The Saint Zita Society

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First edition (publ. Hutchinson)

The Saint Zita Society is the 62nd novel by British crime-writer Ruth Rendell, a standalone novel not part of her popular Inspector Wexford series. The novel takes its title from the patron saint of maids and domestic servants, Saint Zita, and as such the plot focuses on the relationship between the servants employed by the wealthy residents of a luxurious London street, and their moral and immoral activities.

Critical reception[edit]

The Saint Zita Society was very well received by critics. Laura Wilson of The Guardian praised the book as a "superbly executed ensemble piece" in which "all the characters are kept in play without ever relinquishing the necessary suspense for a fascinating murder mystery."[1] Kirkus Reviews commented in a positive review: "Rendell has been returning to the stripped-down dyspepsia of her earliest work, adding freak-show sociology to her velvet nightmares. Instead of exhausting the possibilities of her collection of plausible misfits, this group portrait leaves you longing for more."[2] The Independent's Jane Jakeman also praised the book, writing: "The novel's plot forms a complex web in which power sways back and forth between employer and employed, where every coming or going has an observer, and it's not long before we anticipate at least two deaths on the way ... this [book] is a despairing look at the underbelly of London, but it has the ring of truth."[3] Writing for The Washington Times, Muriel Dobbin poited out that the book was "less of a mystery than a social satire about rather ordinary people" and added: "All the doings of these busy characters are wrapped up in the book’s startling but satisfying ending ... Ms. Rendell, an expert craftsman, has delivered the goods again."[4]


  1. ^ Wilson, Laura (13 July 2012). "Crime fiction roundup – reviews". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 20 March 2013. 
  2. ^ "THE ST. ZITA SOCIETY". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved 20 March 2013. 
  3. ^ Jakeman, Jane (14 July 2012). "The Saint Zita Society, by Ruth Rendell". London: The Independent. Retrieved 20 March 2013. 
  4. ^ Dobbin, Muriel. "BOOK REVIEW: ‘The St. Zita Society’". The Washington Times. Retrieved 20 March 2013. 

External links[edit]