Books: Shivers

THE NEW GIRL FRIEND

In literature, quantity is supposed to be the enemy of quality. Slow writers find themselves hailed as painstaking artists; prolific ones are dismissed as hacks, particularly if they work within the confines of the thriller, the sci-fi adventure, the western or the like. There are very few exceptions: Georges Simenon and Isaac Asimov have each written more than 300 well-received volumes, and William F. Buckley Jr. gets good reviews for spy novels that he claims to churn out in as few as 150 hours per caper.

Another name should be added to their ranks: British Mystery Writer Ruth Rendell, who since...

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