Featured in The Times Top 10 Crime Books of the Decade
The twenty-fourth book in the bestselling Detective Chief Inspector Wexford series, from the author of classic detective fiction and gripping psychological thrillers including End in Tears and Thirteen Steps Down.
The impossible has happened. Chief Inspector Reg Wexford has retired from the crime force. He and his wife, Dora, now divide their time between Kingsmarkham and a coachhouse in Hampstead, belonging to their actress daughter, Sheila.
Wexford takes great pleasure in his books, but, for all the benefits of a more relaxed lifestyle, he misses being the hand of the law.
But a chance meeting in a London street, with someone he had known briefly as a very young police constable, changes everything. Tom Ede is now a Detective Superintendent, and is very keen to recruit Wexford as an adviser on a mysterious murder case.
The bodies of two women and a man have been discovered in the old coal hole of an attractive house in St John's Wood. None of the corpses carry identification. But the man's jacket pockets contain a string of pearls, a diamond and a sapphire necklace as well as other jewellery valued in the region of £40,000.
To Wexford, this is definitely a case worth coming out of retirement for. He is intrigued and excited by the challenge, but unaware that this new investigative role will bring him into extreme physical danger...
Everything that is brilliant about Rendell's writing is present in abundance in this novel: the vivid scene-setting, the knife-sharp social observations, the tiny telling details that contribute so powerfully to characterisation . . . The Vault is an excellent addition to an incredibly impressive series.
The Vault sees Rendell for the first time marry the two genres she is master of: the psychological thriller and the police whodunit . . There's not a clue out of place or a shoehorned plotline in sight.
Now Wexford has retired, Rendell has spotted an opportunity to bring her two strands together in a superb novel called The Vault . . . the author's sheer technical skill is evident as she effortlessly brings the original story up to date. Only a novelist whose characters feel intensely real to her could pull off such a coup.
The Vault, as a sort-of-sequel is a bold attempt to combine Rendell's two chosen specialties: the police procedural and the psychological thriller. No one hides the clues better than her; no one else creates such a pervasive atmosphere of almost comic disgust and dread.