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Publisher's Summary

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. Their hysterical mother is convinced that all three have drowned, and as the hours stretch into days Wexford suspects a case of kidnapping, perhaps connected with an unusual sect called the Church of the Good Gospel. But when the sitter's smashed-up car is found at the bottom of a local quarry - occupied by a battered corpse - the investigation takes on a very different hue.

For her 19th Chief Inspector Wexford mystery, Ruth Rendell tells a story that is as taut and atmospheric as anything she has ever written. Ruth Rendell has won many awards, including the Crime Writers' Association Cartier Diamond Dagger.

©2004 Ruth Rendell (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"The plot....marches efficiently to its unguessable dénouement while demonstrating Rendell's grasp of the psychological dynamics of seduction and exploitation which lie at the heart of the case." ( The New Yorker)

What listeners say about The Babes in the Wood

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

as good as anything Rendell has written

If you appreciate mysteries -- of the more traditional "cozy" variety rather than edge of seat potboilers with formula violence and sex-- this is a perfect listen. Rendell's characters, setting detail, plot, and atmosphere in this are right up there with P.D. James.

Rendell's charaters age well, so rather than a vintage listen, Wexford and company reason their way through the Internet age as smartly as they did in early 60s England. But this listen builds soldily on the traditional English cozy.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Interesting and exciting

The two characteristics I look for in a detective novel are interesting and exciting. Both are present in this book. Not only is the text interesting but the excitment is greatly enhanced by the wonderful rendering given by Mr. Anthony. If you like whodunit books, this is one for you. I particularly liked the last two chapters. Wait until you hear them. It is quentisential Rendell

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A Very English who done it.

Where does The Babes in the Wood rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Ranks up in top 10% of my listens as that includes authors PD James, Wentworth, & Elizabeth George.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

Very English in style, as in more a talking rather than action mystery. Surprisingly modern in the matter of the crime motivation.

What does Nigel Anthony bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The proper accents for characters' class in English society. Well done narration.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

"An Inspector Wexford mystery" might say it all.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Good book, really annoying reader

I've read Ruth Rendell for decades. Her stories are well written, engaging, with unusually good character development. And this one is no exception. It's just so difficult to listen to narrator Nigel Anthony who will turn the simplest sentence into an uppity, affected question.... Or, even more annoying, let the most mundane statement trail into deep, personal, and fading introspection. I wish I had paid better attention to the audio sample.

4 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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MOST DISAPPOINTING RENDELL EVER

This novel drove me crazy! Wexford never even considered an obvious suspect even though the clues were glaring. The actual murderer came out of nowhere, with no clues that I could find.

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    5 out of 5 stars

No match for the Inspector

Well the Inspector had it worked out long before me if thats possible on audio cd!
Another fabulous mystery with characters you can see in your head as you listen.
I felt I could disappear into the book and need not try to imagine the scene or the people, I was just there.
Excellent narration, difficult I imagine with so many female parts. Great book.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Distracted by Sideline story

What did you like best about The Babes in the Wood? What did you like least?

I liked the main story and how as usual the story unfolded slowly. What made me not give the story more starts, was the side story involving Wexford's daughter, The way the author chose to handle the situation was very disappointing and it totally distracted me from the rest of the story.

What was most disappointing about Ruth Rendell’s story?

Like I said the way she handled what happened to Silvia, was a bit confusing. Everyone acted like it wasn't a crime, and there was nothing they could do. The whole thing that happened after, was beyond annoying. I could not believe Wexford did what he did after all he had witnessed.

What about Nigel Anthony’s performance did you like?

He did great, loved him.

Was The Babes in the Wood worth the listening time?

Yes, overall it was.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Could hardly finish it

Any additional comments?

A very slow, very English book. Not much happened and what did, took forever. Couldn't really get into it. Wouldn't listen again.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Trevelyan
  • 01-17-20

Wonderful!

A classy, gripping novel that holds your attention right to the very end. Nigel Anthony is a great narrator and thoroughly enhances the enjoyment of this book. Can't wait to choose another Inspector Wexford story.....

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • E. Simpson
  • 09-10-18

Nigel Nails Another

A diehard Rendell fan, I am getting such pleasure from listening to her work as read by this Actor. Bravo!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr I.
  • 11-30-20

Too long.

With the male voices the narrator was very good. Female voices were at best inadequate not to say offputting. The story itself was OKish but far too long.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • sarah
  • 11-26-20

Beautifully read.

Story a bit long winded but excellent narration meant I didn't mind too much. Will listen to more in the series.

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  • CVP57
  • 05-31-18

brilliant

couldn't get any work done because I was so involved. will have to register!!! thanks

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ms. Margaret Mckee
  • 03-28-18

performance awesome

enthralling and performance SO good had me laughing out loud at its fantadtic brilliant portrayal

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-20-18

Ruth Rendell...

Really interesting story, with lots of twists and turns. Fantastic. The narration was perfect. A must for readers of crime.

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  • H. Thomas
  • 10-05-17

Intriguing story, very well told

I love Nigel Anthony's readings of Inspector Wexford novels. His vocal skills enable him to recreate Wexford's voice much as George Baker did on the on-screen version, and he's versatile enough to apply good voices for the other characters too.

As with most Wexford cases, there are all sorts of plot twists and turns, yet when eventually the denouement is reached, it has a pleasing psychological realism about it

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Terminal Clearly
  • 12-08-16

Great narrator

Got to love a bit of Inspector Wexford. Really engaging mystery and beautifully read. Old school crime.