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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In fact, I never thought of myself as Wexford when I was writing, although I don’t suppose anyone is as well qualified as me—apart from Ruth herself—to know how Wexford thinks by now. A good read that is written in an old fashioned style that introduces the main characters and sets up the series.

Although a fairly short novel, it is filled with intrigue as Wexford and Burden investigate the murder of a seemingly friendless, quiet wife named Margaret Parsons. What I mean is that having read other Inspector Wexford books, I know that the author takes time to more fully develop Wexford's character as the series progresses. I was about 2/3 through, thinking it was well written, interesting, but not yet sensing it was truly special. Although the identity of the victim's lover "Doon" would not be much of a surprise to the 21st century reader, at the time of its release it was considered ground-breaking and daring, and this novel immediately garnered Rendell international critical attention.Rendell hangs a lot of the narrative on the question of Doon’s identity, revealing something of that person’s personality to the reader in the form of short excerpts from letters that they had written to Minna as caps to the chapters. But good awkward because the book is a snapshot of its time and it’s nice to see how society has changed. 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. One of my strongest memories growing up was my mother’s stack of Ruth Rendell and Colin Dexter novels, one of which always seemed to be on hand for those sorts of occasions in which you were stuck in a waiting room. Whether the reader is surprised by where the novel goes, I think the appeal of the book is in the very competent execution of those ideas.

Margaret Parsons appears to have no enemies and seems to live a quiet life with very little excitement. The humanity of Wexford shows not only his impatience when his time is wasted but also his compassion while still following the letter of the law. It seemed grimmer and more adult than the Christies and Chestertons I was used to, and the twist surprised me.The Kindle editions of this book appear to be completely muddled on GR, so I've used the 50th Anniversary paperback as a proxy.

Which brings us back to Margaret, our apparently boring, somewhat religious, utterly unremarkable victim. He is not flashy and has no particular character tics, at least in this novel, that would distinguish him from detectives in scores of other procedurals yet I appreciated his matter of fact attitude toward the case. One of my favourite books is A Sight for Sore Eyes, a standalone by Ruth Rendell, a mystery where she masterfully took a few storylines that ultimately converged. 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.The husband describes their banal marriage and life, full of routine and absent of extravagances, as proof that her being missing is a big concern. There is very little for Wexford to go on but for a discarded match and an inscription on some of Margaret's books signed 'Doon'. This time through I've noticed much more than I did the first time -- back then I think I was looking much more for plot and storyline, where now I'm tending to focus more on people and what makes them do what they do. Read all Margaret Parsons, a fairly ordinary housewife who, with her water board official husband Ron, has recently moved to Kingsmarkham, is found murdered in a field. Given that those starred one of my favorite actors, George Baker, I am not sure quite how I have achieved that.

Since this was the initial novel featuring Inspector Wexford, I suspect that as her series expanded, her detective grew more interesting to readers. The mystery itself was a bit obvious, but it was fun watching the detectives reach the conclusion that Rendell blatantly gave to the reader pretty early on. Wexford brings a somewhat cold, calm, matter-of-factness to the investigation and that prohibited me from bonding with his character in any way. Her characters--even the good-guy cops--are conflicted, flawed, stubborn, and utterly human, and her genre fiction is the best of its kind.I have watched many shows on Acorn TV of British detectives and Wexford reminds me of many that I appreciate not only for the exploration of the criminal mind but also of human psychology all against the backdrop of diverse socioeconomic topics so if opportunity presents I know that I will continue reading this series or watch some of the stories that were adapted for TV. To Wexford, it simply does not make sense, until he begins to slowly uncover the layers of Margaret Parsons' real life.



  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
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