THE VAULT by Ruth Rendell

Book Quote:

“The real meaning of retirement had come to him the first day. When it didn’t matter what time he got up, he could stay in bed all day. He didn’t, of course. Those first days, all his interest seemed petty, not worth doing. It seemed to him that he had read all the books he wanted to read, heard all the music he wanted to hear. He thought of closing his eyes and turning his face to the wall.”

Book Review:

Review by Eleanor Bukowsky  (SEP 25, 2011)

The brilliant and prolific Ruth Rendell continues to entertain us with her latest Inspector Wexford novel, The Vault. Although he is retired and has no official standing, Wexford, the former Chief Inspector of Kingsmarkham, is delighted when Detective Superintendent Thomas Ede asks for his advice concerning a puzzling case. The scene of the crime(s) is a two-hundred year old house in London, Orcadia Cottage. The current residents are Martin and Anne Rokeby, who bought the property for one and a half million pounds. One day, Martin decides to lift a manhole cover in the “paved yard at the back of the house,” curious to know what, if anything, is down there. Little does he realize that this deed would end up “wrecking his life for a long time to come.” It seems that some unknown person or persons had hidden four dead bodies, two male and two female, in this hole in the ground, along with forty thousand pounds worth of jewelry.

Ruth Rendell has always dug beneath the surface of her characters’ lives, and this time she reveals how retirement has, in some ways, diminished Wexford. Although he loves reading, long walks, listening to music, and spending time with his family, he misses being a detective. How could he be content when “it didn’t matter what time he got up?” Fortunately, Wexford’s affluent daughter offers her parents the use of a home in London, which they happily accept. Now that Wexford and Dora have places both in London and Kingsmarkham, they have more ways to keep themselves active and entertained.

The case of the four corpses proves to be just what the doctor ordered to make Wexford feel useful and involved. He examines the evidence, helps interview witnesses, studies the autopsy reports, and uses his superb instincts, experience, and impressive intellect to help solve what turns out to be a series of complex misdeeds and misadventures. Adding to the drama, another crime is committed that hits close to home, since the victim is Wexford’s daughter.

The author’s prose style is as crisp, fluid, and succinct as anyone writing today, and she creates a rich and realistic picture of life in urban and rural London. Her descriptive writing is precise and evocative. In addition, Rendell presents us with a fascinating and varied array of characters who are compassionate, altruistic, adulterous, desperate, vicious, and predatory. The mystery is challenging, even for someone as uniquely talented as Wexford. The Vault succeeds as a character study, family drama, police procedural, and whodunit. Ruth Rendell delivers the goods, as she has done so often during her long and legendary career.

AMAZON READER RATING: from 51 readers
PUBLISHER: Scribner (September 13, 2011)
REVIEWER: Eleanor Bukowsky
AUTHOR WEBSITE: Wikipedia page on Ruth Rendell
EXTRAS: Excerpt
MORE ON MOSTLYFICTION: Read our reviews of some of Rendell’s outstanding stand-alone novels:

Read a review of the first Insp. Wexford in this long series:

and more recent:

Also, some of her books written as Barbara Vine


Inspector Wexford Mysteries:

Standalone Mysteries & Psychological Thrillers:


Movies from books:

September 25, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Character Driven, Family Matters, Mystery/Suspense, United Kingdom, y Award Winning Author

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