By Ruth Rendell

Combine Cellini has simply moved right into a flat in a decaying residence in Nottinghill, the place he plans to pursue his abiding passions--supermodel Nerissa Nash, whom he worships from afar, and the lifetime of serial killer Reggie Christie, hanged fifty years previous for murdering at the least 8 girls. Gwendolen Chawcer, Mix’s eighty-year-old landlady has few pursuits beside her previous books and her new tenant. yet she does have an fascinating connection to Christie. And while truth intrudes into Mix’s existence, he turns toi Christie for notion and a protracted pent-up violence explodes. Intricately plotted and brilliantly written, 13 Steps Down enters the minds of those disparate humans as they circulation inexorably towards its breathtaking end.

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She ought to have been pleased; it would still be there for the next tenant when he was famous and had moved out. The fact was that she had never been able to see the need for a bathroom. When she was young, she told him, you had a chamber pot in your bedroom and a basin on the washstand and the maid brought you up a jug of hot water. Mix had a bedroom as well and a large living room, dominated by a huge poster photograph of Nerissa Nash, taken when a newspaper started naming the models as well as the clothes designers.

Her blue eyes had faded to pastel grey and her once-fair hair, though still copious, was quite white. The two elderly women who called themselves her friends, who had red fingernails and tinted hair and dressed in an approximation of current fashion, sometimes said that Miss Chawcer was Victorian in her clothes. This showed only how much they had forgotten of their own youth, for some of Gwendolen’s wardrobe could have been placed in 1936 and some in 1953. Many of her coats and dresses were of these vintages and would have fetched a fortune in the shops of Notting Hill Gate where such things were much prized, like the 1953 clothes she had bought for Dr Reeves.

Like her bedroom above it, the drawing room encompassed the whole depth of the house, a pair of large sash windows overlooking the street, french windows at the back giving on the garden. When she was reading Gwendolen reclined on a sofa upholstered in dark brown corduroy, its back surmounted with a carved mahogany dragon. The dragon’s tail curved round to meet one of the sofa arms, while its head reared up as it snarled at the black marble fireplace. Most of the furniture was rather like that, carved and thickly padded and covered in velvet which was brown or dull green or the dark red of claret, but some was made of dark veined marble with gilt legs.

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