Ruth Rendell (1930-2015) was an English author of crime fiction, psychological thrillers and mystery novels. She is credited alongside P.D. James for developing the whodunit subgenre into more of a whydunit. She is best known for her Inspector Wexford series. She also writes under the pen name Barbara Vine.

Ruth Rendell made her literary debut in From Doon With Death in 1964, which began her Inspector Wexford series. Below is a list of Ruth Rendell’s books in order of when they were originally released (and in chronological order):

Publication Order of Inspector Wexford Books

From Doon With Death (1964)Description / Buy at
Sins of the Fathers / A New Lease of Death (1967)Description / Buy at
Wolf to the Slaughter (1967)Description / Buy at
The Best Man to Die (1969)Description / Buy at
A Guilty Thing Surprised (1970)Description / Buy at
No More Dying Then (1971)Description / Buy at
Murder Being Once Done (1972)Description / Buy at
Some Lie and Some Die (1973)Description / Buy at
Shake Hands Forever (1975)Description / Buy at
A Sleeping Life (1978)Description / Buy at
Death Notes / Put On By Cunning (1981)Description / Buy at
Speaker of Mandarin (1983)Description / Buy at
An Unkindness of Ravens (1985)Description / Buy at
The Veiled One (1988)Description / Buy at
Kissing the Gunner's Daughter (1992)Description / Buy at
Ginger and the Kingsmarkham (1992)Description / Buy at
Simisola (1994)Description / Buy at
Road Rage (1997)Description / Buy at
Harm Done (1999)Description / Buy at
The Babes in the Wood (2002)Description / Buy at
End in Tears (2005)Description / Buy at
Not in the Flesh (2007)Description / Buy at
The Monster in the Box (2009)Description / Buy at
The Vault (2011)Description / Buy at
No Man's Nightingale (2013)Description / Buy at

Publication Order of Inspector Wexford Collections Books

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

To Fear a Painted Devil (1965)Description / Buy at
Vanity Dies Hard (1966)Description / Buy at
The Secret House Of Death (1968)Description / Buy at
One Across, Two Down (1971)Description / Buy at
The Face of Trespass (1974)Description / Buy at
A Demon in My View (1976)Description / Buy at
A Judgement in Stone (1977)Description / Buy at
Make Death Love Me (1979)Description / Buy at
The Lake of Darkness (1980)Description / Buy at
Master of the Moor (1982)Description / Buy at
The Killing Doll (1984)Description / Buy at
The Tree of Hands (1984)Description / Buy at
Live Flesh (1986)Description / Buy at
A Dark-Adapted Eye (As: Barbara Vine) (1986)Description / Buy at
Talking to Strange Men (1987)Description / Buy at
A Fatal Inversion (As: Barbara Vine) (1987)Description / Buy at
The House of Stairs (As: Barbara Vine) (1988)Description / Buy at
The Bridesmaid (1989)Description / Buy at
Going Wrong (1990)Description / Buy at
Gallowglass (As: Barbara Vine) (1990)Description / Buy at
King Solomon's Carpet (As: Barbara Vine) (1991)Description / Buy at
The Crocodile Bird (1993)Description / Buy at
Asta's Book / Anna's Book (As: Barbara Vine) (1993)Description / Buy at
No Night Is Too Long (As: Barbara Vine) (1994)Description / Buy at
In the Time of His Prosperity (As: Barbara Vine) (1995)Description / Buy at
The Brimstone Wedding (As: Barbara Vine) (1995)Description / Buy at
The Keys to the Street (1996)Description / Buy at
A Sight for Sore Eyes (1998)Description / Buy at
The Chimney Sweeper's Boy (As: Barbara Vine) (1998)Description / Buy at
Grasshopper (As: Barbara Vine) (2000)Description / Buy at
Adam and Eve and Pinch Me (2001)Description / Buy at
The Blood Doctor (As: Barbara Vine) (2002)Description / Buy at
The Rottweiler (2003)Description / Buy at
13 Steps Down (2004)Description / Buy at
Minotaur (As: Barbara Vine) (2005)Description / Buy at
The Water's Lovely (2006)Description / Buy at
Portobello (2008)Description / Buy at
Birthday Present (As: Barbara Vine) (2008)Description / Buy at
Tigerlily's Orchids (2010)Description / Buy at
The Saint Zita Society (2012)Description / Buy at
The Child's Child (As: Barbara Vine) (2012)Description / Buy at
The Girl Next Door (2014)Description / Buy at
Dark Corners (2015)Description / Buy at

