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The Birthday Present    by Barbara Vine Amazon.com order for
Birthday Present
by Barbara Vine
Order:  USA  Can
Shaye Areheart, 2009 (2008)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Ivor Tesham's political star is on the rise. Handsome, young, single and with a charismatic mien, how can he miss rising to the pinnacle of British government? Maybe by his own hand?

Playing adventure sex with his girlfriend, matters turn black in the blink of an eye. Now Ivor has left himself wide open to political censure and probably the end of his burgeoning career. His private life is no longer his own, subject to anonymous letters and blackmail. It takes time for his foolish birthday surprise for his girlfriend to reach a conclusion all that time with Ivor and his sister and brother-in-law (who knew of his prank) looking over their shoulders, waiting for the media to show up on their doorsteps. And thus bring about Ivor's downfall.

This thriller, The Birthday Present (by Ruth Rendell writing as Barbara Vine) gives us a peek at the innermost workings of the House of Commons and the caste system that still exists in jolly ole' England, as it does elsewhere in the world. As with all of Rendell/Vine's novels, this one is a page turner. Though sorry for Ivor, the reader would like to tell him what a foolish thing he did, and wonders if he had spoken up when the calamitous end to his love affair with a married woman happened, would things have turned out differently?

The Birthday Present is a good book that clings to the edges of one's mind after the last page has been read.

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