The enthralling new novel in Rendell's masterful Inspector Wexford series, which will soon mark its fiftieth anniversary. A female vicar named Sarah Hussein is discovered strangled in her Kingsmarkham vicarage. Maxine, the gossipy cleaning woman who discovers her body, happens to also be in the employ of retired Chief Inspector Wexford and his wife. When called on by his old deputy, detective inspector Mike Burden, Wexford, intrigued by the unusual circumstances of the murder, leaps at the chance to tag along with the investigators. A single mother to a teenage girl, Hussein was a woman working in a male-dominated profession. Moreover, she was of mixed race and working to modernize the church. Could racism or sexism have played a factor in her murder? As Wexford searches the Vicar's house, he sees a book on her bedside table. Inside the book is a letter serving as a bookmark. Without thinking much, Wexford puts it into his pocket. Wexford soon realizes he has made a grave error in removing a piece of valuable evidence from the scene without telling anybody. Yet what he finds inside begins to illuminate the murky past of Hussein. Is there more to her than meets the eye?
What kind of a person would kidnap two children? That is the question that haunts Wexford when a five-year-old boy and a twelve-year-old girl disappear from the village of Kingsmarkham. When a child's body turns up at an abandoned country home one search turns into a murder investigation and the other turns into a race against time. Filled with pathos and terror, passion, bitterness, and loss, No More Dying Then is Rendell at her most chillingly astute. With her Inspector Wexford novels, Ruth Rendell, winner of the Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Award, has added layers of depth, realism and unease to the classic English mystery. For the canny, tireless, and unflappable policeman is an unblinking observer of human nature, whose study has taught him that under certain circumstances the most unlikely people are capable of the most appalling crimes.
Searching for truffles in a wood, a man and his dog unearth something less savoury â " a human hand. The body, as Chief Inspector Wexford is informed later, has lain buried for ten years or so, wrapped in a purple cotton shroud. The post mortem can not reveal the precise cause of death. The only clue is a crack in one of the dead man's ribs. Although it covers a relatively short period of time, the computer stores a long list of Missing Persons. Men, women and children disappear at an alarming rate, nationwide something like 500 every day. So Wexford knows he is going to have a job on his hands to identify the corpse. And then, only about twenty yards away from the woodland burial site, in the cellar of a disused cottage, another body is discovered. The detection skills of Wexford, Burden and the other investigating officers of the Kingsmarkham Police Force are tested to the utmost as they attempt to discover whether the murders are connected and to track down whoever is responsible. 'Ruth Rendell's books are not only whodunits but whydunits, uncovering the motive roots of murder. ' - Mail on Sunday
Two things interest Stanley Manning: crossword puzzles, and the substantial sum his wife Vera stands to inherit when his mother-in-law dies. Otherwise, life at 61 Lanchester Road is a living hell. For Mrs. Kinaway lives with them now-and she will stop at nothing to tear their marriage apart. One afternoon, Stanley sets aside his crossword puzzles and changes all their lives forever. . . InOne Across, Two Down, master crime writer Ruth Rendell describes a man whose strained sanity and stained reputation transform him from a witless loser into a killer afraid of his own shadow. Mischievously plotted, smart, maddeningly entertaining,One Across, Two Downis a dark delight-classic Rendell.
Ruth Rendell is widely considered to be crime fiction's reigning queen, with a remarkable career spanning more than forty years. Now, in Portobello, she delivers a captivating and intricate tale that weaves together the troubled lives of several people in the gentrified neighborhood of London's Notting Hill.Walking to the shops one day, fifty-year-old Eugene Wren discovers an envelope on the street bulging with cash. A man plagued by a shameful addiction--and his own good intentions--Wren hatches a plan to find the money's rightful owner. Instead of going to the police, or taking the cash for himself, he prints a notice and posts it around Portobello Road. This ill-conceived act creates a chain of events that links Wren to other Londoners--people afflicted with their own obsessions and despairs. As these volatile characters come into Wren's life--and the life of his trusting fiancée--the consequences will change them all. Portobello is a wonderfully complex tour de force featuring a dazzling depiction of one of London's most intriguing neighborhoods--and the dangers beneath its newly posh veneer.
