King Solomon's Carpet

King Solomon s Carpet King Solomon s magic carpet is the London Underground running past the disused old school building that houses the most ill assorted covey that Vine Ruth Rendell has brought together since A Fatal In

  • Title: King Solomon's Carpet
  • Author: Barbara Vine Ruth Rendell
  • ISBN: 9780140156911
  • Page: 389
  • Format: None
  • King Solomon s magic carpet is the London Underground, running past the disused old school building that houses the most ill assorted covey that Vine Ruth Rendell has brought together since A Fatal Inversion for this updating of Conrad s novel of terrorist conspiracy, The Secret Agent Tom Murray is a promising musician reduced to illegal busking in Underground stationsKing Solomon s magic carpet is the London Underground, running past the disused old school building that houses the most ill assorted covey that Vine Ruth Rendell has brought together since A Fatal Inversion for this updating of Conrad s novel of terrorist conspiracy, The Secret Agent Tom Murray is a promising musician reduced to illegal busking in Underground stations and a sad little love affair with his accompanist Alice, who left her husband and newborn baby, taking only her violin Together with Jasper Darne, another dropout from his family who likes to ride on the tops of Underground carriages, and Jed Lowrie, a Safeguard volunteer who s left behind his own family to live for his hunting hawk Abelard, they live in a failed schoolhouse whose bell tolled for the only time in memory when the headmaster hanged himself from its rope The school s owned by the old man s grandson, Jarv Stringer, who now passes the time by writing a book on the Underground and taking in waifs and strays while his aunt Cecilia Darne, Jasper s grandmother, quietly declines around the corner under the variously watchful eyes of her relatives and her longtime companion Daphne Bleech Palmer The apple of discord in this extended, dysfunctional family is sinister Axel Jonas, who rides the trains with a dancing bear, actually a man named Ivan, until Jasper one day leads him to Jarvis s, where he takes up residence, seduces Alice, and begins to gather details about the operation of the Underground in preparation for a cataclysmic bombing It s no shame for Vine Rendell to fall short of her peerless model the air of foreboding is as expertly invoked as ever, but the story, following one misfit after another but never bringing them very much closer together even at the inevitable tolling of the schoolhouse bell, lacks the momentum of Conrad, or of such earlier triumphs as A Judgment in Stone Richly textured but slow moving a thriller for readers who think it s better to travel hopelessly than to arrive Kirkus Reviews

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      Posted by:Barbara Vine Ruth Rendell
      Published :2019-01-26T08:44:00+00:00

    About “Barbara Vine Ruth Rendell

    • Barbara Vine Ruth Rendell

      Pseudonym of Ruth Rendell.Rendell created a third strand of writing with the publication of A Dark Adapted Eye under her pseudonym Barbara Vine in 1986 Books such as King Solomon s Carpet, A Fatal Inversion and Anna s Book original UK title Asta s Book inhabit the same territory as her psychological crime novels while they further develop themes of family misunderstandings and the side effects of secrets kept and crimes done Rendell is famous for her elegant prose and sharp insights into the human mind, as well as her ability to create cogent plots and characters Rendell has also injected the social changes of the last 40 years into her work, bringing awareness to such issues as domestic violence and the change in the status of women.

    620 thoughts on “King Solomon's Carpet

    • I should have trusted my instinct (which was that I wouldn't like another Barbara Vine book) but I was fooled by the blurb saying it was a modern-day take on Conrad's Secret Agent which I enjoyed immensely. Now that I have finished, I can somewhat comprehend that description but while Conrad's story thrilled & fascinated me, this one mostly bored me. It is a "psychological thriller"; apparently that means it is about people's thoughts & emotions with very little action (and most of that [...]


    • Synopsis/blurb….King Solomon's Carpet is a prize-winning crime classic from bestselling author Barbara VineWinner of the Crime Writers Association Gold Dagger Award'The tension grows an overwhelming sense of foreboding when the unravelling takes place, it is brilliantly unexpected and original' The TimesJarvis Stringer lives in a crumbling schoolhouse overlooking a tube line, compiling his obsessive, secret history of London's Underground. His presence and his strange house draw a band of mi [...]


    • When I first started reading this book I was interested, then I lost my interest but kept reading and then BOOM, I was hooked. A very unusual story with a cast of misfit characters living in an old schoolhouse where the owner Jarvis, rents out rooms to people in need. The school is situated on a rail line(s) and the school house shakes when the trains roll by. Jarvis is obsessed with the London Transportation System, aka the subway or 'tube' system. He is so obsessed that he is writing the histo [...]


