Chief Inspector Wexford’s first murder case, many years ago, was an open and shut case. Ruth Rendell. The novel begins with Wexford fielding a meeting with Henry Archery, a clergyman, who wishes to discuss one of his old cases. What follows is a study of the characters involved as Archery probes deeper and their reactions to his investigations. ( Log Out / The Reverend is worried, you know, heredity and that sort of thing. A helpless old woman battered to death with an axe. Well, there’s not a lot of our hero Wexford here. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the Puzzle Doctor and In Search Of The Classic Mystery Novel with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. The rough plan is another earlyish Wexford, a later one, a couple of non series (which this one could, to be honest) and a Vine. It was very hard to see where this was going. I commented in my review of the previous novel how differing social attitudes affect a modern reading of that novel with a contemporary one and I suspect that the same is true here. That’s the plan anyway…. Certainly his presence looms large over the story but it is not his investigation and his biggest contribution is to recap the details of the crime at the heart of this story. 1 . Directed by Herbert Wise. On the list. There was never any doubt in Wexford’s mind as Painter was sent to the gallows – but someone is digging up the past. That is a problem because Rendell has made it the focus of the story and, if we look simply at the case I think the reader is likely going to feel disappointed. I think it’s safe to say that this wasn’t what I expected from a Wexford novel. Of course Chief Inspector Wexford remembered the Painter case. So I thought to start the month off by going back to the start of the Wexford series – well, book two anyway. It is the second entry in her popular Inspector Wexford series. Wexford's first ever successful murder case comes back to haunt him when a vicar starts to rake up the past. In Search Of The Classic Mystery Novel by Steven Barge is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Needless to say, Wexford is not desperately keen to dig up the past and keeps his distance. I think that a reader in 1967 was expected to feel a degree of sympathy with the attitudes of Reverend Archery at the start of the novel that a reader today may find a little harder to extend to him. So what would have put me off? Well there was, but it's not exactly the thing the Reverend opted for. 1 Jul 2010. A New Lease of Death is (from memory) a minor Wexford. I genuinely could not see a satisfying way of tying up the narrative and yet Rendell pulls it off with aplomb. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. I’d be fascinated to see how they managed the plot of thus one on the telly. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. Had the narrative concentrated more closely on those elements I suspect I would be writing a more enthusiastic review. When I reviewed the first of Ruth Rendell’s Inspector Wexford mysteries, From Doon With Death, I described it as a competent but unsurprising plot. And I shouldn’t say anything else! 2 She put an advertisement in the newspaper. Was the man hanged on Wexford's evidence actually innocent? I did appreciate Rendell’s attention to character not only for the characters we may suspect of the crime but the other more incidental figures in the case.