Winner of multiple Edgar and Gold Dagger awards including the most prestigious Edgar of them all, the Grand Master, Ruth Rendell returns with a novel that pits Chief Inspector Wexford against a quite personal foe: the environmental terrorists who kidnap and threaten the lives of five hostages--including Wexford's own wife. As Road Rage begins, Chief Inspector Wexford is walking through Framhurst Great Wood, just outside his beloved town of Kingsmarkham, for what he tells himself will be the last time. He can no longer bear to look at the natural beauty that will soon be despoiled by the construction of a new highway. Wexford rather despairs of the project; his more sanguine wife, Dora, is active on a committee to save the threatened land. Others are more desperate to achieve their end, and their means include the taking of hostages, including Dora, and the threat to begin murdering them.How Wexford and his dedicated team of police officers race against time to learn the identity of the kidnappers and discover the whereabouts of the hostages will rivet readers who delight in following the intricate details of an intensive police investigation. But, as in every Ruth Rendell novel, the mortal drama raises political and moral questions that are not resolved with the closing of the case, and that apply far beyond the limits of Kingsmarkham.From the Hardcover edition.
The first young woman murdered had a bite mark on her neck, the media calls the killer "The Rottweiler". But he does not bite, he garrotes, and takes a trinket from each victim.
Life in the well-manicured London locale of Hexam Place is not as placid and orderly as it appears. Behind the tranquil gardens and polished entryways, relationships between servants and their employers are set to combust.Henry, the handsome valet to Lord Studley, is sleeping with both the Lord's wife and his university-age daughter. Montserrate, the Still family's lazy au pair, is helping to hide Mrs. Still's illicit affair with a television actor--for a small fee. June, the haughty housekeeper to a princess of dubious origin, is hard at work forming a "society" for servants to address complaints about their employers. Meanwhile, a disturbed gardener, Dex, believes a voice in his cellphone is giving him godlike instructions--that could endanger the lives of all who reside in Hexam Place.A deeply observed and suspenseful update to the upstairs/downstairs genre, The St. Zita Society is Ruth Rendell at her incisive best.
The bed was neatly made, and the woman on top neatly strangled. According to all accounts, Angela Hathall was deeply in love with her husband and far too paranoid to invite an unknown person into their home. So who managed to gain entry and strangle her without a struggle? That is the problem facing Inspector Wexford inShake Hands Forever. Perhaps it was the mystery woman who left her fingerprints on the Hathall's bathtub? Perhaps it was Angela's husband who lied about a stolen library book? And why was the Hathall home, usually so unkempt, exqisitely clean the day of Angela's death? Then a neighbor--friendly, knowing, disarmingly beautiful--offers Wexford her assistance. And what begins as a rather tricky case turns into an obsession that threatens to destroy the Inspector's career--as well as his marriage. Maddeningly addictive, smart and surprising,Shake Hands Forevershowcases Ruth Rendell at the height of her storytelling powers. From the Trade Paperback edition.
A Sight for Sore Eyes tells three stories, and for the longest time, the reader has no inkling of how they will come together. The first is a story of a little girl who has been scolded and sent to her room when her mother is brutally murdered; as Francine grows up, she is haunted by the experience, and it is years before she even speaks. Secondly, we become privy to the life of a young man, Teddy, born of unthinking young parents, who grows up almost completely ignored. Free of societal mores, he becomes a sociopath, who eventually discovers that killing can be an effective way to get what he wants. Thirdly, we meet Harriet, who from an early age has learned to use her beauty to make her way in the world. Bored by marriage to a wealthy, much older man, she scans the local newspapers for handymen to perform odd jobs around the house, including services in the bedroom.When these three plots strands finally converge, the result is harrowing and unforgettable. A Sight for Sore Eyes is not just the work of a writer at the peak of her craft. It is an extraordinary story by a writer who, after 45 books, countless awards, and decades of international acclaim, is still getting better with every book.From the Hardcover edition.
