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Ruth Rendell

The Fallen Curtain

Hutchinson 1976
Jacket design Patrick McCreeth

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Ruth Rendell

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The incident happened in the spring after his sixth birthday. His mother always referred to it as 'that dreadful evening', and always is no exaggeration. She talked about it a lot, especially when he did well at anything, which was often as he was good at school and at passing exams. Showing her friends his swimming certificate or the prize he won for being top at geography: 'When I think we might have lost Richard that dreadful evening! You have to believe there's Someone watching over us, don't you?' Clasping him in her arms; 'He might have been killed or worse.' (A remarkable statement, this one.) 'It doesn't bear thinking about.' Apparently, it bore talking about. 'If I'd told him once, I'd told him fifty times never to talk to strangers or get into cars. But boys will be boys, and he forgot all that when the time came.

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