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The second book to feature the classic crime-solving detective, Chief Inspector Wexford.
Even the dead have something to hide...
The discovery of Elizabeth Nightingale's broken body in the woods near her home could not have come as a bigger shock. Called in to investigate, Chief Inspector Wexford quickly determines that the Nightingales were considered the perfect couple - wealthy, attractive and without an enemy in the world.
However, someone must have been alone with Elizabeth that night in the woods. Someone who hated - or perhaps loved - her enough to beat her to death.
The case seems straightforward. But Wexford soon learns that beneath the placid surface of the Nightingales' lives lie undercurrents and secrets no one ever suspected.
Published: 6 Oct 2009
The second book to feature the classic crime-solving detective, Chief Inspector Wexford.
Some cases are impossible to bury.
It's impossible to forget the violent bludgeoning to death of an elderly lady in her home. Even more so when it's your first murder case.
Wexford believed he'd solved Mrs Primero's murder fifteen years ago. It was no real mystery. Everyone knew Painter, her odd-job man, had done it. There had never been any doubt in anyone's mind. Until now...
Henry Archery's son is engaged to Painter's daughter. Only Archery can't let the past remain buried. He wants to prove Wexford wrong, and in probing into the lives of the witnesses questioned all those years ago, he stirs up more than old ghosts.
What connects a kidnapped baby, a woman's body left to rot in a cove in Yugoslavia, a suspicious suicide and the century-old case of a wife who poisons her husband? The answer: British crime fiction's favourite detective, DCI Reg Wexford.
In the first of five cases, Wexford is brought in to deal with a distraught mother whose baby girl has been swapped with an unknown baby boy. When a local priest discovers the missing baby, safe and sound, on the church steps, the hunt for the missing girl is quickly over.
Mother and daughter are happily reunited, but the mystery of the baby boy remains unsolved. Then Wexford discovers Paddy Jasper has returned to Kingsmarkham, a man previously investigated by Wexford for violently abusing a child. Now Wexford fears the next reunion may not be as happy as the last...
Published: 4 Feb 2010
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...
The eighth book to feature the classic crime-solving detective, Chief Inspector Wexford.
When the body of a brutally beaten girl is found in a quarry during a hedonistic hippy festival near Kingsmarkham, Wexford is first on the scene. The victim's face has been pulped by the back-end of a bottle, but who, in this atmosphere of peace and love, could be capable of such violence?
The body is that of local girl turned stripper Dawn Stonor, but it is the unlikely link between this ill-fated girl and the mysterious folk-singer Zeno Vedast that piques Wexford's interest.
Through an intricate web of lies and deceit, Wexford uncovers a history of love and hate that began years earlier. In all his years of police work, he has never been faced with a crime of such desperate passion...
No Man's Nightingale: the eagerly anticipated twenty-fourth title in Ruth Rendell's bestselling Detective Chief Inspector Wexford series.
The woman vicar of St Peter's Church may not be popular among the community of Kingsmarkham. But it still comes as a profound shock when she is found strangled in her vicarage.
Inspector Wexford is retired, but he retains a relish for solving mysteries especially when they are as close to home as this one is.
So when he's asked whether he will assist on the case, he readily agrees.
But why did the vicar die? And is anyone else in Kingsmarkham in danger?
What Wexford doesn't know is that the killer is far closer than he, or anyone else, thinks.
The eighteenth book to feature the classic crime-solving detective, Chief Inspector Wexford.
A young girl disappears, then another.
A notorious paedophile is released back into the community. The residents of the Muriel Campden Estate are up in arms, and even prepared to take the law into their own hands...
Chief Inspector Wexford is faced with the effects of violence and prejudice every day as a policeman, and he is also involved with a new programme to help victims of domestic violence. His daughter, Sylvia, has come to work nearby in a refuge for battered women. Her marriage is not a happy one, although her husband has never raised a hand to her. They are merely incompatible. Other women in Kingsmarkham are not so lucky...
Wexford is soon called upon to investigate two extremely serious crimes which will affect the lives and attitudes of police and innocent villagers alike...
The third book to feature the classic crime-solving detective, Chief Inspector Wexford.
Passion can be lethal.
Anita Margolis has vanished. Dark and exquisite, Anita's character is as mysterious as her disappearance.
There was no body, no crime - nothing more concrete than an anonymous letter and the intriguing name of Smith. According to headquarters, it wasn't to be considered a murder enquiry at all.