Publication Order of Short Stories/Novellas

The Convolvulus Clock (1985)Description / Buy at
Heartstones (1987)Description / Buy at
Long Live The Queen (1991)Description / Buy at
Thornapple (2000)Description / Buy at
The Thief (2005)Description / Buy at

Publication Order of Short Story Collections

The Fallen Curtain (1976)Description / Buy at
The Fever Tree (1982)Description / Buy at
The New Girlfriend (1985)Description / Buy at
Collected Short Stories (1989)Description / Buy at
The Copper Peacock and Other Stories (1991)Description / Buy at
Blood Lines (1995)Description / Buy at
Piranha to Scurfy (2000)Description / Buy at
Ruth Rendell: Short Stories (2006)Description / Buy at
Collected Stories Vol 1 (2006)Description / Buy at
A Spot of Folly (2017)Description / Buy at

Publication Order of Children's Books

Archie and Archie (2013)Description / Buy at

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Ruth Rendell's Suffolk (1992)Description / Buy at
The Reason Why (1995)Description / Buy at

Publication Order of Anthologies

Simply The Best Mysteries, Edgar Award Winners And Front Runners(1970)Description / Buy at
The 23rd Pan Book of Horror Stories(1982)Description / Buy at
The Web She Weaves(1983)Description / Buy at
Murder in the Dark(1983)Description / Buy at
Ready or Not: Here Come Fourteen Frightening Stories!(1987)Description / Buy at
English Country House Murders(1988)Description / Buy at
The Picador Book of the New Gothic(1991)Description / Buy at
Mystery Cats(1991)Description / Buy at
1st Culprit(1992)Description / Buy at
The Man Who...(1992)Description / Buy at
Women of Mystery(1992)Description / Buy at
The Year's 25 Finest Crime and Mystery Stories 1992(1993)Description / Buy at
Fifty Best Mysteries(1993)Description / Buy at
3rd Culprit(1994)Description / Buy at
Women of Mystery II(1994)Description / Buy at
Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine: November 1994(1994)Description / Buy at
The Year's 25 Finest Crime and Mystery Stories 1993(1994)Description / Buy at
Murder Intercontinental(1996)Description / Buy at
Murder by the Book(1996)Description / Buy at
Win, Lose or Die(1996)Description / Buy at
Women of Mystery III(1998)Description / Buy at
Crime After Crime(1999)Description / Buy at
Crime Never Pays(2001)Description / Buy at
The World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories 3(2002)Description / Buy at
Murder On The Railways(2003)Description / Buy at
Feline Felonies(2006)Description / Buy at
Unforgettable Ghost Stories by Women Writers(2008)Description / Buy at
Great Modern Stories(2009)Description / Buy at
Midsummer Nights(2009)Description / Buy at
Short Stories: The Thoroughly Modern Collection(2009)Description / Buy at
Murder in Midsummer: Classic Mysteries for the Holidays(2019)Description / Buy at
Murder Takes a Holiday: Classic Crime Stories for Summer(2021)Description / Buy at

Notes: A New Lease of Death was also published as The Sins of the Fathers. Put on by Cunning was also published as Death Notes. Asta’s Book was also published as Anna’s Book.

A Dark Adapted Eye, A Fatal Inversion, The House of Stairs, Gallowglass, King Solomon’s Carpet, Asta’s Book, No Night is Too Long, The Brimstone Wedding, The Chimney Sweeper’s Boy, Grasshopper, The Blood Doctor, The Minotaur, The Birthday Present and The Child’s Child were published under the nom de plume of Barbara Vine.

