The St. Zita Society

The St. Zita Society

A Novel

Book - 2012 | 1st Scribner hardcover ed.
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From three-time Edgar Award-winning mystery writer Ruth Rendell comes a captivating and expertly plotted tale of residents and servants on one block of a posh London street--and the deadly ways their lives intertwine.

Life for the residents and servants of Hexam Place appears placid and orderly on the outside: drivers take their employers to and from work, dogs are walked, flowers are planted in gardens, and Christmas candles lit uniformly in windows. But beneath this tranquil veneer, the upstairs-downstairs relationships are set to combust.

Henry, the handsome valet to Lord Studley, is sleeping with both the Lord's wife and his university-age daughter. Montserrat, the Still family's lazy au pair, assists Mrs. Still in keeping secret her illicit affair with a television actor--in exchange for pocket cash. June, the haughty housekeeper to a princess of dubious origin, tries to enlist her fellow house-helpers into a "society" to address complaints about their employers. Meanwhile, Dex, the disturbed gardener to several families on the block, thinks a voice on his cell phone is giving him godlike instructions--commands that could imperil the lives of all those in Hexam Place.

The St. Zita Society is Ruth Rendell at her brilliant best--a deeply observed and suspenseful novel of murder in the quintessentially London world of servants and their masters.
Alternative Title: Saint Zita Society
Publisher: New York : Scribner, 2012.
Edition: 1st Scribner hardcover ed.
ISBN: 9781451666687
Branch Call Number: X
Characteristics: 257 p. ; 24 cm.


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Jan 05, 2015

A very interesting story line but it ends abruptly with a few loose ends. I do not like the bad language she throws in here and there.
I prefer the Inspector Wexford novels.


I really enjoy R.R.'s books; have bought almost all of them for my personal library. Simply could not get into this one. Read @20 pages and got no feeling for any of the characters.
Better luck next time.

Cdnbookworm Oct 09, 2012

This stand-alone mystery is Rendell's latest. The plot revolves around the people who live on Hexam Place in London, primarily the servants. June, a long-serving retainer of one wealthy woman forms the St. Zita Society, a group encompassing the servants, to discuss issues that affect them. The group is loosely formed and lacks real purpose.
The plot here moves very slowly and the characters are the focus of the story. June, an elderly servant, of a similar age to her employer, who shows a certain level of familiarity with that employer. Henry the driver for a Lord, who is having a secret relationship with the lord's daughter, and with his wife. Montserrat, an au pair to the Still family, who does as little as possible, but assists Mrs. Still in her affair with an actor. Rabia, the nanny in the Still family, haunted by her own losses, overly attached to her charges. Jimmy, driver to a pediatrician, who begins to assert himself. Thea, boarder and unofficial servant to a gay couple, who also helps out their other boarder, an elderly woman. And, of great importance, Dex, a gardener with mental health issues, who thinks a god named Peach lives in his phone.
As the characters interact, we see the character flaws come to light.
Ending on an uncertainty, this novel leaves this reader unsatisfied.

LaBeteNoir Sep 19, 2012

I like the old fashioned country mystery quality of a fixed numer of suspects. It has to be one of the resident of a particular street in a wealthy area of London. I guessed wrong but that's okay.

Aug 23, 2012

This is one of Ruth Rendell's best. I loved it.

akarenina Aug 23, 2012

Too many characters merely shuffled around. Tone seemed one of indifference.


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