With the letter providing them with only one questionable lead to follow, Wexford and his sidekick Inspector Burden are compelled to make enquiries. They soon discover Anita is wealthy, flighty, and thoroughly immoral. The straight-laced Burden has a very clear idea of what happened to her. But Wexford has his own suspicions...
The tenth book to feature the classic crime-solving detective, Chief Inspector Wexford.
On a sultry August evening, the bloody body of a middle-aged woman is discovered beneath a hedge by a small boy.
There are only two things that surprise Wexford about the murder scene. One, that the only contents of the woman's handbag are some keys and a wallet containing nothing but some money. And two, how even in death, her deathly grey eyes possess a scornful glare.
The woman turns out to be Rhoda Comfrey, but there's no murder weapon, no apparent motive, and no one who actually cares that she died. Wexford's only hunch is that the clues to her murder must lie in her solitary London life. But her existence there becomes frustratingly impossible to trace.
The fourth book to feature the classic crime-solving detective, Chief Inspector Wexford.
Nothing is ever quite what it seems...
A man and his daughter lie dead after a car accident. Strangely, no other car was involved and no cause has been found. Wexford's only option is to wait and hope that the one surviving victim - the mother, Mrs Fanshawe - regains consciousness.
But when she finally awakens six weeks later, Wexford's attention has already been distracted by a new and very violent case. Walking by the canal that same morning, Wexford discovered the bloody body of Charlie Hatton.
The two cases are obviously unrelated, although something is bothering Wexford and he can't work out why or what. But just as he begins to wonder whether there could in fact be a connection, the unexpected occurs: the Fanshawe daughter, believed to be killed in the accident, appears at her mother's beside very much alive...
The twenty-first book to feature the classic crime-solving detective, Chief Inspector Wexford.
Searching for truffles in a wood, a man and his dog unearth something slightly less savoury - a human hand.
The corpse, as Chief Inspector Wexford is informed later, has lain buried for ten years or so, wrapped in a purple cotton sheet. The post mortem can not reveal the precise cause of death. The only clue to solving this mysterious murder is a crack in one of the dead man's ribs.
Wexford knows it will be a difficult job to identify the dead body. Although it covers a relatively short period of time, the police computer stores a long list of missing persons. People disappear at an alarming rate - hundreds each day.
And then, only about twenty yards away from the woodland burial site, in the cellar of a disused cottage, another body is found.
The detection skills of Wexford, Burden and the other investigating officers of the Kingsmarkham Police Force are tested to the utmost to discover whether the murders are connected and to track down whoever is responsible.
The twentieth book to feature the classic crime-solving detective, Chief Inspector Wexford.
A lump of concrete dropped deliberately from a little stone bridge over a relatively unfrequented road kills the wrong person. The young woman in the car behind is spared. But only for a while...
A few weeks later, George Marshalson lives every father's worst nightmare: he discovers the murdered body of his eighteen-year-old daughter on the side of the road.
As a man with a strained father-daughter relationship himself, Wexford must struggle to keep his professional life as a detective separate from his personal life as husband and father. Particularly when a second teenage girl is murdered - a victim unquestionably linked to the first - and another family is shattered...
The sixteenth book to feature the classic crime-solving detective, Chief Inspector Wexford.
When a young, black woman goes missing in Kingsmarkham, Wexford must respond to a test not only of his powers of deduction, but of his basic beliefs and prejudices.
Only eighteen black people live in Kingsmarkham. One of them is Wexford's new doctor, Raymond Akande. When the doctor's daughter, Melanie, goes missing, the Chief Inspector takes more than just a professional interest in the case.
Melanie, just down from university but unable to find a job, disappeared somewhere between the Benefit Office and the bus stop. Or at least no one saw her get on the bus when it came...
When the body of a young black woman is discovered, Wexford must overcome his underlying prejudices to allow his investigative skills to succeed.
The twenty-second book to feature the classic crime-solving detective, Chief Inspector Wexford.
Wexford had almost made up his mind that he would never again set eyes on Eric Targo's short, muscular figure. And yet there he was, back in Kingsmarkham, still with that cocky, strutting walk.
Years earlier, when Wexford was a young police officer, a woman called Elsie Carroll had been found strangled in her bedroom. Although many still had their suspicions that her husband was guilty of her violent murder, no one was convicted.
Another woman was strangled shortly afterwards, and every personal and professional instinct told Wexford that the killer was still at large. And that it was Eric Targo. A psychopathic murderer who would kill again...
