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

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

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

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So, this one doesn't really have much in the way of backstory of our Inspector, but it is quite a good police procedural. It will be interesting to see Rendell's style develop as I continue with the series as part of a group read. I got into the habit of binge reading or re-reading classic mystery authors during the pandemic and I now find it to be a continuing habit. I've just reread this novel again after six years, and while I wouldn't change my rating, I will say that it was definitely a pleasure to have taken it up again. Being one who always gives everything more then one try, I imagine I'll read another of Rendell's books but will not be in a hurry to do so.

How is it possible that a woman who had led such a quiet, respectable, unspectacular life could have met such a death of passion and violence? However, it was not because of her life that Chief Inspector Wexford became involved, but her death. Margaret Parsons is the flip side of extraordinary; no enemies, lives in somewhat of a rut, and has no sordid qualities about her whatsoever.Overall, I'm feeling three stars for this and am looking forward to reading the next one and hopefully many more after that. Several copies were sent to libraries, making copies like this, unmarred by library labels or stamps, uncommon. I feel this just goes to show that all of us have past indiscretions that we have papered over and attempted to forget.

I have mentioned before that my parents’ love of crime fiction played an important role in my formative years. Also, there is no Hastings or Watson to romanticize the proceedings, and given how much I hate both characters, I'm adding a star just for that. For some reason I had never read the Wexford novels before and it is a good beginning to the series.As it becomes clear that there is indeed foul play, of course we find that this ordinary housewife had a more interesting history than initially suspected. 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.

One of the hosts, Meredith, is a huge Louise Penny fan, as I was for the first eight novels of her series. It is amazing that after 50 years this book has held up well and actually touched a quite risque subject for the time. Seemingly a classic British murder mystery, much like Christie, whom Rendell apparently disliked and strived to get away from comparisons to, and yet in retrospect very different.

Let’s face it, the clues in this case are fairly slight so it was a pleasant surprise that she manages to lay a convincing trail to the killer with such a weak starting point. 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. And so, for a non quaint, psychological mystery that relies on neither sex nor violence, this is a very good read.

There is the open-minded attitude Inspector Wexford has towards people who are different from the majority. The time and place and characters are generally well drawn, and the plot engaging (even though the outcome was obvious to me fairly early on). In this opening mystery Inspector Wexford investigates the disappearance of Margaret Parsons, a housewife who goes missing and is later found dead in the nearby woods. Also, as a side note, don't forget that this book was written in 1964 and thus attitudes are a bit dated.In From Doon with Death, Ruth Rendell instantly mastered the form that would become synonymous with her name. As one reads the novel it's important to realize that it was originally published in 1964 and reveals British law at the time of publication. Wexford has only a few clues: a spent match on the ground, and inscriptions in some of Margaret's books that are signed "Doon. 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. Unfortunately I think that this reveal does not really hold up, as it heavily reflects the novel’s age and aspects of the time in which it was written.



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