In the quiet Sussex country town of Kingsmarkham, the daughter of Nigerian physician Raymond Akande is missing. "It's probably nothing, " says Dr. Akande to his friend and client Chief Inspector Wexford, whose help he enlists. But the days that follow prove the doctor dreadfully wrong. A young woman is found murdered not Melanie, but the last person to have seen and spoken to her. A second woman's body is discovered, again not Melanie's, but like her, young and black. A third woman turns up beaten and unconscious; like the others, she is of Nigerian origin. As Inspector Wexford's investigation stretches from days into weeks, it becomes his unhappy obligation to counter the hopes of the doctor and his wife. In Wexford's professional opinion, Melanie, like the other young women, has become the victim of a serial killer with a horrifyingly singular objective.From the Paperback edition.
Rhoda Comfrey's death seemed unremarkable; the real mystery was her life.In A Sleeping Life, master mystery writer Ruth Rendell unveils an elaborate web of lies and deception painstakingly maintained by a troubled soul. A wallet found in Comfrey's handbag leads Inspector Wexford to 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. Brilliantly entertaining, exceptionally crafted, A Sleeping Life evokes the dark realities, half-truths, and flights of fancy that constitute a life.From the Trade Paperback edition.
A mutilated body found at a rock festival.In spite of dire predictions, the rock festival in Kingsmarkham seemed to be going off without a hitch, until the hideously disfigured body is discovered in a nearby quarry. And soon Wexford is investigating the links between a local girl gone bad and a charismatic singer who inspires an unwholesome devotion in his followers. Some Lie and Some Die is a devilishly absorbing novel, in which Wexford's deductive powers come up against the aloof arrogance of pop stardom. With her Inspector Wexford novels, Ruth Rendell, winner of the Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Award, has added layers of depth, realism and unease to the classic English mystery. For the canny, tireless, and unflappable policeman is an unblinking observer of human nature, whose study has taught him that under certain circumstances the most unlikely people are capable of the most appalling crimes.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Chief Inspector Wexford is in China, visiting ancient tombs and palaces with a group of British tourists. After their return to England, one of his fellow tourists is found murdered. As he questions other members of the group, Wexford finds secrets of greed, treachery, theft, and adultery, leading the distressed inspector to ask not who is innocent, but who is least guilty . . .
From three-time Edgar Award-winning mystery writer Ruth Rendell comes a captivating and expertly plotted tale of residents and servants on one block of a posh London street--and the deadly ways their lives intertwine.Life for the residents and servants of Hexam Place appears placid and orderly on the outside: drivers take their employers to and from work, dogs are walked, flowers are planted in gardens, and Christmas candles lit uniformly in windows. But beneath this tranquil veneer, the upstairs-downstairs relationships are set to combust.Henry, the handsome valet to Lord Studley, is sleeping with both the Lord's wife and his university-age daughter. Montserrat, the Still family's lazy au pair, assists Mrs. Still in keeping secret her illicit affair with a television actor--in exchange for pocket cash. June, the haughty housekeeper to a princess of dubious origin, tries to enlist her fellow house-helpers into a "society" to address complaints about their employers. Meanwhile, Dex, the disturbed gardener to several families on the block, thinks a voice on his cell phone is giving him godlike instructions--commands that could imperil the lives of all those in Hexam Place.The St. Zita Society is Ruth Rendell at her brilliant best--a deeply observed and suspenseful novel of murder in the quintessentially London world of servants and their masters.
A classic Rendellian loner, Mix Cellini is superstitious about the number 13. Living in a decaying house in Notting Hill, Mix is obsessed with 10 Rillington Place, where the notorious John Christie committed a series of foul murders. He is also infatuated with a beautiful model who lives nearby - a woman who would not look at him twice. Mix's landlady, Gwendolen Chawcer is equally reclusive - living her life through her library of books. Both landlady and lodger inhabit weird worlds of their own. But when reality intrudes into Mix's life, a long pent-up violence explodes.
