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Inspector Wexford Series

Ruth Rendell
Death Notes by Ruth Rendell
Simisola by Ruth Rendell
Speaker of Mandarin by Ruth Rendell

Inspector Wexford Series : Titles in Order

Book 21
After a truffle-hunting dog unearths a human hand instead of a precious fungus, Chief Inspector Wexford and his team proceed to interrogate everyone who lives nearby to see if they can turn up a match for the errant appendage among the eighty-five people who have disappeared over the past decade in this part of England. Then, when a second body is discovered nearby, Wexford experiences a feeling that’s become a rarity for the veteran policeman: surprise. As Wexford painstakingly moves to resolve these multiple mysteries, long-buried secrets are brought to daylight, and Ruth Rendell once again proves why she has been hailed as our greatest living mystery writer.
Book 20
In End in Tears, Edgar Award winning author Ruth Rendell’s Inspector Wexford has his work cut out for him: When Mavis Ambrose is killed by a falling chunk of concrete, the police have no reason to suspect mischief. However, the bludgeoning of the young and gorgeous Amber Marshalson that follows is clearly murder. In the midst of the hottest summer on record, Inspector Wexford is called in to investigate. He discovers the two cases may be linked, and that Amber was at the scene of Mavis’s death. When a third body is found, the case takes a disturbing and unexpected turn. The deeper Wexford digs, the darker the realities become, and what he finds leaves him feeling lost in a world absent of morals.
Book 17
The woods outside of Kingsmarkham were lovely, dark, and deep.  And they were about to vanish forever when the new highway cut through them.  While Chief Inspector Wexford privately despaired about the loss of his hiking grounds, local residents and outsiders were organizing a massive protest.  Some of them were desperate enough to kidnap five hostages and threaten to kill them.  One hostage was Wexford’s wife, Dora.  Now, combining high technology with his extraordinary detecting skills, Wexford and his team race to find the kidnappers’ whereabouts.  Because someone has crossed from political belief to fanaticism, and as the first body is found, good intentions may become Wexford’s personal path to hell.
Book 16
“Ruth Rendell is the best mystery writer in the English-speaking world.”—Time

No one admitted to spotting the doctor’s missing daughter—even after the murders began. Melanie Akande, eschewing privilege, had insisted on going to the jobsearch office to find employment. But between that office and the bus stop, she vanished. Inspector Wexford hoped someone would have noticed her, since the Akandes were among the few Africans living in Kingsmarkham. Instead, he had found a middle-aged white woman strangled in bed, and a mysterious black girl buried in a shallow grave.

Now Wexford, seeking connections among the three women, cast his baleful eye on the changes in once rural Sussex—from a Kuwaiti millionaire’s Rolls-Royce to the growing slums and dismal hopelessness of unemployed youth. What he can’t see among them is the shocking, blood-chilling motive to kill. And what he has yet to find is a doctor’s missing child . . . 

Praise for Simisola

“One of the author’s best!”—The New York Times Book Review

“Rendell delivers a complex crime deftly unraveled.”—Daily News (New York)
Book 14
Who would garrote a middle-aged housewife and leave her body in the parking garage of a suburban shopping mall? Chief Inspector Wexford is no sooner on the case than a car bomb’s explosion lands him in the hospital. It’s now up to Mike Burden to step in and solve the case. He’s got a suspect . . . but will he be able to make him talk?
Book 13
Rodney Williams’s disappearance seems typical to Chief Inspector Wexford — a simple case of a man running off with a woman other than his wife. But when another woman reports that her husband is missing, the case turns unpleasantly complex.
Book 12
“The heiress apparent to Agatha Christie.”—Los Angeles Times

Chief Inspector Wexford is in China, visiting ancient tombs and palaces with a group of British tourists. Is he hallucinating, or does a bent old woman with bound feet follow him everywhere?

Back in England, he is called to a nearby village where a wealthy woman has been found with a bullet in her head. Murdered. He identifies her as one of the China tourists, and soon decides to question the other members of the group. When he discovers the secrets they are hiding—greed, treachery, theft, adultery—he is forced to ask not who is innocent but who is the least guilty.

“[Ruth] Rendell in top form, applying subtle psychological tints to the familiar mechanics of the police procedural . . . handsomely sculpted . . . Rendell proves once again her awesome skill at probing the criminal mind and conscience. . . . Handled with great originality.”—Philadelphia Inquirer
Book 11
Sir Manuel Camargue, yesterday one of the most celebrated musicians of his time, today floats face down in the lake near his sprawling English country house. The consensus is accidental death — but Inspector Wexford knows the stench of murder most foul when he smells it. Particularly in the company of two suspects — one, the victim’s fiancee, who is too young to be true, the other his daughter who may be no kin and even less kind . . .
Book 10
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.
Book 9
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 in Shake 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 Forever showcases Ruth Rendell at the height of her storytelling powers.
Book 8
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.
Book 7
A young girl is murdered in a cemetery.  And Wexford’s doctor has prescribed no alcohol, no rich food and, above all, no police work.  When a young girl’s body is found in a London cemetery and the local police, under the command of Wexford’s nephew, are baffled, Wexford decides to brave his doctor’s wrath and the condescension of the London police by doing a little investigating of his own. A compelling story of mysterious identity and untimely death, Murder Being Once Done is Rendell at her most sublime.

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.
Book 6
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.
Book 5
She took a peaceful walk in the woods—and found death waiting. . . .

“The best mystery writer anywhere in the English-speaking world.”—The Boston Globe

Elizabeth and Quentin Nightingale. A happy couple who lived quite graciously at Myfleet Manor in the gentle English countryside.

Elizabeth Nightingale found peace and tranquility on her nightly walks through the rich, dense forests surrounding Myfleet Manor. But the peace she treasured was shattered one night when she found death waiting in the woods.

Chief Inspector Wexford and his colleague Inspector Burden find a most unsavory case on their hands—and must use all their wit and wisdom to solve it . . .

“Undoubtedly one of the best writers of English mysteries and chiller-killer plots.”—Los Angeles Times

“You cannot afford to miss Ruth Rendell.”—The New York Times Book Review

“For readers who have almost given up mysteries . . . Rendell may be just the woman to get them started again.”—Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine
Book 4
The stag party was terrific. The incident that followed was terrifying. . . .

“The best mystery writer anywere in the English-speaking world.”—The Boston Globe

Who could have suspected that the exciting stag party for the groom would be a prelude to the murder of his close friend Charlie Hatton? But it was—and Charlie’s death sentence was only the first in a string of puzzling murders involving small-time gangsters, cheating husbands, and loose women.

Suspense is spiced with ironic twists as Chief Inspector Wexford and his assistant join forces with the groom to track down a killer. . . .

Praise for The Best Man to Die

“You cannot afford to miss Ruth Rendell!”—The New York Times Book Review

“For readers who have almost given up mysteries . . . Rendell may be just the woman to get them started again.”—Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine

“First-rate entertainment.”—Saturday Review

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