12 December 2011

From Doon with Death by Ruth Rendell

Originally published in June 2005, on my original 52 Books blog.

Margaret Parsons, a dowdy housewife, disappears from her Kingsmarkham home, and is found murdered the next day. During the investigation, suspicion fall on several people, including her husband, a former boyfriend, two former school friends, and their husbands. Finally, when Wexford and Burden discover a cache of inscribed books from “Doon” to “Minna”, they begin to piece together a story of obsession and desire, going back more than a decade, and make a startling discovery as to the identity of “Doon”.

This is the first book in the Chief Inspector Wexford series. Like many other readers, I first became aware of Wexford as the leading character in a series of very good TV films based on the books, starring George Baker as Wexford. For some time I wasn’t even aware they were based on books, and even when I did realise it, I still was not very interested in reading them. Then I started becoming interested in crime mysteries again, literature I had mostly given up reading in my late teens. Now that I have finally got round to reading the first in the series, I definitely plan to continue.

George Baker will always be Wexford to me
The book is deftly written, has some interesting and intriguing characters, and presents a motif that is common in Rendell’s other stories: obsession. (I may not have read any of her other Wexford books, but I have read some of the non-series books). I quickly figured out certain relevant facts about the killer, and if I had not had to divide my attention between the book and other matters, I would in all probability have realised who the killer was rather sooner than I did.

Rating: A good beginning to a series that promises hours of reading pleasure. 3+ stars.

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