Is it dangerous to know too much about your neighbors? In Tigerlily's Orchids, Diamond Dagger Award-winning Ruth Rendell has written psychologically thrilling novel about the eccentric inhabitants of a London terrace--about the secrets they keep, and what they will do to hide them.When Stuart Font decides to throw a housewarming party in his new flat, he invites all the people in his building--three flippant young girls, a lonely spinster, a man with a passion for classical history, and a woman determined to drink herself to death. After some deliberation, he even includes the unpleasant caretaker and his wife. He considered inviting a few other friends, but he definitely does not want his girlfriend, Claudia, in attendance, as he would also have to invite her lawyer husband. As it turns out, the party will be one everyone remembers. Living in a townhouse opposite Stuart's building, in reclusive isolation, is a young, beautiful Asian woman known as Tigerlily. As though from some strange urban fairytale, she emerges infrequently to exert a terrible spell. And Stuart's parents, always worried about their handsome, hopelessly naive, and undermotivated son, have even more cause for concern.Darkly humorous, piercingly insightful about human behavior, Ruth Rendell, whom People magazine calls "one of the most remarkable novelists of her generation," has created an extraordinarily compelling story of our lives and crimes.
Gossip in tiny Linchester is raised to new heights when young Patrick Selby dies on the night of his beautiful wife's birthday party. The whole neighborhood was there, witness to the horrible attack of wasps Peter suffered at the end of the evening. But did Peter die of the stings? Dr. Greenleaf thinks not. After all, wasps aren't the only creatures that kill with poison . . .
Inspector Wexford's investigation of the murder of a paint sales manager points to a number of suspects. The victim was not only guilty of financial misdeeds, but also was a bigamist and a philanderer who focused on Lolita types. Later, when several men are knifed, the detective wonders if the murders are related to a local radical feminist cult.
From "the reigning queen of crime fiction" (Time Out), a sequel to A Sight for Sore Eyes, one of Rendell's most beloved novels--featuring the retired Inspector Wexford. In the stunning climax to Rendell's classic A Sight for Sore Eyes, three bodies--two dead, one living--are entombed in an underground chamber beneath a picturesque London house. Twelve years later, when a manhole cover is pulled back, the house's new owner makes a grisly discovery. Only now, the number of bodies is four. How did somebody else end up in the chamber? And who knew of its existence?With their own detectives at an impasse, police call on former Chief Inspector Wexford, now retired and living with his wife in London, to advise them on the unsolved murders. Wexford, missing the thrill of a good case, jumps at the chance to sleuth again. His dogged detective skills and knack for figuring out the criminal mind take him to London neighborhoods, posh and poor, as he follows a complex criminal trail back to the original murders.But just as Wexford's case gets hot, a devastating family tragedy pulls Wexford back to Kingsmarkham, and for the first time in his life, Wexford finds himself transforming from investigator into victim. Masterfully plotted, The Vault will satisfy both longtime Wexford fans and new Rendell readers.
When Ismay and Heather's stepfather was discovered dead in the bathtub nine years ago, the police concluded the drowning was an accident. But Ismay has always silently suspected that Heather might have had something to do with it. Now they're older and their lives seem to be moving happily forward. But when Heather becomes seriously involved with a man for the first time, Ismay's long-repressed memories can no longer be ignored. With painful inevitability, Ismay learns that she may not able to keep the dark truth hidden forever.From the Trade Paperback edition.
It was better than a hotel, this anonymous room on a secluded side street of a small country town. No register to sign, no questions asked, and for five bucks a man could have three hours of undisturbed, illicit lovemaking.Then one evening a man with a knife turned the love nest into a death chamber. The carpet was soaked with blood -- but where was the corpse?Meanwhile, a beautiful, promiscuous woman is missing -- along with the bundle of cash she'd had in her pocket. The truth behind it all will keep even veteran mystery fans guessing through the very last page.
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