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To Fear a Painted Devil

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

To Fear a Painted Devil
First edition (UK)
AuthorRuth Rendell
CountryUnited Kingdom
GenreCrime/Mystery novel
PublisherJohn Long (UK)
Doubleday (US)
Publication date
Media typePrint (Hardback & Paperback)

To Fear a Painted Devil is a novel by British writer Ruth Rendell. It was published in 1965, and was the author's second novel.[2]


The novel is set in the fictional housing development of Linchester, in Nottinghamshire. A country house, Linchester Manor, once stood there, before old Marvell died and Henry Glide, developer and now Linchester resident, acquired the land. At first he built three modest chalet-style bungalows intended for retired people, before Glide realised he could make more money from well-to-do Nottingham businessmen, building eight large houses in varying architectural styles around a green with a pond. The bungalows and their occupants are seen by the residents of Linchester as somehow inferior in status, a fact underlined by the line of trees that divide them from the grander houses.

Main characters

Tamsin Selby is 27 years old. By the other residents of Linchester she is often seen as rather aloof and vague. There is often talk of a substantial private income. Patrick is her husband and first-cousin. He is cold and forbidding. His marriage to Tamsin is somewhat strained.

Dr Max Greenleaf is the local GP. He lives at 'Shalom' with his wife Bernice. He is often approached by the other residents with minor medical issues, usually when he just wants a break from work, but this just underlines his status as a trusted member of the community.

Cornelius Marvell is the son of the man who owned the Chantflower estate before the house was torn down to make way for the Linchester development. He occupies the old almshouses built by his ancestor in the 18th century, and lives in genteel poverty. He is liked by the residents of Linchester, and is particularly close to Dr Greenleaf.

Oliver and Nancy Gage live on Linchester next door to Tamsin and Patrick. Nancy is Oliver's third wife, and is something of the community gossip, thinking nothing of sharing any tidbits she picks up. Oliver is dissatisfied, believing his present situation is a distinct come-down from his previously more affluent life. He works four days a week in London, leaving Nancy on her own.

Edward Carnaby lives in one of the chalet bungalows on the edge of Linchester, together with his sister and his 8-year-old daughter Cheryl from a previous marriage. The Carnabys are seen as somehow inferior by the residents of the large houses on the Linchester proper, but this does not stop him from taking any opportunity of trying to ingratiate himself with them.


This page was last edited on 8 February 2020, at 03:42
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