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Stealing something from people that upsets Polly is something she does quite a lot. And what you did in your childhood may come back again to haunt you is the premise of one of Ruth Rendell’s standalone novella. Polly avenges on some people like her Aunt Pauline, a girl at school and a boyfriend who left her. But then one day she met the man of her dreams and promises herself to behave and cut her childhood habit. With her husband’s virtues and good intentions and for the things he continuously showers Polly with, comes to a decision that her actions and impropriety must come to a stop. And there was the man on the plane.

Humiliated and degraded by a total stranger, Polly once again does what she does. She steals something to avenge her dignity, and never had imagined that her revenge for something would have caused her such terrifying results.

I’ve read a lot of reviews about the novel and the negative one’s usually came from Polly’s being afraid to defend herself against the stranger. Well, she does promise herself to behave accordingly, and I guess the inevitable will come into action if she fights back and that’s what she is avoiding. I think it is safe to say that some of our childhood habits remain subconsciously in our minds and is just waiting to be performed again, and that’s what drives Polly to perform her scene, this time promising it’ll be the last.

As part of the Quick Reads series -to promote and encourage reading to people who do not often read and to discover the joy of books- The Thief is an exciting and fast read from a writer I admire for years. Even though in just 20,000 words, Rendell still manages to put her signature story telling and creepy narratives to make you read the novella in just one sitting (and it’s not just because it only contains 86 pages). One can predict that the consequences of the protagonist behavior will end in tragedy –for Polly, lessons are learned in a hard way to make her realize her actions- I am much saddened by Polly’s fate, and thus it makes her unforgettable. Well, one should learn something life-changing from their fallacious actions right?

A riveting and an entertaining fast read from the master of psychological suspense.

Opening Sentence: The first time she stole something Polly was eight years old.

Ending Sentence: She lay there, unconscious, her arms stretched out and the diamond on her finger winking in the dying light.