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Kissing the Gunner's Daughter…

Kissing the Gunner's Daughter (Inspector Wexford Mysteries) (original 1992; edition 1993)

by Ruth Rendell

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6861122,067 (3.68)16
Called to Tancred House, to a scene of ghastly carnage, Chief Inspector Wexford must bring his considerable detective skills to bear on a case with no witnesses, two suspects who have vanished into thin air, conflicting clues, and a kaleidoscope of motives.
Title:Kissing the Gunner's Daughter (Inspector Wexford Mysteries)
Authors:Ruth Rendell
Info:Arrow Books (1993), Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:To read

Work details

Kissing the Gunner's Daughter by Ruth Rendell (1992)

  1. 00
    The Killing Doll by Ruth Rendell (cometahalley)
    cometahalley: Intensità nello scrutare le profondità della mente umana, le perversioni e le devianze.

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
3.5 Stars This book was just slow for me for some reason. I had a hard time concentrating. It was just boring. Im not sure why?? ( )
  EmpressReece | Aug 22, 2016 |
Nothing like a good mystery for a fast read — blocks everything out in my mind — nothing to relate to!

The thirteenth of May is famously the unluckiest day of the year. Sergeant Caleb Martin of Kingsmarkham CID had no idea just how terminally unlucky it would prove, as he embarked upon his last day on earth...Ten months later, Wexford is confronted with a murder scene of horrific brutality. At first the bloodbath at Tancred House looks like the desperate work of a burglar panicked into murder. The sole survivor of the massacre, seventeen-year-old Daisy Flory, remembers the events imperfectly, and her confused account of the fatal night seems to confirm this theory. But more and more, Chief Inspector Wexford is convinced that the crime lies closer to home, and that it has sinister links to the murder of Sergeant Martin...
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  christinejoseph | Jul 19, 2016 |
In Kissing the Gunner's Daughter, long-time supporting character Sergeant Martin gets a first name. His adventure in chapter one might have been the author's argument against arming British police officers. I feel very sorry for his young son.

There's a new addition to the Kingsmarkham police force: Detective Barry Vine (named for Ms. Rendell's nom de plume, Barbara Vine?). He's a good man and Wexford appreciates his work. Does that make up for the fact that Reg is again stuck with the pathologist he doesn't want around instead of the one he respects?

Dr. Basil Sumner-Quist doesn't even come close to vexing Reg as much as his favorite daughter, Sheila. Another book that came out the same year as this book was Maybe He's Just a Jerk by Carol Rosen. It would have been a suitable gift for Sheila, especially with a bookmark in the right chapter. Reg would have had to send it anonymously. Sheila won't hear a word against her new man. Dora has more patience with writer Augustine Carey than Reg has. Perhaps she would be as apprehensive for their daughter as her husband is if she'd read the book. Besides setting off jerk alarm bells, Sheila's new love struck me as an 'Emperor's New Clothes' author: praised because critics and readers are afraid to admit they don't understand his books. I suspect that's because they're rubbish.

Another writer has been murdered, along with her husband and daughter. The granddaughter manages to make it to the phone and get help in time to avoid bleeding to death.

It's a frustrating case. The employees' houses are too far away from the main house for them to have heard the gunshots. All the houses are in a wood that combines new growth with ancient. Daisy, as the granddaughter is called, gives a description of the masked man who shot her. It resembles one of the few suspects, a respectable young man.

As usual, there are more than enough false trails Wexford and the readers get led down. Two persons were responsible for that bloody night. One of them was easy to figure out, but the other took me by surprise.

I wish that Ms. Rendell had bothered to include Sylvia's married surname in this book. Her husband and father-in-law have cameo roles, so there was opportunity for that. (If it was mentioned in one of the earlier books, I don't remember.)

The descriptions of Tancred House, where the murders take place, and the surrounding Cheriton forest are beautiful -- aside from the actual murders. Squeamish readers would probably have preferred less details there.

I'm afraid we have to wait until chapter 27 to find out where the title comes from, but it's an interesting expression. ( )
  JalenV | May 27, 2015 |

Reg Wexford (described pompously on the cover of the US edition as "Inspector Reginald Wexford", f'r gawd's sake, as if they were hoping to make you think he was another goddam Brit cop-with-a-knighthood, or at least an "Hon" to put to his name) has to tackle one of the goriest cases of his career, when an internationally renowned local author has her head blown apart by a gunman or gunmen who also slay her husband and daughter; only her granddaughter Daisy survives. Doing his usual bluff best to tread the path of goodness while yet solving the crime as efficiently as possible, and trying to cope at the same time with his increasing estrangement from his daughter over her latest disastrous choice of lovers, Reg Wexford pushes aside countless red herrings until finally the solution becomes obvious. I got there a little ahead of him, in fact, which means either that I am Very Very Clever or that, years ago, I saw the British TV adaptation (with the great George Baker), even though I have no memory of having done so. It's ironic that, Rendell having made her name with the Wexford books, these now seem among the lesser of her books; at the same time, they can sometimes, depending upon my mood, seem more approachable than her psychological thrillers. I enjoyed this one more than the past few Wexfords I've read.
( )
  JohnGrant1 | Aug 11, 2013 |
Our story opens with two chapters that may be considered a prologue. By an inconsequential series of events, a bank robbery goes bad and a policeman is killed.

Chapter 3 opens eight months later with the very bold murder of a family and the severe wounding of the youngest family member. Celebrity author and general pain Davina Flory, her husband, former M.P. Harvey Copeland, and her daughter Naomi ahve been fatally shot, while graddaughter Daisy has been seriously wounded.

Who wanted to kill this family, and why? What is the connection, if any, between the bank robbery and the "Tancred Massacre"?

As always, author Rendell uses Inspector Wexford's intelligence and sensitivity to explore the hidden emotions driving the action. This is a serious and well-done character study. ( )
  bohemima | Jun 5, 2012 |
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» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rendell, Ruthprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brinis, HiliaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Meyer, Jackie MerriCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Odom, MelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Probst, KenAuthor photosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In memory of Eleanor Sullivan,
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The thirteenth of May is the unluckiest day of the year. Things will be infinitely worse if it happens to fall on a Friday.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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