The first case for DCI Reg Wexford. When Margaret Parsons disappears, it's assumed that she's run off with another man. But then the missing woman's body is found and a startling discovery is made when Mr. Parsons lets the police into his home...
"It's worth starting here"
Wexford had every reason to remember the Painter case - it was the first murder he'd ever handled on his own. There had been no doubts about the case, until now. Someone wants the case reopened, and they want Wexford proved wrong.
"A New Lease of Death"
Anita Margolis had vanished. There was no body, no crime, nothing more concrete than an anonymous letter and a name. A pattern soon emerged to the investigation. Not only had Anita been wealthy and flighty, she had been thoroughly immortal, too.
"A Throroughly Enjoyable Mystery!"
Concealed by a shroud of dirty brown velvet was what looked like a heap of rags. In a desolate subterranean car park of a Shopping Centre, Dorothy Sanders pulled back the velvet curtain revealing the grim discovery of a woman’s body. Inspector Michael Burden, for a while conducting the investigation without the help of Wexford’s intuitive genius, blunders down a number of blind alleys before uncovering the truth.
When his father dies, Carl Martin, a philosophy graduate and struggling novelist, inherits a house in a trendy London neighborhood. Carl needs cash, however, so he rents the upstairs room and kitchen to the first person he interviews, Dermot McKinnon. That was colossal mistake number one. Mistake number two was keeping his father's bizarre collection of homeopathic "cures" that he found in the medicine cabinet, including a stash of controversial diet pills.
Liza is raised in a remote rural hamlet. One evening, Liza’s mother orders her to leave home forever. Paralyzed at having to fend for herself, Liza finds refuge with Sean, a drifter with whom she begins to share the bizarre story of her life.
"The Crocodile Bird-not Rendell's best, still good"
A proposed highway through a forest near Kingsmarkham has caused loud cries of protest. One group has taken more drastic measures. It will risk everything—including the lives of five hostages—to halt construction. When Inspector Wexford learns that one of the hostages is his wife, Dora, he is caught in a spiral of frustration and fear. The gripping drama of his search takes on added intensity through Davina Porter’s crisp narration.
Senta Pelham is a mirror image of Flora, the lovely marble bust Philip fanaticized about for so long. But life, like art, is not always what its mere surface suggests. And Senta’s strange world of make-believe, where truth and falsehood are eerily interchangeable, soon draws Philip into a shadowy cloister of vague and uncertain terror.
Chief Inspector Wexford finds nothing unusual in the disappearance of Rodney Williams, a husband and father who likely has run off with another woman. But when the man’s car and suitcase are discovered abandoned, can a body be far behind?
Who could have suspected that the exciting stag party for the groom would be the prelude to the murder of his close friend Charlie Hatton? And Charlie's death was only the first in a string of puzzling murders involving small-time gangsters, cheating husbands, and loose women. Now Chief Inspector Wexford and his assistant join forces with the groom to track down a killer....
A lump of concrete dropped deliberately from a little stone bridge over a relatively unfrequented road kills the wrong person. The driver behind is spared. But only for a while.
"Intriguing & complicated story"
The first girl had a bite mark on her neck, but they traced the DNA to her boyfriend. But the tabloids got hold of the story and called the killer 'The Rottweiler' and the name stuck. The latest murder takes place very near Inez Ferry's antique shop in Marylebone. When the Rottweiler’s trinkets start showing up in the shop, suddenly, everyone Inez knows is a suspect, and the killer feels all too close.
"Lots of atmosphere, and a Freudian mystery."
No one would have described Manningtree Grove as fashionable. Few would have found it especially interesting. But it was not an unpleasant place to live: the old railway line lay in a valley, and the gardens looked onto it. It was the kind of place where nothing ever happened. Yet it was here that Peter Yearman first sold his soul to the devil....
Mary Jago had donated her own bone marrow to save the life of someone she didn’t know. And this generous act led directly to the bitter break-up of her affair with Alistair. For him, it was as though her beauty had been plundered. But the man whose life she had saved would change Mary’s life in a way she could never have imagined.
"Mystery with humor and insight"
The massacre at Tancred House seems at first to be the work of a burglar, panicked into killing. But Chief Inspector Wexford believes there are links with the murder of a Kingsmarkham detective some ten months earlier.
"One of Rendell's Best"
Rodney Williams's disappearance seems typical to Chief Inspector Wexford - a simple case of a man running off with a woman other than his wife. But when another woman reports that her husband is missing, the case turns unpleasantly complex.
"Brilliantly written and very entertaining"
Walking to the shops one day, 50-year-old Eugene Wren discovers an envelope on the street bulging with cash. A man plagued by a shameful addiction - and his own good intentions - Wren hatches a plan to find the moneys rightful owner. Instead of going to the police, or taking the cash for himself, he prints a notice and posts it around Portobello Road. This ill-conceived act creates a chain of events that links Wren to other Londoners - people afflicted with their own obsessions and despairs.
"Portobello's Lovely Mean Streets"
With floods threatening both the town of Kingsmarkham and his own home and no end to the rain in sight, Chief Inspector Wexford already has his hands full when he learns that two local teenagers have gone missing along with their sitter, Joanna Troy.
"as good as anything Rendell has written"
Harm Done presents the inspector with a most volatile challenge: the various guises of domestic abuse. The residents of a shabby housing complex in the London suburb of Kingsmarkham are furious. A convicted pedophile, released from prison, has returned to their community. At the same time, two young women disappear, each returning several days later with little memory of where she has been. As Wexford investigates, Kingsmarkham is rocked by violence and murder. To prevent further harm, the inspector must coax some surprising motives from the reluctant suspects.
"Has Detective Wexford gone senile?"
In the waning months of the second World War, a group of children discover an earthen tunnel in their neighborhood outside London. Throughout the summer of 1944 - until one father forbids it - the subterranean space becomes their "secret garden," where the friends play games and tell stories. Six decades later, beneath a house on the same land, construction workers uncover a tin box containing two skeletal hands, one male and one female.
"Kept unfolding more twists and turns"