Browne Popular Culture Library

PCL MS-88: Ruth Rendell Collection

Introduction | Biographical Sketch | Scope and Content | Series Description | Inventory


Ruth Rendell is a contemporary British writer of series detective novels and non-series mystery-suspense novels and stories. Series novels and stories are written under her own name while non-series works have often been published under the pseudonym Barbara Vine. Literary manuscripts of non-series novels and stories form the core of the collection.

In 1986 Ruth Rendell transferred two manuscripts to the Browne Popular Culture Library, Bowling Green State University. An additional donation of three manuscripts followed in 1987, and additions to the collection are anticipated. The collection is open for research, but the photocopying of manuscripts must comply with applicable copyright laws. This register was compiled by Kevin Lause under the supervision of Jean Geist, Popular Culture Library Associate II. It was updated in September 2009 by Patricia Falk.

Biographical Sketch 

Ruth Rendell was born on February 17, 1930 in London, England. She was educated in Essex, England and lives today in Suffolk with her husband and daughter. Rendell continues to write award-winning works of mystery and suspense and is widely regarded by audiences and critics alike to be one of the most skillful writers in the genre---often referred to as "The Queen of Crime," "The Mistress of Mystery," and "The New Agatha Christie," for example.

Ruth Rendell published her first novel (From Doon With Death) in 1964 and quickly began writing the two types of mysteries which have defined her career. On the one hand, Rendell first achieved fame with a series of police procedurals featuring the continuing exploits of Detective Chief Inspector Reg Wexford. These novels and stories follow a traditional "crime and clues" pattern, but even here Rendell has managed to demonstrate her deeper interest in the dark mysteries of the human mind and character. These latter concerns are given primary attention in the author's second set of writings (many written under the pseudonym of Barbara Vine) which have no continuing characters, few traditional mysteries, and which focus heavily upon a careful building of suspense, brooding atmosphere, and intricate psychological drama in the tradition of fellow Britons John Collier and Roald Dahl.

Ruth Rendell has won numerous awards for both types of her fiction. Of the manuscripts currently in the collection, the novel A Demon in My View was the recipient of a Gold Dagger Award in 1977 and the story "The New Girl Friend" won an Edgar Allan Poe Award in 1984. In 1983, Ruth Rendell was given special recognition for her contributions to popular fiction as the recipient of the Popular Culture Association Award.

Scope and Content 

The Ruth Rendell Collection houses the typescripts of four of the author's non-series mystery-suspense novels, the uncorrected page proof (bound copy) of one story collection, and an audio cassette recording of an interview with Ruth Rendell which was conducted at Bowling Green State University.

The collection should be of use to researchers interested in Ruth Rendell or in the craft of non-traditional, psychological mystery-suspense fiction.

Series Description 

Literary Productions

Manuscripts, Literary
1968 (?),1969,1975,1976,1978,1986
Arranged alphabetically by title of published work
Typed manuscripts, many with handwritten corrections by the author or editor

Audio Recordings

Audio cassette recording
Interview with the author conducted at Bowling Green State University


Box 1
1A Demon in My View
Original manuscript, typed, 343 pp.
2A Judgement in Stone
Original manuscript, typed, 311 pp.
3Make Death Love Me
Original Manuscript. typed, 340 pp.
4The New Girl Friend (And Other Stories)
Uncorrected bound page proof, 173 pp.
Box 2
1The Secret House of Death
Printers' page proof, Hutchinson Edition, 101 pp.
1968 (?)
2The Secret House of Death
Printers' page proof, Doubleday Edition, 179 pp.
3Interview with Ruth Rendell
Audio cassette recording -- 1 tape

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