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2.0 out of 5 starsDisappointed - not worth the effort to slog through
Reviewed in the United States on January 20, 2016
To me, the essence of police procedural mysteries lies in the depth of the police characters, as they wrestle with both their inner demons, the external hypocrisy of the society they are expected to police. As the series develops, so do the principle characters, and the picture of the society they are expected to protect and police. A good example would be the Swedish "Martin Beck" series. I really wanted to like this book, which is the 2nd in a series of Wexford mysteries. I've already read the first of the series, and while I also found it disappointing, I was hoping that this book, the 2nd in a long series, would be better. Again, I was disappointed. I still know very little about Chief inspector Wexford; and by now I don't really care. As others have said, the book is well written, and I've increased my vocabulary - especially for descriptions of upholstery, and carpeting. But as far as my understanding of what drives Chief Inspector Wexford, I haven't a clue.
1.0 out of 5 starsThe weakest Ruth Rendell book I've read
Reviewed in the United States on June 12, 2019
I have read about twenty Ruth Rendell books, both Inspector Wexford and those not in that series. I have enjoyed all of them, some more than others. But Wolf to the Slaughter is the exception! It was disjointed, frivolous, and only sporadically well-written. I would avoid it if I were you.
3.0 out of 5 starsGetting to know you Wexford, maybe
Reviewed in the United States on April 24, 2015
This early Wexford novel relies more on other detective characters - Burden and Drayton - to carry the story. I hoped by reading early books in the series that I would learn more about Wexford but all I learned in this book is that his daughter is named Sheila and is seventeen. For the first half of the book, we wander around wondering if there is a murder which gets to be tedious. Finally, the story gets interesting at midpoint of the book and enjoyable by the end. I am impressed by the strength of vocabulary used in the older novels written by authors such as Rendell. Newer novels seem to acknowledge that vocabulary development is no longer a strength of most readers. I do find the structure of sentences used by Rendell varies from what I am accustomed to so that sometimes I need to reread a sentence in order to be certain I understand her intent.
This is one of Rendell's early Wexford books and it is a good one. She hadn't yet tired of her characters and still infused their dialogue with wry humor here and there. I was truly shocked at the ending which is just about the best thing one can say about a detective story. Very well written - highly recommended for mystery lovers anywhere.
I enjoy all the Inspector Wexford books because of the character protrayals,especially the on-going saga of the Wexford and Burden families.However,in Wolf to the Slaughter,the character we are very aware of is the young officer who becomes involved with a young woman whose family come under scrutiny in the murder inquiry and this causes emotional problems and muddies the waters for Inspector Wexford. I was not as satisfied with this plot as I usually am with Rendell's novels .It was a little muddled and I found some of the suspects were almost distasteful;however the rather third-rate corner store,the dust,grime and sordid atmosphere were well portrayed - and if they had that effect then the author has written with her usual skillThe end had enough surprise to shock and to satisfy
2.0 out of 5 starsThe Kindle version of this book has been very badly ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 25, 2017
The Kindle version of this book has been very badly abridged, with sudden confusing changes of scene. Also no proof reading appears to have been done. It is full of typos and Inspector Burden's name is frequently spelled in lower case. A most disappointing version of a superb author's book.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 10, 2019
I haven’t read any Ruth Randell for ages but this story reminds me why I enjoyed her books. It is a little dated but then it was written in the early 60s. That said the story worked although police procedure is a lot more prescriptive nowadays. Not a story for hopeless romantics as love seems to be more of a weapon of choice for the tougher characters in the book, rather than an outpouring of emotions.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 14, 2014
This early Wexford novel is an excellent, surprisingly dark tale, The darkness is literal too in that the weather is poor and the season short - the sun only comes out towards the end of this tale and much of the action takes place at night. New detective Mark Drayton is not very likeable but very interesting and most of the other characters are well drawn and presented. Wexford himself starts to emerge from under Mike Burden's shadow as the 'main' detective and we get the first rumblings of his family life here (having briefly met his wife in the last novel, we now learn he has two daughters) and, of course, that family will become much more prominent in the the later novels. The plot twists are clever and unexpected and I think most new readers will be surprised at how things develop. Rendell leads us happily up the wrong path for quite a long time. This is one of her best early efforts.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 20, 2013
Anita - sister of Rupert Margolis - has disappeared. His main concern seems to be that she has left him to do all the housework and he wonders if the police can point him in the direction of some domestic help. Once Wexford and his colleagues have disabused him of this idea they are still left with a niggling feeling that there just might be something in it of interest to them.
This is a well written mystery with lots of interweaving strands which may or may not be connected to the original mystery of what has happened to Anita. Wexford is puzzled by the case especially when it seems that a murder may have been committed because a couple were seen staggering from a house in which a great deal of blood was found. I find Wexford and interesting character and his relationships with his police colleagues are well done.
This is the third instalment of the Wexford series and it is a good example of this excellent series. The psychological aspects of the crime are well done and the motivations of the characters believable. I found I cared what happened to everyone involved.