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Ruth Rendell

The Reason Why

Cape 1995
Jacket design Pascale Hutton

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Ruth Rendell

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Murder itself is not interesting. It is the impetus to murder, the passions and terrors which bring it to pass and the varieties of feeling surrounding the act that make of a sordid or revolting event compulsive fascination. Even the most ardent readers of detective fiction are not much preoccupied with whether a Colt Magnum revolver or a Bowie knife was used to despatch the victim. The perpetrator's purpose, the 'why', is what impels them to read on. They need to find out what has gone on in his head, whether revealed through action, dialogue, mental activity or the stream of consciousness. They need to follow what goes on in the minds of those others who come within his range, observe him, fear him, or suffer at his hands. In compiling this anthology, I tried to keep this always in mind. I was not cataloguing murders. I was not collecting examples of stabbings and shootings, stranglings and what Wilde calls 'strange manners of poisoning'. This book was not to be a collection of murder samples from the vast number of true crime works

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