Mystery browsing brought me to Ruth Rendell, a British novelist of over 50 mysteries and is still publishing. Rendell started by writing short stories in her 20s, but (quoting her words) they were not very good. She was not particularly drawn to crime fiction. She just started writing her first published novel, From Doon with Death, as an experiment, to see if she could write a detective story. Then the publisher John Long gave her an advance of £75 for it; and the following year, an American publisher came over, liked it, and offered her 15 times that.
I was drawn to Ruth Rendell because she has been recommended to me by trusted fellow reader-friends. I learned that we shared a common favorite book, John Williams’s Stoner, a wonderful book, set in a college in the midwest: simple, straightforward, and yet full of displaced, sad things. With Fatal Inversion, Portobello, The Vault, A Sight for Sore Eyes, and A Judgment in Stone, I’m ready for the coming fall weekends.
P.S. I only found out today Ruth Rendell wrote under the name Barbara Vine.