendell keeps us hanging on."--Jane Jakeman, Belfast Telegraph (UK)


"Leaves you longing for more."--Kirkus Reviews


"[A] masterwork...dark, intelligent and intriguing."--People


“It's a pleasure to report that Ruth Rendell, at the age of 82 and after publishing more than 60 books, has given us yet another gem. A pleasure but not a surprise, since Rendell has for years, along with her friend P.D. James, been bringing new sophistication and psychological depth to the traditional English mystery.”--Washington Post

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 441 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 290 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 0385671652
  • Editeur : Cornerstone Digital (5 juillet 2012)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B007NG91J0
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°35.732 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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3.0 étoiles sur 5 a little disappointing 24 août 2014
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
A bit disappointing.i have read other books by this author which I have much preferred the ending was a little abrupt.
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2 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 La finesse et l'humour de Ruth Rendell "at the utmost" 22 juillet 2013
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Voici un "stand alone" - un non wexford - de Ruth Rendell qui aurait pu être signé Barbara Vine. La vie d'une petite communauté formée par les habitants d'une petite rue est observée et décrite avec un délicieux humour: il y a une vielle comtesse, un couple gay, une femme adultère, un malheureux "accident" qui arrive à son amant, etc. et, de temps à autre, apparaît Dex, le personnage principal, en réalité mais on s'en aperçoit seulement vers la fin. Les domestiques, au sens large, chauffeurs, servantes, dames de compagnie, jeune fille au pair ont formé, pour discuter de leurs affaires communes la "Sainte zia societé" Ainsi, l'ordre du jour de plusieurs réunions portent sur la manière scandaleuse dont les propriétaires de chiens se débarrassent des crottes de ces adorables compagnons: en les mettant dans des sachets en plastic qui pendent aux branches des arbres de la rue. C'est savoureux du début à la fin et les dernières lignes fournissent une fin extraordinaire - à ne pas révéler , bien sûr - où le grand talent de Ruth Rendell atteint un sommet.
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Amazon.com: 3.2 étoiles sur 5  121 commentaires
69 internautes sur 73 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 It's a Peach 15 juillet 2012
Par takingadayoff - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
The first character we meet in The St. Zita Society has recently been released from a mental hospital after trying to to kill his mother. Dex just scrapes by working as a gardener in a posh neighborhood near Sloane Square in London. He has prosopagnosia (face blindness) and seems to believe that his cell phone provider, called Peach, is the voice of god.

He is certainly the oddest person in the book, but not the most evil. There are many candidates for that role and even initially sympathetic characters come under suspicion.

The St. Zita Society starts slowly, which is not a bad thing -- there are so many characters, it takes some time to become familiar with their relationships and connections. The first death doesn't take place until nearly halfway into the book.

I can count on Rendell to keep me entertained, not only as I read the book, but afterward, as I try to piece together everything that happened and figure out how I missed critical clues. In addition to irresistible plots, Rendell draws the most fascinating characters in crime fiction. They unfold like psychiatric case studies. This time, she also increased my vocabulary, with dugong and psychopomp joining the list of words I can't wait to use in conversation if the right occasion ever arises.

The St. Zita Society is her best mystery in a decade. Can't wait for her next as Barbara Vine, due in December, 2012.
41 internautes sur 42 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Class Warfare 11 août 2012
Par Tom S. - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
I ordered this new Ruth Rendell book from Amazon UK because I couldn't wait for the American release. I'm a mystery fan, and she's been my favorite mystery writer for 30+ years now. I love her Inspector Wexford books, but I particularly love her "stand-alone" suspense novels. THE ST. ZITA SOCIETY is one of these.

Saint Zita is the patron saint of servants, and that is the group we meet and get to know in this dark, mordantly funny thriller. All the domestic workers on Hexam Place in Pimlico, London, have formed a club of sorts, gathering in the local pub to air their grievances about their privileged employers, and to console and support one another. But some of them are secretly more upset than they let on, and at least one of them is a psychopath. Then the murders begin...

As usual, Rendell has more on her mind than merely telling an exciting--and very bizarre--story. What creeps into this novel is a real sense of the still-ongoing class system in Great Britain (and, by extension, the rest of the world). As a strong advocate of England's Labour Party, she really has a few things to say on the subject. But she never forgets that this is, first and foremost, a suspense novel. A feeling of dread slowly builds in the reader (well, it did in me), the feeling I get when I watch a Hitchcock movie. THE ST. ZITA SOCIETY is yet another excellent example of why Rendell is one of the most celebrated and awarded crime writers around. There's no one else like her. Highly recommended.
38 internautes sur 39 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 First time I've been disappointed in a Rendell 19 août 2012
Par jrrtreader - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
I'm an ardent fan, and have literally read all her previous books (Rendell and Vine). I kept slogging through it, thinking it would certainly improve, but it did not. The characters were boring, there were far too many and we could not concentrate on any one, there was no mystery to the mayhem, the set ups were predictable--in short, if you are new to Rendell and you read this, do not think this is representative of her writing. She is about the best in the world. Don't judge by this poor showing.
26 internautes sur 30 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A Good, Juicy Read, Bordering on Barbara Vine 11 juillet 2012
Par Janet Swanborn - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
One thing I really like about this book is that Rendell does not spend too much time persuading us to understand the novel's resident weirdo. I've had to sometimes make heavy weather of that sort of thing in the past.

There is a definite working-class partisanship to the novel; Rendell, now a life peer, has never forgotten the injustice of poverty.

I don't want to spoil the book, and I apologize for this very perfunctory review. The book is a thoroughly competent smorgasbord of knaves and fools, knives and tools. Not in my top echelon, but worthy of Rendell's name. I read it in two sittings.
9 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Nothing happens until page 79...and then nothing else 24 septembre 2012
Par Derek Jager - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
What an odd book.

We all LOVE Ruth Rendell and read all she writes, but this was just...well, dull. NOTHING happens for 79 pages.

Characters are introduced and basically go in and out of doors. You have Rabia, Montserrat, Dex and about a dozen others. Most with odd names. And nothing happens. NOTHING. Then, someone dies.

Two people try to cover it up/hide the body. Sort of interesting but then...nothing happens. For 100 pages!

Then someone else is killed, mistakenly. Then the person who killed the person is killed in the very last sentence.

And that's it. I think if this was a 100 page novella, it would okay. But for a novel, it just is boring, which is NOT what a Ruth Rendell novel is.

I'll return for the next one. And if this is your first by her and you hated it, read A SIGHT FOR SORE EYES--it's brilliant!
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