by Ruth Rendell
Category: Crime, Mystery & Thrillers / Crime & Mysteries
Publication date: 3 July 2003
Number of pages: 416
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...
Hurrah for Ruth Rendell - this Chief Inspector Wexford novel is as gripping as ever and thriller fans everywhere will want a copy. The innocence of children and society's need to be vigilant to protect this innocence, sometimes even from family and friends, is an all-too-familiar struggle in modern society. Consequently the title of this book alone ensures the reader is anxious from page one. In fact, it's two teenagers and their tutor who have gone missing, and rising flood levels due to incessant rain are only surpassed by their mother's hysteria. The Subaqua Task Force is brought in and everyone fears the worst. But, as Wexford gets to work, it turns out that where and why these children are missing are just two of a number of mysteries in the book. A dysfunctional family, violence against women, a fanatical religious cult, possible child abuse - all these are offered to the reader and it's a satisfying challenge to join the Chief Inspector as he sifts through the layers of evidence and suspicion. In the character of Wexford, Rendell has created an individual and viewpoint with which readers of all ages can identify, and which serves to keep us on the straight and narrow as she distorts the apparently familiar world around us. His family has its own problems, and in this book some of violence of crime is brought right to his own door. But we are always in safe hands with him, so this latest excursion into sinister realms can and will be enjoyed by even the most nervous of readers. (Kirkus UK)
What the papers say:
"Chief Inspector Wexford is Rendell's most enduring and best creation" Daily Telegraph "As usual, Rendell mirrors aspects of the case in the leading characters' personal lives and her cleverly understated writing bathes them and their actions in a glow of reality that sets her writing above that of her many imitators." Time Out "As always with Ruth Rendell's intricately thought-out novels, nothing is as simple as it seems." Sunday Express "Superb plotting and psychological insight make this another Rendell gripper" Woman & Home "Utterly absorbing" Sunday Telegraph
Ruth Rendell has won many awards, including the Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger for 1976's best crime novel with A Demon in My View; a second Edgar in 1984 from the Mystery Writers of America for the best short story, 'The New Girl Friend'; and a Gold Dagger award for Live Flesh in 1986. She was also the winner of the 1990 Sunday Times Literary award, as well as the Crime Writers' Association Cartier Diamond Dagger. In 1996 she was awarded the CBE and in 1997 became a Life Peer.
In Stock: 29 copies