Sunday, August 19, 2012

The St. Zita Society by Ruth Rendell

The servants who live along Hexam Place in London have formed the St. Zita Society, in which they go to the Dugong (a local pub at the end of the block) to talk about various issues they have with their employers and what's going on around the street.  The group is spearheaded by June, who's been the housekeeper to "Princess" Susan Hapsburg for sixty years (the other servants aren't quite as gung-ho about the group).  Henry, driver to Lord Studley, is having affairs with both the Lord's wife and daughter.  June's great-nephew, Rad Sothern, a famous television actor, is being snuck into the home of the Stills by their au pair, Montserrat, to meet up with Lucy, the lady of the house.  Some of the servants have seen this subterfuge and believe that it's Montserrat and Rad that are having the affair.  We also meet Rabia (nanny for the Stills--she revels in the affection of baby Thomas, since her own children died very young) and Dex (a gardener employed by several homeowners-- he communicates with a God named Peach via his cell phone).  When an accident occurs, the result affects the lives of all the characters in ways they can't possibly anticipate.  In The St. Zita Society, Rendell has written a novel that starts slowly but picks up speed as the reader gets familiar with the characters and the inner workings of their relationships.  I also always enjoy her standalone novels because you can never predict how the stories will turn out.

No comments: