Thursday, September 8, 2011

Book note

From Doon with Death
by Ruth Rendell

This is the first Inspector Wexford novel, and while it isn't as fully formed as some of her later books, it's still a good one. A dull housewife is found in the woods, violently murdered in an apparent crime of passion. Though at first few claim to remember her, the investigation turns up a series of strange relationships with the victim.

Even once you've figured out the trick, (which you will; it may have been missable in 1964, but it's a pretty easy one now) Rendell has one decent red herring left. You'll still figure it out by the end, but Rendell always makes for a good story along the way.

The second Wexford novel, Sins of the Fathers, strikes me as a degree of magnitude better; it has a fairly unconventional ending for a mystery novel, and some squirmy philosophical questions in the mix. Rendell, who started off writing good, solid stories, was  apparently a quick study in the art of mystery novels.

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