    • If you have ever been in any underground system then you know the mystery. Okay, maybe it lacks the history of London’s – for instance, my city’s underground system(s) has never been used as a bomb shelter - , but it has many similarities – “lost” stops, a schedule only a psychic can figure out, a what is that smell feel, an in comprehensible map. You get the idea King Solomon’s Carpet is book where the subway system plays an important part. In fact, it’s the central character. D [...]


    • This book takes the reader on a weird, meandering nightmare of a journey through the eyes of a group of misfits living in a decrepit former school house in North London. Far creepier than the characters in A Fatal Inversion, here Vine gives us a loner who smells of rotting meat due to the hawk he dotes on, a violinist who has abandoned her husband and baby daughter, a narcissistic musician potentially brain damaged following a road accident, and the sinister Axel Jonas, who travels the tube lead [...]


    • Shame on me, but I've never read either Ruth or her alter ego Barbara. Crime fiction, RR's usual genre, doesn't get me excited at all. But a friend recommended this and I'm so glad she did. First of all, it's steeped in the mysteries of the Underground - I'm a real London Tube freak. Second, the lady has earned her golden daggers and whatnot. Interesting, conflicted characters who get their hooks into you and you want to get back to. Terrific descriptive passages - either of the minutae of a per [...]


    • I have read Ruth Rendell's novels, and those under her pen name Barbara Vine. Like The Bridesmaid, I found this novel quite bleak and gothic, and yet, also like The Bridesmaid, I couldn't stop reading it. The author takes us into the lives of broken families, disturbed and frightened runaways, and musicians who busk on the London Underground wondering if they've thrown away their last chance to be great. Along the way, the reader learns a lot about the London Underground and is treated to some o [...]


    • This is probably the fifth or sixth time I've read this novel, and as I age I definitely find myself getting more out of it. This read through I was struck by the sheer craftsmanship that went into making the elegant structure of the book. With a greater understanding of adult relationships than I had as a teenager, I saw that between Tom and Alice as far more unbalanced from the start than I had done before. For me, one of the best things about the novel is the relationship between Cecilia and [...]


    • I loved the fact that some history of the London Underground is interspersed with the plot in this novel - I don't know why, because I don't live in London, but I've always found stories about the tube's background fascinating. The novel has several characters all somehow connected with an old school house converted into an eccentric boarding house. For me the best and easily the most affecting story was that of Cecilia and her best friend Daphne - I would have been happy to read that on its own [...]


    • Ehht nearly so good as Barbara Vine's other stuff I've read. As you readers might know, VIne is the name that Ruth Rendell sometimes uses. I much prefer A DARK-ADAPTED EYE which was the very first time I "met" Ms. Vine/Ms. Rendell. My favorite Ruth Rendell remains A JUDGEMENT [sic] IN STONE, a crime novel about illiteracy. I love it!


    • Another excellent book from Barbara Vine, with many of her signature elements that I listed in my review of 'House of Stairs' namely an unusual household arrangement of quirky characters, and a sense of foreboding throughout. This one also has the unique concept of the main 'character' not being a person, but the London Underground. As chance would have it, although I rarely have cause to visit London, while I was reading this book I needed to spend a day there, using the Tube, and it certainly [...]


    • Listened to this on audio as part of my project to read through all of Ruth Rendell's books written as Barbara Vine. Her writing is superb, her characters skillfully drawn. Her plots typically involve a big cast of characters, some sympathetic, some less so. The sense of place is always strong-- in this case it was a London house and the whole London Underground. There is always something sinister going on but it takes a while to figure out exactly what that is. Why aren't there more of them on [...]


    • The blurb on the back of this book stated that 'towards the end the tension is almost suffocating'. Absolutely true - I was experiencing considerable tension as I wondered if I had spent £7.99 on a book in which nothing was actually going to happen. So much time was spent creating 'atmosphere' that the plot was all but forgotten. A bit too arty and up-its-own-backside for my liking.


    • The closest author out there to come close to matching Donna Tartt. This book reminded me a lot of The Secret History, though it's not quite as long. Beautifully written and superbly done. The characters stay with you long after reading.


    • Not Vine/Rendell's best effort. The story was dragged out, too many characters, many that had no connection to the core storyline and a weak plot.




    • Barbara Vine's universe is a morally ambiguous one. Her characters are flawed, often severely, and they make decisions based on self-interest, a jumble of uncertain values, or misguided emotion. In "King Solomon's Carpet" one of the elderly characters reflects on the confusion and darkness of a world where the values of a previous generation no longer seem to matter she's perplexed, confused and even frightened by people having children out of wedlock, not knowing for sure who the fathers of th [...]


