Posted 20 hours ago

From Doon With Death: A Wexford Case - 50th Anniversary Edition (Wexford, 1)

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It is amazing that after 50 years this book has held up well and actually touched a quite risque subject for the time. A housewife is reported missing to Inspector Burden by her husband who comes home from work and she is not there. While it is a manipulative move designed to try to add power to his explanation at the end, I think that information is only needed if something does not occur to the reader that they might figure out for themselves.

I kind of get a kick out of reading books that have Shocking Content (for their time), but because of the way society has evolved, the content that was shocking before is no longer shocking and indeed has become sort of — you know. Add him to my list of preferred readers, pleasantly British, expressive, with good variation between different characters. Means of Evil → When Wexford and Burden attend wholefood fanatic Axel Kingman's wedding, they never suspect that they will shortly be investigating the new bride's death. Now, I have had some success with Barbara Vine (though not infallible success), and have liked Ruth Rendell less, in spite of their being the same person. Wexford doesn't really make a strong impression as a leading character (in fact quite a good amount of the investigating falls to his partner, the aptly named Inspector Burden), but he shows much potential, intellectual and emotional astuteness and solid detecting skills.I generally feel that when I've read three or more books featuring one character I enjoy each successive book a little bit more.

Murder Being Once Done Wexford is drawn to the case of a young woman found murdered in a London cemetery vault. And yet, it is fairly easy to guess who the murderer is (although, it probably wasn't the case when it was first published). The plot is a decent one, it's intriguing enough, but I have issue with the characterisation of people, I know it's the early nineties, but I have no recollection of people being to purist and straight laced. The way the book is structured, it will all build to a moment in which that identity is revealed and if the reader feels surprised it will likely result in a rush of excitement and general good feeling.Margaret Parsons was a shy, unexceptional woman who lived a Spartan existence with her dour husband in a decrepit Victorian house. I surmise Ruth intentionally conveyed a depressed husband and household but that persisted too long, before the appearance of a clue brought any action at all. Although Ruth Rendell does use certain stereotypes, it is clear that she has laid down a great basis for further books - Wexford is plain talking, intelligent and not easily swayed by a pretty face; Burdon a great sidekick and the small town of Kingsmarkham well described. When Margaret is found murdered, it is up to Wexford and Burdon to unravel Margaret's past and discover what led to the death of a quiet, suburban housewife. I hear her solo stories and other Reginald Wexford / Mike Burden cases are better; a good thing, because I own nearly them all, courtesy of bargain bins!

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