The Birthday Present

The Birthday Present

By Barbara Vine

Three Rivers Press (CA), Paperback, 9780307460479, 323pp.

Publication Date: March 2, 2010

Ivor Tesham is a handsome, single, young member of Parliament whose political star is on the rise. When he meets a woman in a chance encounter-a beautiful, leggy, married woman named Hebe-the two become lovers obsessed with their trysts, spiced up by what the newspapers like to call "adventure sex."
It's the dress-up and role-play that inspire Ivor to create a surprise birthday present for his beloved that involves a curbside kidnapping. It's all intended as mock-dangerous foreplay, but then things take a dark turn.
After things go horribly wrong, Ivor begins to receive anonymous letters that reveal astonishingly specific details about the affair and its aftermath. Somehow he must keep his role from being uncovered-and his political future from being destroyed by scandal.
Like a heretic on the inquisitor's rack, Ivor is not to be spared the exquisitely slow and tortuous unfolding of events, as hints, nuances, and small revelations lay his darkest secrets hideously bare for all the world to see.
"The Birthday Present" is a deft, insightful, and compulsively readable exploration of obsessive desire-and the dark twists of fate that can shake the lives of even those most insulated by privilege, sophistication, and power.

"From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author
Barbara Vine is the pen-name of Ruth Rendell. She has written fourteen novels using this pseudonym, including A Fatal Inversion and King Solomon's Carpet which both won the Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger Award. Ruth Rendell sits in the House of Lords as a Labour peer. She lives in Maida Vale, London.

Praise For The Birthday Present

Praise for Barbara Vine

“One of the most remarkable novelists of her generation.”

“The best mystery writer in the English-speaking world.”

“One of the finest practitioners of her craft in the English-speaking world.”
The New York Times Book Review

“Her clear, shapely prose casts the mesmerizing spell of the confessional.”
The New Yorker

“A brilliant writer.”
Chicago Tribune

“Queen of suspense. . . . She’s a master of technique.”
Detroit Free Press

“Surely one of the greatest novelists presently at work in our language.”
—Scott Turow

“Those who haven’t read her books have missed something unique and wonderful.”
—Tony Hillerman

“Barbara Vine has transcended her genre by her remarkable imaginative power to explore and illuminate the dark corners of the human psyche.”
—P. D. James

“Unequivocally the most brilliant mystery writer of our time. She magnificently triumphs in a style that is uniquely hers and mesmerizing.”
—Patricia Cornwell