If You Like Ruth Rendell Books, You’ll Love…

Ruth Rendell Synopses: To Fear a Painted Devil is a standalone novel by novelist Ruth Rendell. In the tranquil enclave of Linchester, the ordinary affairs of a small community are infused with intrigue: romantic entanglements, financial woes, and marriages that have lost their spark. However, the local gossip reaches an unprecedented fervor when Patrick Selby, a young man, tragically passes away on the evening of his wife’s lavish birthday celebration.

The entire neighborhood had assembled to mark the occasion, only to become witnesses to the harrowing incident where Patrick was mercilessly attacked by a swarm of wasps. Yet, as questions multiply, doubts arise about the true cause of Patrick’s demise. Dr. Greenleaf, a local physician, finds himself skeptical that the fatal outcome was solely due to a wasp sting; he suspects heart failure as a likelier cause.

Nevertheless, Greenleaf remains unsettled about the circumstances surrounding Patrick’s death. The fact that Patrick was universally disliked within Linchester raises suspicions further. Teaming up with a knowledgeable naturalist, Dr. Greenleaf embarks on a journey of investigation and begins to ponder the possibility of foul play, piecing together the puzzle of a potential murder.

Vanity Dies Hard by Ruth Rendell is a standalone novel. Alice Whittaker, now Alice Fielding after her marriage, is a woman of significant wealth, renowned for her philanthropy and benevolence. When her close friend Nesta goes missing, Alice’s determination to locate her and provide assistance knows no bounds. Money is no object if it aids her quest, a principle Alice staunchly upholds.

However, amidst her efforts, Alice’s well-being takes a disconcerting turn. A persistent illness begins to take hold, leaving her weakened and debilitated. Her attractive, younger husband, who bears a ten-year age difference, appears devoted to aiding her recovery, keeping her within the confines of their home. Yet, Alice finds herself questioning his intentions. Is he simply concerned for her health or does he harbor a hidden agenda to prevent her from uncovering Nesta’s whereabouts?

Despite her ailing condition, Alice’s curiosity thrives, compelling her to seek answers. With each revelation she unearths about Nesta’s disappearance, her conviction deepens that her own safety may be jeopardized. In the midst of her illness, Alice refuses to abandon her pursuit of truth, even as the shadows of danger lengthen around her.

In The Secret House of Death by Ruth Rendell, for his third visit to the somber residence on Orchard Drive, he followed his established routine. Parking his vehicle in a familiar spot, he carried a briefcase, his purpose clear. Waiting for him at the door, as in the previous times, was Louise North.

Amidst the intrigue unfolding next door, Susan Townsend remained an outlier, uninterested in the affairs of her neighbors or the local chitchat revolving around them. However, it would be Susan who stumbled upon the lifeless bodies of the lovers—corpses bound not by affection, but by the grip of death itself.

While the neighborhood’s fascination swirled around the tragic event, Susan remained detached from the spectacle. Yet, her own existence would be placed in jeopardy by an atrocious crime more horrifying than the most malicious rumors could conjure. As darkness veiled her surroundings, Susan would become entangled in a web of malevolence beyond the realm of common imagination.

Order of Books » Authors » Order of Ruth Rendell Books

4 Responses to “Order of Ruth Rendell Books”

  1. Suz Nagel: 6 years ago

    Discovered Ruth Rendell by accident now she is my favorite author. A Sight for Sore Eyes was my first novel and it was so creepy i was blown away by the innocence of the characters. The Minotaur has me totally enthralled.


  2. jennybloggs: 8 years ago

    I have just finished The Girl Next Door. In my opinion this work confirms her, if confirmation is needed, as a literary great and places her in that pantheon of people who are capable, simultaneously, of genius and immense popularity. In this novel she explores the lives of a group of elderly people who were children together in war time Britain. And something awful happened then but they were children and did not understand what was under their collective nose. Their lives, their relationships, their hopes, fears, losses, are all explored with unflinching acuity. As are the changes in the English language. She is herself but if I were asked who she might be a natural partner with then Graham Greene comes to mind. She charts suburbia as well as Greene knew Greeneland.


  3. Gill Redfearn: 9 years ago

    I have started to re-read them. The earlier ones, which were written when I was a teenager, seem to be set in a different world and Ruth Rendell certainly developed the characters and home lives of the detectives in her later books.


Leave a Reply