A Fatal Inversion

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A Fatal Inversion
First edition (UK)
Author Barbara Vine (Ruth Rendell)
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Crime / Mystery novel
Publisher Viking (UK)
Bantam (US)
Publication date
March 1987
Media type Print (Hardcover)
Pages 336 pp
ISBN 0-670-80977-2
OCLC 23838424
Preceded by A Dark-adapted Eye
Followed by The House of Stairs

A Fatal Inversion is a 1987 novel by Ruth Rendell, written under the pseudonym Barbara Vine.[1] The novel won the Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger in that year and, in 1987, was also shortlisted for the Dagger of Daggers, a special award to select the best Gold Dagger winner of the award's 50-year history.

Plot summary[edit]

In the process of burying a beloved dog in the animal cemetery of Wyvis Hall, a beautiful Suffolk country house, the owner unearths the skeletons of a dead woman and baby. The horrific discovery challenges the buried memories and guilt of a small group of young people who, 10 years earlier, spent the broiling Summer of 1976 in a self-indulgently irresponsible idyll at Wyvis Hall, unexpectedly inherited by one of their number. Slowly the facts emerge and the past catches up with them. But which woman is dead? And whose child?


The BBC adapted the novel for Radio 4 in 1991, and in three episodes for television in 1992. The series starred Jeremy Northam and Douglas Hodge.[2]