    • Jarvis is a bit of an eccentric: having inherited an old school after his father’s suicide by hanging there, he picks up various people whom he meets and gives them rooms in which to live cheaply. His primary focus is on underground transit systems - the Tube in London of course, BART in the Bay Area, the Metro in France (and Montreal), and so on; he finances trips to these various places by renting the rooms in the school. Some of the characters he has chosen, however, are far more dangerous [...]


    • Barbara Vine versteht es versteht es hervorragend, ein unterschwelliges Gruseln zu verursachen. Es passiert eigentlich nicht viel, und trotzdem erwartet man zunehmend etwas Schreckliches auf der nächsten Seite.Die Personen sind gut ausgearbeitet, die Handlung komplex gewebt, die Fakten über die Londoner U-Bahn interessant. Trotzdem fand ich den Roman etwas weniger befriedigend als andere der Autorin. Es ist ein bisschen wie in der Bahn sitzen, Leute beobachten, ein paar Gespräche führen, sic [...]


    • I kept trying to like this book but I really didn't like the detached style and at about page one hundred I realised I didn't care about these people or what happened to them so I gave up.


    • Author sets and maintains a remarkably creepy atmosphere. It sucks you in even if you think you don't like the book.


    • From the back of the book:Jarvis Stringer lives in a crumbling schoolhouse overlooking a tube line, compliling his obsessive secret history of London's Underground. His presence and his strange house draw a band of misfits into his orbit; young Alice, who has run away from her husband and baby: Tom, the busker who rescues her: trunt Jasper who gets his kicks on the tubel and mysterious Axel, whose dark secret later casts a shadow over all their lives.Dispossessed and outcast, those who come to i [...]


    • After enjoying The Chimney Sweeper's Boy and A Dark-Adapted Eye so much, I was really looking forward to reading this one. It has some great reviews online, with fans saying it's their favorite Barbara Vine etc etc. Perhaps I should have learnt from Grasshopper that Vine's genius is somewhat hit-and-miss, but I did not and my expectations were high. I was horribly disappointed.What I usually love about Vine is the way she begins her books with a secret, and then slowly drip-feeds the reader fact [...]


    • I have no idea why this book is relegated to the mystery section. Yes it is a bit mysterious but it isn’t one of those police procedurals. Barbara Vine (a.k.a. Ruth Rendell) has a macabre sense of humor, maybe justice as a side dish. She builds up the characters while the story is somewhat peripheral. The characters have apparent flaws, even the self-described madman reading Nietzsche with implied superman rant, are reasonably well developed albeit I could not particularly relate to any them. [...]


    • Strano questo libro di Ruth Rendell (alias Barbara Vine), strano perché mi ero fatta un'idea ed invece la cara Ruth mi ha spiazzato raccontandomene tutta un'altra. Non era il primo libro che leggevo della Rendell, era invece il mio primo libro a nome Vine e non ne sono rimasta delusa. E' un libro corale dove tutti i personaggi: molti e variegati, sembrano seguire le linee della metropolitana di Londra che è la vera protagonista (insieme a tutte le altre metropolitane del mondo) del libro stess [...]


    • Vine's psychological mysteries (or are they purely suspense?) are always a good read - this one suffered from the huge amount of added-in information about the London Underground. Some of that was interesting, but it dragged the action down to a stop at times when it shouldn't have. The characters here are a curious mix of apathetic, pathetic and impulsive. Take Alice: after one impulsive move (leaving her husband and child), she gets stuck in an apathetic rut of living in the School, busking, p [...]


    • Not exactly a thriller but I really liked itAn old school situated in close proximity to the London Underground is the setting for the majority of this story. The school is owned by a man engaged in writing a book about the history of the underground systems of the world. For income, he rents rooms to a host of odd tenets, each with their own curious story. "Psychological Thriller" is a bit of an overstated description of this book. While each of the characters has some peculiarity, and the stor [...]


    • Not sure whether I liked or disliked this book. To be honest I really wasn't sure where it was going for a very long time. Clearly my interest was held enough (just) to get past the 200 page mark at which point I started to find the thing a bit more interesting. But having said that I really was just more curious as to what story, if any was actually going to come out of the preceding couple of hundred of pages that seemed to just describe the daily events in the lives of a small number of chara [...]


    • Ruth Rendell, writing as Barbara Vine, certainly fills her books with strange, dark, and twisted people!!! This story deals with the London Underground (the Tube) and the various obsessions that the characters have with it. The focus of the story revolves around a group of disparate young people who reside in an old school with a tragic past and their relationships with each other and the Underground. You are never sure where the story is going but it wraps up most of the questions in the last t [...]


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