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Best Man to Die (Chief Inspector Wexford Mysteries) Mass Market Paperback – May 12, 1987


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Frequently Bought Together

Best Man to Die (Chief Inspector Wexford Mysteries) + A Guilty Thing Surprised (Chief Inspector Wexford Mysteries) + Sins of the Fathers (Chief Inspector Wexford Mysteries, No. 2)
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Product Details

  • Series: Chief Inspector Wexford Mysteries
  • Mass Market Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Fawcett (May 12, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780345345301
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345345301
  • ASIN: 0345345304
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #131,728 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Ruth Rendell has quite simply transformed the genre of crime writing. She displays her peerless skill in blending the mundane, commonplace aspects of life with the potent murky impulses of desire and greed, obsession and fear Sunday Times Rendell never fails to come up trumps, and her millions of admirers will eagerly consume this offering as they have all the others. The Irish Times This is Rendell on cracking form, with the entire accoutrements one expects from her. The Good Book Guide A firm grasp of social concerns ensure that her novels are reflective of our own times, as well as hugely absorbing. The Times One of the best novelists writing today P.D. James It's not often you pick up a book where the plot is technically perfect, where the characters all come off the page perfectly formed and the writing is so good that it's impossible to spot an unnecessary word, but which still managed to be a damn good story. I was still reading at 2 o'clock this morning... TheBookbag.co.uk Psychologically acute and extremely disturbing, Ruth Rendell's work is outstanding. The Times [Wexford] has become an old friend who gets better with age. The Herald --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

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 . . .

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By John F. Rooney VINE VOICE on August 13, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ruth Rendell has twenty Detective Chief Inspector Wexford crime novels in her arsenal, and this was number four in the series. Wexford is a big, heavy man, not particularly good looking, happily married, who has one plain Jane daughter and a stunning one who is a famous stage actress. Rendell never really brings the wife to life; she's just there. Wexford is a conventional guy, not a boozer like many British police detectives. He spars with his sidekick, the prosaic Inspector Burden.
This mystery is built around the intense friendship between two working class men. One of them is a dodgy little lorry driver who has too much money for a man in his pay grade. Two police cases intersect: one is a murder and the other a highway accident with fatalities. Wexford goes about the job of interviewing witnesses thinking, "If only they knew that to him their revelations were but bricks in the house he was trying to build, rungs on the ladder of discovery..."
If you're alert, you can figure out fairly early on who the murderer is and what the connection is between the two cases. It's a well-told tale with insights into British life and the class system. Rendell keeps your interest with some flinty characters, interesting details embedded in the story, and a vivid town setting. Her characters often are unlikable, but there is a feeling of reality that comes across. These aren't stick figures or stereotypes--now if only she could breathe life and personality into Wexford's spouse. Not the best of the Wexford series in subtlety and grace, but with a few flashes of humor, it does nicely as an introduction to the series.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Nancy Trease on February 9, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This particular Rendell mystery is loveable for its credible character development and Rendell's unique ability to convey life in the English countryside. If, like me, you have followed every detail in the life of Wexford and his sidekick Burden you shouldn't miss this one. The plot is classic Rendell: complexity with credibility and writing as smooth as silk. She's so easy to read you may overlook her expertise. One of the best living authors and thankfully prolific!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By RachelWalker on March 17, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
As I'm lazy, I'm just going to copy out the official blurb (plus, I can't say it any better):
Jack Pertwee was getting married in the morning.
Charlie Hatton drove his lorry eleven hours down from Leeds just to be there. Charlie was Jack's best friend and he would be his best man. When the two parted at the Kingsbrook bridge, jack felt as though his life was just beginning. But for Charlie Hatton, life was about to end.
Detective Chief Inspector Wexford wondered why the fatal Fanshawe car accident kept upsetting his concentration on the Hatton murder. There couldn't be a connection. Fanshawe had been a wealthy stockbroker, Charlie Hatton a cocky little lorry driver with some illegal dealing.
But was it just a coincidence that Hatton had been killed on the day following that of Mrs Fanshawe's regaining consciousness?
On first read, several years ago when I was about 12, this book didn't strike me as one of the greatest Wexford's. On re-reading it, my estimation is much, much improved. The Best Man to Die is another excellent Wexford novel from Rendell's early period. It doesn't have the wonderful, vicious darkness of Wolf to the Slaughter or the unique quality of Some Lie or Some Die, but it remains a very very excellent and clever mystery that will likely confound even the most practiced of crime-fiction readers. It did me, even though I had read it before! I could remember, just about, who, but for the life of me I had no idea why, until Rendell revealed all in one of those excellent last-revelation chapters that she does so so well.
At this point in the series, neither Wexford nor Burden had begun to fully develop quite yet; primarily these early books are plot novels and character foible novels.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Cindy on October 19, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I feel the "New Release " way this book was advertised was deceptive...Ruth Rendell is one of my favorite authors so I jumped on this one and ordered in advance of the release date. I really looked forward to reading a new one only to find out I'd read it AGES ago. So, lesson learned, open the book to the copywrite page! I do wish ALL copywrite dates were clearly noted. Otherwise, Ruth Rendell is great!
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 10, 1999
Format: Audio Cassette
This was the fourth or fifth Wexford book that I have read and it certainly lived up to expectations - nothing too thought provoking but a typical well-crafted Ruth Rendall detective story. The characterization was again standard fare with characatures rather than substance but there is only so much one can cram into 150-odd pages. However, the plot moves along with some pace and unless one thinks too hard about "who did it", in which case like me you'll probably guess who did do it, the book is a great way to while away two or three spare hours.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jonie on May 26, 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I read voraciously and Rendell is one of the top British writers for me.
I have read so much of the U.S. that I have turned to British as all of
her British mysteries are on my reading list. I highly recommend them
as the writing of the characters, settings, periods and happenings
are as if you were right there! Keep reading! You'll love it!
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