Grand Dame of Mystery Writes Again

The grande dame of contemporary mystery, Ruth Rendell, has written 70 books and is game for more. Her newest book, The Birthday Present, has earned critical praise for having a more cerebral element than her previous detective novels. The Washington Post said the author had a remarkable ability to lend "a matronly, almost magisterial tone" to her salacious, gory subject matter. The 79-year-old remains disciplined and dedicated to her craft. She wakes up at 6 a.m., works out, and then writes for three or four hours before lunch. "I still, after all these years, love writing and I don't say I write well, but I write as well as I can.”