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The Vault: An Inspector Wexford Novel (Inspector Wexford Novels) Hardcover – September 13, 2011

126 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Easily outshines most of the competition on either side of the Atlantic.”
Publisher’s Weekly

“An undoubted tour de force likely to offer enjoyment both to readers with long memories and to those approaching it as a stand-alone.”
Kirkus Reviews

Praise for Ruth Rendell:
"Ruth Rendell is, unequivocally, the most brilliant mystery novelist of our time. Her stories are a lesson in human nature as capable of the most exotic love as it is of the cruelest murder."
—Patricia Cornwell --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Ruth Rendell (1930–2015) won three Edgar Awards, the highest accolade from Mystery Writers of America, as well as four Gold Daggers and a Diamond Dagger for outstanding contribution to the genre from England’s prestigious Crime Writ­ers’ Association. Her remarkable career spanned a half century, with more than sixty books published. A member of the House of Lords, she was one of the great literary figures of our time.

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Product Details

  • Series: Inspector Wexford Novels
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; First Edition edition (September 13, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451624085
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451624083
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (126 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #944,494 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Maine Colonial TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover
In 2009, the Telegraph newspaper reported that Ruth Rendell didn't want to write any more Inspector Wexford novels after The Monster in the Box. I had read and enjoyed all the previous books in the series and I was worried about reading The Monster in the Box, thinking that if Rendell was tired of Wexford, it might show in the book. But the book was a truly enjoyable wrap-up to the series, with Wexford tackling a case that took him back to his earliest days in the police force, and his mixed-up personal life at that time.

Though Rendell's editor denied the Telegraph report of the end of Wexford, it was still a surprise to hear this year that there would be a new Wexford novel. The Vault finds Wexford retired and splitting his time, with his wife Dora, between their longtime home in Kingsmarkham and the coach house of their actress daughter's upmarket home in London. Retirement is good for Wexford's physical health, as he spends hours a day taking long walks in the city, but he finds himself at loose ends without his detective work. He's relieved when Tom Ede of London's Metropolitan Police, an old acquaintance, asks him to provide consulting assistance in the investigation of four long-dead bodies found down an ancient coal-hole on the grounds of a fine house in quiet St. John's Wood.

The Vault is a sequel of sorts to one of Rendell's non-Wexford suspense novels, A Sight for Sore Eyes. There is no need to have read A Sight for Sore Eyes to follow The Vault, but it adds interest. And added interest is a good thing to have in this case. The Vault is not a bad book, but it lacks sparkle, is sometimes plodding and just not quite up to Rendell's usual standard.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By sb-lynn TOP 500 REVIEWER on September 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Brief summary and review, no spoilers.

Inspector Wexford has (finally) retired and he and his wife Dora are spending some time in London at their daughter Sylvia's second home. But the good inspector doesn't have too much time on his hands when a Detective Superintendent named Tom Ede asks Wexford for some help on a perplexing case.

The case is this - four bodies are found in a coal hole at an expensive home in a nice part of London. Two men and one woman appear to have been placed in that hole many years before, but one of the victims, a young woman, has only been placed there withint the last couple of years. One of the things confusing the detectives is why (and when) a staircase leading to the hole from the house was sealed over yet the only access, a manhole cover outside, remained intact. Also puzzling is the fact that expensive jewelry is found in one of the men's pocket.

Add into the mix are some personal problems between Sylvia and her parents (no surprise there, and a secret of Sylvia's that comes to light with bad repercussions.

I have to admit that the Wexford series is my least favorite of the Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine mysteries. They are usually a real hit or miss to me.

When I first started this story I thought it was going to be a "miss" because I found I couldn't get a rapport going with any of the assorted characters (other than Wexfor and family.) It seemed like a lot of names came from that past and it was a little confusing and I wasn't turning the pages quickly the way I do a normal Ruth Rendell novel. BUT, around a third through the book it really kicked in for me, and it turned out to be one of the better Wexford books for me. There are clues and interesting characters, and I enjoyed the denouement.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Dirk Sinnewe on October 4, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have read a good deal of Ruth Rendell's work, including a great number of her Inspector Wexford whodunnits. So far I have always enjoyed reading her books, which is why I was all the more disappointed with this one. Basically, the story of The Vault deals with two issues: the fact that Wexford is now retired and how he is coping with that and secondly there is the murder mystery of who has put four dead bodies over a course of time in a manhole. I won't tell you more about the story, since you still might wish to read it for yourself. There are, however, a number of issues which taken together have spoilt the reading experience for me:

First, there seems to be a major problem with the proof-reading department at Random House, which could explain the numerous typos and some of the more obvious mistakes such as the "...gaudy flyovers that came through the coach house letter box everyday" or the miraculous name change of Burden to Burton. This, however, is not a major problem; after all, famous Virginia Woolf also fiddled around with the names of her characters, sometimes changing them intentionally, sometimes unintentionally.

Second, the reason I so much like the Wexford novels is that Wexford somehow epitomizes an, albeit romanticized, contrast between rural/quaint and modern/metropolitan England. I rather like his old-fashioned attitude, especially when it comes to language use. One of Rendell's frequent phrases that she lets Wexford use is "if that was the word." With these words Rendell probably wants to show that Wexford is critical of what he considers to be a fashionable and sloppy use of language. Thus he is frequently portrayed as slightly out of touch with our modern world. What in most of the Wexford stories seems credible, however, does not work in this one.
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