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Best Man to Die (Chief Inspector Wexford…

Best Man to Die (Chief Inspector Wexford Mysteries) (original 1969; edition 1987)

by Ruth Rendell

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421None25,026 (3.64)11
Title:Best Man to Die (Chief Inspector Wexford Mysteries)
Authors:Ruth Rendell
Info:Arrow Books
Collections:Your library, Have Read
Tags:800 LITERATURE: FICTION, Novel, Mystery, British, Inspector Wexford

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The Best Man to Die by Ruth Rendell (1969)

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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
As usual, I enjoyed this police procedural featuring Inspector Wexford -- I've read nearly all of them. I prefer these to her more literary psychological thrillers (some published as Barbara Vine); one can certainly see the same artistry at work in both types of books. ( )
  auntieknickers | Jun 8, 2013 |
This was my first Rendell book, and it was great. I love her characters and it was fun reading her descriptions of England in the late 1960s. She reminds me of Agatha Christie, and that's always a good thing! ( )
  MsGumby | Apr 27, 2013 |
An early Wexford. Viewing and listening to Rendell's works is a different experience than reading them. Glad that I am finally doing the latter. Certainly Wexford is much different here than I had imagined him. I am not sure I like him as much as I did in the later books but still The Best Man to Die managed to keep my interest throughout. ( )
  ebeach | Nov 16, 2012 |
Not my cup of tea. Never was able to get into it, perhaps try another of her books some day because I may just have not been in the right space for it.

Like Agatha Christy with violence, not a noir tail. ( )
  jayacarl | May 13, 2012 |
I'm never quite sure whether I have read an earlier Wexford or not. With 23 titles in the series I guess I can be forgiven. Anyway, I have no memory of this story.

I was taken by the description of Wexford in the early pages, because it is so unlike my George Baker (TV) image. I've never thought of Reg Wexford as ugly.

All he needed, he sometimes thought, was a trunk to make him look exactly like an elephant. His body was huge and ponderous, his skin pachydermatous, wrinkled and grey, and his three-cornered ears stuck out absurdly under the sparse fringe of colourless hair. When he went to the zoo he passed the elephant house quickly lest some irreverent onlooker should make comparisons.

This is early in the Wexford series and I think Ruth Rendell is still finding her way, establishing her style. There are passages in THE BEST MAN TO DIE that are a bit floral, over-descriptive, and she still hasn't got to that economy of words that characterises her later books. There's a wry humour though, and what will become a typical ambiguity in the meaning of the title.

Wexford is in his fifties, and already working with Mike Burden. His elder daughter is married and his younger one living at home, still happy to pass her dental bills and other responsibilities on to Pop. There are nice snippets of the tensions of family life.

A lift is installed in the Kingsmarkham police station and Wexford, ever mistrustful of new gadgets, and very conscious of his weight, is of course in it on his own when it gets stuck between floors. Two hours in an airless lift nearly cuts short his career, but typically he sits on the floor and comes up with the solution to the crime.

In this novel Rendell seems to be toying with the idea of expanding the detective duo. Wexford's doctor, Dr. Crocker is a childhood friend, although six years his junior, and Wexford makes use of him a couple of times. I don't remember Crocker having much of a role in other books.

Altogether a nice read, proving for me that the early Rendell novels still have great appeal. ( )
  smik | Mar 7, 2012 |
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» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ruth Rendellprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Usellini, LuciaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Jack Pertwee was getting married in the morning and the Kingsmarkham and District Darts Club were in the Dragon to give him what George Carter called a send-off.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345345304, Mass Market Paperback)

Who could have suspected that the exciting stag party for the groom would be the prelude to the murder of his close friend Charlie Hatton? And Charlie's death was only the first in a string of puzzling murders involving small-time gangsters, cheating husbands, and loose women. Now Chief Inspector Wexford and his assistant join forces with the groom to track down a killer . . .

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:28:15 -0400)

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Who could have suspected that the exciting stag party for the groom would be a prelude to the murder of his close friend Charlie Hatton? But it was - and Charlie's death sentence was only the first in a string of puzzling murders involving small-time gangsters, cheating husbands, and loose women.… (more)

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