Searching for truffles in a wood, a man and his dog unearth something less savoury: a human hand. The body, as Chief Inspector Wexford is informed later, has lain buried for 10 years or so, wrapped in a purple cotton sheet. The post mortem cannot reveal the precise cause of death. The only clue is a crack in one of the dead man’s ribs.
The police computer stores a long list of missing persons: something like 500 people every day disappear nationwide. So Wexford knows he is going to have a job on his hands to identify the corpse.
And then, only about 20 yards away from the woodland burial site, another body is found.
©2007 Kingsmarkham Enterprises Ltd (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
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"Ruth Rendell at her best"
First I must say that Nigel Andrews does a splendid narration of the book. He manages to conjure up such a wide range of voices that I felt I was listening to a dramatization of the book. As with most detective fiction the crimes are committed for complicated and often preposterous reasons, but, accepting that this is par for the course in this genre, this is an engrossing story with larger than life characters and ends with a satisfactory drawing together of all the false leads and twists and turns of plot that Ruth Rendell, in her usual inimitable style, has woven into the story.
"Not in the Flesh"
Very disappointing. Either I have grown out of Ruth Rendell or she has outgrown me. I loved the TV series and the earlier books, but found this one terribly difficult to get into. The reader has reproduced George Baker's Wexford voice well so there is a welcome familiarity there: however, I found it difficult to differentiate between that voice and any other that was also in dialect. As I'm hopeless with names this was a considerable disadvantage for me as I like instantly to recognise the character who is speaking. A lot of Rendell the Crusader as well - this time against female circumcision in Somalis. Still not sure what that had to do with the plot.
"Which was the secondary plot?"
We are used to most books having a secondary plot,often used to pad the book. The device is often used to throw light away from the main plot and often makes the reader wonder if there is any connection between the two plots. It usually works well, and in the best examples the plots are quite seamless.
In this book the plots are so diverse that one is left wondering which was the main the plot? Is it really a book about female circumcision with the 'cold case' murders as a secondary (and totally unconnected plot) or the other way around?
RR dealt with the topic of female circumcision well, in as much that she highlighted the problems of differing cultural practices and the law. However, I felt that the subject deserved to be treated more gravitas and am not convinced that a crime novel is the best place for this.
The 'cold case' plot was not one of her better plots.
I thought the reader was excellent and captured Wexford's 'voice' from the TV shows perfectly which added to the reading.
"God book, awful narration"
Great story but the narrator is appalling. His inflection is quite often incorrect. His attempt at women's voices were cringeworthy. Detracted from the storyline. I will avoid Nigel Anthony at all costs!
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