• A Sleeping Life

  • A Chief Inspector Wexford Mystery, Book 10
  • By: Ruth Rendell
  • Narrated by: Nigel Anthony
  • Length: 5 hrs and 50 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (129 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The body found under the hedge was that of a middle-aged woman. With nothing more to go on than what appeared to be a sardonic gleam in the wide and staring eyes of the victim, It’s time for Wexford and his team to get pro-active. From a seemingly unremarkable death comes an intricate web of lies and deception. A wallet found in the victim’s handbag leads our hero, Inspector Wexford to a Mr. Grenville West, a writer whose plots revel in the blood, thunder, and passion of dramas of old; whose current whereabouts are unclear; and whose curious secretary--the plain Polly Flinders--provides the Inspector with more questions than answers. And when a second Grenville West comes to light, Wexford faces a dizzying array of possible scenarios--and suspects--behind the Comfrey murder.

©1978 Ruth Rendell (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about A Sleeping Life

Average Customer Ratings
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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

chapters are repeated

This is a good book, but each chapter has been put on twice, 1, 1, 2, 2, etc. This is annoying

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Another great tale of Inspector Wexford.

I particularly enjoyed this one, despite quickly uncovering the solution, and having to wait for the Inspector and his team to catch up - but it was a fun ride all the same.

Other highlights were the descriptions of 1970s London - oh, if only we could visit Hampstead in that day instead of today!

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Dated Conceptions of Sex and Gender

Dated conceptions of sex and gender make this Chief Inspector Wexford mystery unpersuasive and actually distasteful.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Loved it

the characters in this book are awesome I fell in love with it and have listened to many more I recommend this listen you won't be disappointed

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

quirky and cool!

as always... Rendell manages to keep you guessing.. Narration pretty good also. a good read!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Twists and turns

Inspector Wexford seems to be stumped on this one, with many digressions I certainly didn't expect. Excellent narration. I only wish the book had been longer.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-04-22

Ending

Again another book I thoroughly enjoyed .

Thought I had solved the murder know to find out I was completely wrong . Keeps you guessing .

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Cath Romney
  • 03-25-22

Intriguing

A very intriguing story keeping you guessing till the end. And the end has a twist to it.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jaybrody
  • 02-21-22

Beautiful written

Brilliantly written and very insightful storyline. I was hooked from the beginning and what a surprising twist plot it had. Definitely recommend it

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Zilpah
  • 12-06-21

Murder Mystery with 1970s Attitudes

A Sleeping Life includes the usual murder mystery with a twist but includes commentary on working women and women’s roles in society in the late 1970s. Ruth Rendell is wrote this at a time of change, when women longed to embrace new career opportunities but their efforts were often resisted by men comfortably mentally and physically entrenched in their long held positions of influence and power. The author suggests that women could now choose to live in a variety of ways in order to feel fulfilled. In general, the language and attitudes expressed by many of the characters is astonishing to read nowadays but it is of the time and to my recollection is how people really were fifty years ago. Brilliantly read by Nigel Anthony, my favourite of the Wexford narrators so far.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Flint
  • 09-16-17

Dated, but still enjoyable

I like Inspector Wexford and I enjoy returning to the Wexford series, but they are now very dated. The plot was very interesting but some of the language and attitudes in the book are a bit uncomfortable for a modern reader. The narrator was excellent and I enjoyed listening to this book.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Gaynor MM
  • 07-22-22

Thoroughly enjoyed this audio book

Thoroughly enjoyed this audio book, but I am a Ruth Rendell and Inspector Wexford fan.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Seona Mason-Chadburn
  • 07-21-22

murder mystery

Well narrated. Twists and turns, all at a gentle pace. No frights or gory horrors. Good story.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • R D
  • 06-18-22

Dated but still captivating

Yes this is written in the 70s I believe and the attitudes and language are dated and distasteful. I also guessed part of the plot as a consequence. But I kept reading because Rendell’s characters and social tensions are fascinating. You couldn’t change the words in the book because she portrays where attitudes are changing and so had to show where the tensions are. She shows courage in doing this and it’s easy for us to judge from here. This is something she continued to do and you can see how she changes through the years. Probably ahead of the contemporary trend. On the other hand she’s often unreasonably occupied with a woman’s looks - or at least her characters are, and I wish that wasn’t so.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Simonetta
  • 06-12-22

Of it’s time

I believe this was written in the late 70s. Another reviewer wanted the very dated and inappropriate language edited out which seems strange. We wouldn’t ask that of Agatha Christie! It’s because it was a time of great social change and it’s important to be able to look back and groan at the dreadful expressions and attitudes of the time.

As far as the performance went, I love Nigel Anthony’s voice although his women are a bit sappy. The story was ok, although Rendell does seem fixated on women’s looks in all her books, never mind this one. Although I like Wexford as a character I think Rendell can’t help showing her middle class discomfort with race and class, and her efforts to appear liberal seem patronising. It does drag after a bit.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • JR2020
  • 06-07-22

Problematic

Be warned, casual racism and misogyny. I hadn’t realised this was written in 1978, but the language to me is quite wince worthy.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ben K Lodhia
  • 04-18-22

Just Wow

Fantastic story. Did not see this coming. if only we could see Wexfords thinking!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Aussie Jenny
  • 10-19-21

Great old fashioned story

This Ruth Rendell story is slow to start, once you get into it though you will find you are captivated by the twists of the storyline.
I am usually able to work out what will happen in detective novels, this one was different, I did not expect the surprise ending. Let’s see if you are a better detective than I am.

Highly mrecommended

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-03-18

not bad

Fairly well written but i guessed most of the ending too early in the book.