The Lake of Darkness

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The Lake of Darkness
First edition (UK)
Author Ruth Rendell
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Crime, Mystery novel
Publisher Hutchinson (UK)
Doubleday (US)
Publication date
April 1980
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 201 pp
ISBN 0-09-140810-5
OCLC 15591919

The Lake of Darkness is a novel by British writer Ruth Rendell, first published in 1980. It won the Arts Council National Book Award for Genre Fiction in 1981.

The title comes from a quotation from Shakespeare's King Lear:

"Frateretto calls me; and tells me Nero is an angler in the lake of darkness. Pray, innocent, and beware the foul fiend".

Plot summary[edit]

Martin Urban is a young accountant leading the comfortable though somewhat dull life of a bachelor. Unexpectedly he wins a very large sum of money in a football pool (104,754 pounds 46 pence), but he decides to give half the money away to the poor. Then Francesca enters into his life, a mysterious young woman who captures his heart. And when he meets Finn, the twisted son of his mother's cleaning lady, the good intentions of Martin become fatally entangled with the macabre madness of Finn, with deadly results.