You wouldn't expect an ordinary anthology from Ruth Rendell, but this little book of excerpts has no precedent in the field of crime writing. Rendell's interest, here as in her own fiction, is in the springs that impel people to murder, not the act itself, and her eight chapters are divided according to different motives--family loves and hatreds, revenge, gain, guilt and remorse, escaping threatened consequences, self-styled duty, psychopathia, and blood-lust--that move her mostly fictional exemplars to kill. The number and range of examples--from Macbeth to Madeleine Smith, from James Hogg to Donna Tartt, with a generous sprinkling of murderers you've never worried about before--mostly limits Rendell to excerpts. But even this limitation turns out to be a strength, as she keeps cutting unnervingly away from each murder just before the deed. A true rarity--a commonplace book about the most shocking act of all.