©2007 Ruth Rendell (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
Narrative makes the world go round.
I started Rendell with her later Wexford mysteries, but hesitated to spend a credit on this one because it was both older and shorter. I'm glad I finally tired it since it proved a well-wriiten and absorbing mystery made more enjoyable by Rendell's knack for capturing the setting and Wexford's dry wit. The narrator (not favorites Bailey or Anthony) delivers a different but apt voice for Wexford.
The first Inspector Wexford story, this story is a little dated as you'd expect as it's almost fifty years old. I surmised the murderer early but it was still satisfying to hear the story unfold.
One of many absolutely amazing narrators - the reading really flowed. This is the first book I found truly compelling since the last James Lee Burke book I listened to. It was a good story but the ending situation was not well supported IMO. I was surprised, but a surprise has to be well developed - pretty tricky I guess to keep readers from guessing the ending too soon but not have the end seem to come out of nowhere.
I enjoyed the characters of Wexler and Burton (is that his name) and plan to get more from this series. I've always been a fan of Ruth Rendell and have probably read some of these years ago but this one was new to me. Thanks for including it, Audible!
Love books! Classics and lighter fiction, mysteries (not too violent please :-). And selective non-fiction--whatever takes my fancy.
I enjoy Ruth Rendell's mysteries, have been reading them since the 60's when she began. I could not recall if I had read this one before, the first in which Inspector Wexford and his sidekick Mike Burden appear or not. But I am very happy to have just listened to it.
Although it is clear she has not yet hit her peak, still this is a good story, with good character development. Margaret Parsons, a quiet, unassuming wife, has gone missing. As the story unfolds, we get to see that she had more to her past than might have been first thought.
I have read some reviews that called this kind of so-so. In one way perhaps that is correct--at least by very modern mystery standards. In another, if you consider it for the time in which it was written, it actually reveals a solidly good story, and is helpful for better understanding future Inspector Wexford books. I liked both the story and the narration. Only gave it 4 stars instead of 5 because I know how she will go on to grow and develop herself as an author.
Early Inspector Wexford. Dated attitudes hard to take even in an older novel. Just needed to adjust my own filters, then I enjoyed it more. Plot less complicated than later Wexfords, shorter and less absorbing. Will probably not listen to the whole sequence.
Early Ruth Rendell sounds a lot like an Agathy Christie impersonator. It's fine, it's entertaining, the plot is clever, the dialog is witty. But compared to the mature Rendell it is a pale shadow. Probably an essential read for folks who are interested in seeing the arc of a great mystery writer from her early beginnings. A lesser narrator than Terrence Hardiman would have moved this novel to one-star status.
It was interesting to listen to this book as I've seen the TV version a couple of times, but I'd forgotten the ending and so could enjoy the gradual detection process of Wexford's incisive mind. As with other Ruth Rendell novels, there's plenty of psychological disfunction and complex motivations displayed before the killer is revealed.
I believe this is either the first or one of the earliest Inspector Wexford novels. Wexford's character comes over strongly, but Inspector Burdon doesn't figure as prominently as he does in later books.
It's a well-crafted story with false trails but it all hangs together in a satisfactory way and the ending is a bit of a surprise, but not entirely implausible.
"oddly old fashioned"
This story leaves a curious impression of being 'old fashioned'; this is not a negative observation, but it simply feels as if it has been written in the 1950s or very soon after the war.
The story, a murder, obviously, is interesting and one that seems to reflect a by-gone era when the war was something everyone had lived through and been affected by.
It is also an early Wexford and interesting for that too - how he handles the case, police procedure and the mores of the day. An intriguing case and
a well-told story.
I loved this novel. It is a brilliant first! I can easily see why it was turned into a successful TV Show.
"Convention-breaking period piece"
This was Ruth Rendell’s first novel, and our introduction to her Inspector Wexford. For the modern listener, it's a little like getting into the mood and mores of an Agatha Christie novel because it is firmly set in another era. Apparently the dénouement was controversial and regarded a ground-breaking back in 1964 when it was first published. Most readers/listeners nowadays will have seen it coming, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good listen. It’s well read, a good story in itself and of course sets the scene for more than 20 further Inspector Wexford novels to follow.
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