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Publisher's Summary

Wexford had almost made up his mind that he would never again set eyes on Eric Targo. And yet there he was, back in Kingsmarkham, still with that cocky, strutting walk.

Years earlier, when Wexford was a young police officer, a woman called Elsie Carroll had been found strangled in her bedroom. Although many still had their suspicions that her husband was guilty, no one was convicted. Another woman was strangled shortly afterwards, and every instinct told Wexford that the killer was still at large. And that it was Eric Targo; a psychopath who would kill again.

As the Chief Inspector investigates a new case, Ruth Rendell looks back to the beginning of Wexford's career, even to his courtship of the woman who would become his wife. The past is a haunted place, with clues and passions that leave an indelible imprint on the here and now.

©2009 Kingsmarkham Enterprises Ltd (P)2014 Audible, Inc

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Kirstine
  • 05-02-10

Provides background to Wexford's earlier career

I enjoyed this well-constructed story with several strands that come together by the end. The book has a more unusual format than some others by Ruth Rendell in that a large part is Wexford speaking to Inspector Burden about his strange encounters over many years with Eric Targo: a man he believed, intuitively, has committed murder. Woven into Wexford's reminiscences we learn of his early career and love-life and how he met his wife, Dora. The more contemporary part of the story comes later when Wexford sees Targo again. As is often the case of Ruth Rendell she weaves in issues about human relations and society in general with a fair bit of psychology.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Omri
  • 10-21-09

The Monster in the Box

Excellent movement between past and present. A gripping, if anti-climactic end. One of her best as far as we are concerned.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Rogayah
  • 02-04-11

Obsession

An excellent story with many twists and turns. Going from past to present it was a refreshing change from the standard story line. Although sometimes the police did not seem to see what was obvious to the listener it was a story that kept me listening and trying to guess the answers til the end.

It was well told but there was an annoying fact that 'Wyndmondham House' (if that is how it is spelt) should be pronounced 'Windham' as is the village/town in Norfolk. This was produced by the BBC so it is a bit surprising that they did not know, unless, of course it is not spelt like that.

Wexford, as a character has developed into an interesting more rounded character from the early books and this gives an unusual take on the man. Worth a listen.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Annie
  • 09-04-10

Riveting listening

I had never heard of this title before and I thought I'd read just about every Ruth Rendell there is, so it was a pleasant surprise to discover for the first time this absolutely riveting story. Nigel Anthony's narration and his portrayal of the diverse characters also play a large part in making this audiobook such an enthralling experience. I could vividly picture each and every character thanks to this versatile performer. The story itself is a tangle of people, events and locations, which, when experienced via audiobook can prove to be a challenge but nevertheless worth while if you can manage to stay on top of the action. Wexford's own psychological make-up is well to the fore as we witness his obsession with the man he suspects of murder. There is some gentle humour along the way too, in the dialogue between Burden and Wexford, in Wexford's thoughts and asides, in Rendell's character-drawings. There are also some extremely chilling moments which had me reaching for the light switch on a number of occasions when I was lying in bed in the dark, listening through my iPod. I have rarely been disappointed in a Ruth Rendell story; many of those I have read and enjoyed have disappeared into the mists of my memory, but 'The Monster in the Box' will remain with me a long, long time.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mrs Gallop
  • 09-01-14

A normal Ruth Rendell

Fairly good - not enough pace for me and not enough of a mystery, so although a good listen and it's good to know how it pans out in the end, I won't listen to it again. Not a 'classic'.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • CharlotteA
  • 11-17-09

Classic Rendell

Tight plotting, suspenseful and some lovely insights into Wexford: the Early Years.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • SEA, Charente
  • 04-29-18

Remarkable and somewhat different

Another classic from Ruth Rendell, beautifully narrated.
This book tells us more than we have learnt before about Wexford’s early adult life. The main narrative is historical, combined with a modern theme, the two being cleverly combined in the denouement.
Slow in development, this book is still well worth reading.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • J S Stonemam
  • 01-24-18

a good story

once again Ruth Rendell held my attention, wasn't expecting that ending, most enjoyable, very good

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • K L EDMONDS
  • 08-11-15

Fabulous

Nigel Anthony as a narrator is sublime !
I am now in the process of buying other titles narrated by him.