Neighbors. While there is crime in Ruth Rendell’s novel, Portobello, I found this book to be a portrait of a neighborhood, and a character study about habits, relationships, and the interconnected lives of the rich and poor who live as neighbors. In some ways, Rendell does for Portobello Road what Alexander McCall Smith has done for Edinburgh. Rendell brings each character to life with efficiency and clarity, and places them in situations that move the plot along briskly over the three pages of the novel. Her skill entails packing a lot of people and action into a setting that she presents with just enough description to make the place come alive. Any reader who appreciates a dose of social commentary injected into a well crafted story is likely to enjoy this novel.
Rating: Three-star (Recommended)
Click here to purchase Portobello from amazon.com.