As the Chief Inspector investigates a new case, Ruth Rendell looks back to the beginning of Wexford's career as a detective, even to his courtship of the woman who would become his wife. The villainous Targo is not the only ghost from Wexford's past who has re-emerged to haunt him in the here and now...
The seventeenth book to feature the classic crime-solving detective, Chief Inspector Wexford.
A by-pass is planned in the sleepy village of Kingsmarkham, a move that would destroy its peace and natural habitat forever. Wexford's wife Dora joins the protest movement, but Wexford must be more circumspect. Trouble is expected.
Before the protesters even have a chance to make their presence felt, the badly decomposed body of a young woman is discovered. Burden believes he knows the identity of the murderer, but Wexford is not convinced.
Just as Wexford is about to investigate the murder, a number of people disappear - including Dora Wexford. The Chief Inspector must battle with his powerful emotions and solve the case immediately, before his wife is placed in any mortal danger...
The ninth book to feature the classic crime-solving Detective Chief Inspector Wexford.
Angela Hathall is found strangled in her bed but, shockingly, the murder of this meek and solitary woman sparks little emotion from her husband. Called in to investigate, Wexford's curiosity only deepens when he discovers that the Hathall household has been meticulously cleaned but for a single distinctive palm print.
As the case develops Wexford is increasingly frustrated by the seemingly pointless nature of the murder. There is no motive, no weapon and no suspect. Nothing except the unidentified print.
But despite the sparse evidence, Wexford is convinced Hathall is hiding something. So when Wexford is taken off the case he decides to take matters into his own hands...
The eleventh book to feature the classic crime-solving detective, Chief Inspector Wexford.
Sir Manuel Camargue, Kingsmarkham's very own celebrity flautist, dies tragically on a snowy night. His death is met with a ruling of misadventure and appears to be an open-and-shut-case. However Wexford, as the investigating officer, has a few niggling doubts.
Nineteen years later, Camargue's entrancing daughter, Natalie, now a considerable heiress, suddenly reappears in Kingsmarkham. When her fiancé appeals to Wexford for help, believing that Natalie is using a false identity, the case of the Camargues is once more under investigation.
Events soon take a gruesome twist and the pressure is on for Wexford to discover Natalie's true identity and to solve the mystery of the Camargue family, once and for all.
The nineteenth book to feature the classic crime-solving detective, Chief Inspector Wexford.
'A woman phoned to say she and her husband went to Paris for the weekend, leaving their children with a - well, teen-sitter, I suppose, got back last night to find the lot gone and naturally she assumes they've all drowned.'
There hadn't been anything like this kind of rain in living memory. The River Brede had burst its banks, and not a single house in the valley had escaped flooding. Even where Wexford lives, higher up in Kingsmarkham, the waters had nearly reached the mulberry tree in his once immaculate garden. The Subaqua Task Force could find no trace of Giles and Sophie Dade, let alone the woman who was keeping them company, Joanna Troy. But Mrs Dade is convinced her children are dead.
As he embarks upon this mysterious investigation, Wexford is forced to question many of his core assumptions about society, even about his own family...
The sixth book to feature the classic crime-solving detective, Chief Inspector Wexford.
On a stormy February afternoon, little Stella Rivers disappears - never to be seen again. There were no clues, no demands and no traces. And there was nowhere else for Wexford and his team to look. All that remained was the cold fear and awful dread that touched everyone in Kingsmarkham.
Just months later, another child vanishes - five-year-old John Lawrence. Wexford and Inspector Burden are launched into another investigation and, all too quickly, they discover chilling similarities to the Stella Rivers case.
Then the letters begin. The horrifying, evil, threatening letters of a madman. And suddenly Wexford is fighting against time to find the missing boy, before he meets the same fate as poor Stella...
The fourteenth book to feature the classic crime-solving detective, Chief Inspector Wexford.
Concealed by a shroud of dirty brown velvet, looking like a heap of rags, the woman's dead body lay between a silver Escort and a dark-blue Lancia.
In the desolate shopping centre car park, Wexford has been too preoccupied to notice anything out of the ordinary - only the teenage girl in the red car, driving past him rather too fast. It was Burden who called him at home with the grim news later that evening: the woman had been attacked from behind, perhaps with a thin length of wire.
But before Wexford can delve any deeper into this curious murder, he, too, faces death... Can Burden solve this mysterious crime without the help of his worldly Chief Inspector?