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Some Lie and Some Die (1973)

by Ruth Rendell

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Inspector Wexford (8)

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6251537,712 (3.55)20
When the body of a brutally beaten girl is found in a quarry during a hedonistic hippy festival near Kingsmarkham, Wexford is first on the scene. The victim's face has been pulped by the back-end of a bottle, but who, in this atmosphere of peace and love, could be capable of such violence?The body is that of local girl turned stripper Dawn Stonor, but it is the unlikely link between this ill-fated girl and the mysterious folk-singer Zeno Vedast that piques Wexford's interest.Through an intricate web of lies and deceit, Wexford uncovers a history of love and hate that began years earlier. In all his years of police work, he has never been faced with a crime of such desperate passion.… (more)
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English (13)  Spanish (2)  All languages (15)
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
A typical hippie-ish music festival and a girl found beaten to death lead to a lot of questions for inhabitants of the village. The usual cranky older people comment on the goings-on, but they are not central to the questions. ( )
  ffortsa | Sep 30, 2023 |
A slow moving pedestrian book.
Good character development. ( )
  GeoffSC | Aug 20, 2023 |
Rock Murder
Review of the Arrow Books/Cornerstone Digital Kindle eBook edition (2010) of the original Hutchinson hardcover (1973)

Wexford made the noise the Victorians wrote as ‘Pshaw!’ ‘Just because you’re so bloody virtuous it doesn’t mean there aren’t going to be any more cakes and ale.

Wexford quoted softly, ‘“What need we fear who knows it when none can call our power to account?”’
- Inspector Wexford quotes from Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night’ and ‘Macbeth’.


This continues my 2023 binge read / re-read of Ruth Rendell (aka Barbara Vine) and this is the 8th of the Chief Inspector Wexford series. Some Lie and Some Die starts off at an early 1970s Rock Festival where a woman's body is found in the vicinity. The formidable prospect of 80,000 suspects and their screening is soon dispelled though as forensics determine that the death occurred prior to the actual music event.

See cover at https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/f/f0/SomeLieAndSomeDie.jpg
Cover image for the original Hutchinson hardcover edition from 1973. Image sourced from Wikipedia.

There are still enough suspects due to the location of the body in a local quarry for which only certain buildings had immediate access. Soon the investigation centres on a rock star named Zeno Vedast and his sycophants. Vedast is revealed to be the stage name of someone who grew up in the area and who may have a hidden past connection with the victim. Wexford and Burden bring the case to a conclusion where it seems not all the culprits are sufficiently brought to justice. That downbeat ending made this to be a 3 star rating, compared to most Rendells which are 4s and 5s.

A favourite passage in the book has Wexford and Burden's son John reviewing the new names of the months invented during the French Revolution in order to remove all traces of royalty and religion:
You’re supposed to start with September. Let’s see . . . Vendemiaire, Brumaire, Frimaire; Nivose, Pluviose, Ventose; then Germinal like Zola’s book, Floreal and Prairial; Messidor, Thermidor and—wait . . .’ ‘Fructidor!’ exclaimed John. Wexford chuckled. ‘You might care to know the contemporary and rather scathing English translation: Wheezy, Sneezy, Freezy; Slippy, Drippy, Nippy; Showery, Flowery, Bowery; Wheaty, Heaty, Sweety.


Trivia and Links
Some Lie and Some Die was adapted for television as part of the Ruth Rendell / Inspector Wexford Mysteries TV series (1987-2000) as Series 4 Episodes 1 to 3 in 1990 with actor George Baker as Chief Inspector Wexford. You can watch the entire 3 episodes on YouTube here. ( )
  alanteder | Mar 4, 2023 |
Not my favorite Wexford, but since all the “mature” Wexfords are so far above the standard police procedural I can’t bear to award less than 4 stars.

This book suffers, not surprisingly, from being tied to a specific time and subculture - a counterculture rock festival. It’s pretty hard for a single book in a series that ranges over an extended period of time, and which is anchored primarily in the “main” culture, to age well if the focus is on a transient subculture. No matter how good the plot and well defined the characters, it ends up seeming dated.

But as always, I found myself eagerly making my way to the end. Rendell is the real deal. ( )
  BarbKBooks | Aug 15, 2022 |
A thoroughly satisfying whodunit ( )
  whatmeworry | Apr 9, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rendell, Ruthprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Anthony, NigelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dallatorre, MarcellaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hendriks, TejoCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Henning, Annsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
iStockPhotoCover photosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tanner, UteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my son, Simon Rendell, who goes to festivals, and my cousin, Michael Richards, who wrote the song, This book is dedicated with love and gratitude.
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"But why here? Why do they have to come here?"
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

When the body of a brutally beaten girl is found in a quarry during a hedonistic hippy festival near Kingsmarkham, Wexford is first on the scene. The victim's face has been pulped by the back-end of a bottle, but who, in this atmosphere of peace and love, could be capable of such violence?The body is that of local girl turned stripper Dawn Stonor, but it is the unlikely link between this ill-fated girl and the mysterious folk-singer Zeno Vedast that piques Wexford's interest.Through an intricate web of lies and deceit, Wexford uncovers a history of love and hate that began years earlier. In all his years of police work, he has never been faced with a crime of such desperate passion.

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