Monday, November 12, 2018

CHOP IT UP: From Doon with Death by Ruth Rendell

A shy and introverted housewife named Margaret Parsons has disappeared. One day she walked out of her Kingsmarkham, Sussex home–never to return. Her distraught husbands waste zero time seeking help from a neighboring detective. And alongside this detective comes his partner, Chief Inspector Wexford. Then Margaret’s body turns up, murdered by strangulation and abandoned near local farmland.

Who in the world could have committed such a crime? Was it personal? Was it random? Was there something dark in Margaret’s past catching up with her in the now? How could something so horrible happen to this quiet housewife? One who indulges herself in gardening and caring for her husband? Or could it be the husband who is responsible?

Regardless, Inspector Wexford looks closer into Margaret’s past. Trusting this will bring answers to her murder. And it does as a collection of rare books inscribed by an unknown lover points to the culprit.

Finally, after years, I’ve read my first Ruth Rendell book. I can say–while I wasn’t surprised at the resolution of From Doon with Death–I’m happy to continue with more Rendell. She’s a staple in the field (an understated statement). So, yeah. She’s a must.
Anyway, From Doon with Death was a rather thin, quick and easy read. I don’t know if that was because it’s the first book in the Inspector Wexford series–dating back to the 1960s. Or because many of the characters, especially that of Wexford, came across as sketches. Though I will say the potential for further development is definitely there.
Even so, what was great was the psychological edge that some of the characters held. The dislodging of relationships, while seeking solace in the arms of another, provided great psychological tension. You never quite know the lengths a character will go to protect him or herself and secrets. So the avenues for a motive to murder were aplenty. Added to that, I loved the struggle of sexual identity spoken of in the book. It was interesting in regard to the time the book was written.
Anyway, I’m ready for more.

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