- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 9 hours and 36 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Phoenix Books
- Audible.com Release Date: November 25, 2009
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B002YQ9N2E
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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The Monster in the Box: An Inspector Wexford Novel Audible – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
Along the way, we are given a delightful excursion into Wexford's personal past, revealing how he met and married Dora. And we are treated to the usual odd mix of characters, presented with Rendell's usual subtlety. We also have the usual socially-relevant subplot, again involving Asians and the hyper-politically-correct DC Goldsmith. I found the ending a little disappointing (after all that buildup, I hoped for more of a ahocker) but all in all this is another great read.
This one, however, takes a different tact, a drastic turn, in her approach to one of most cerebral series of the genre. Here, with her always sensitive and sensible direction, Rendell's narrative takes us back in time, to the time when Wexford is just beginning his career as a police detective. First, this flashback technique provides us with some interesting biographical material of Wexford--what he was like back then, his personal life, his desire to become a great policeman, one of intellect and wisdom. As a young policeman, he spent much of his time studying "Sometimes he went out to the pub in the evenings...but mostly he stayed in and read. Public libraries were in their heyday then...(with) lots and lots of good books. He read them, poetry, and plays and novels. Worlds opened for him, and far from distracting him from his duties, they seemed to make him a better policeman."
This first case, however, has resided with him for all these years. Outside the house where Wexford was investigating his first murder case (a woman found strangled in her bedroom), he notices "a short, muscular man wearing a scarf and walking a dog. He gave Wexford an unnerving stare." And with nothing but "a feeling," Wexford is convinced this man, Eric Targo, is the murderer. Alas, nothing is proved and the case basically remains unsolved. Still, many years later, Wexford continues to sense Targo's presence (literally and figuratively). Targo moves on and now years later, he's back in Kingsmarkham and Wexford's sensibilities (and his belief) are rekindled. And murders begin to happen. Along with his doubting able assistant Mike Burden, Wexford "plods" along, waiting and hoping for just the right clue to drop.
In addition to the main element of the novel, Rendell's penchant for subplots continues. Social significance has long been a trait of Rendell's works and her last few books have dealt strongly with women's issues, racial issues, and cultural issues. (Dame Rendell is a member of the House of Lords and holds strong personal views here.)
In "Monster," one of Wexford's assistants, a very socially correct officer, fears that a local Pakistani girl is about to be forced into an arranged marriage. "Wexford's experience had taught him what deep waters one struggles to swin in when plunging into the traditions of another culture." Wexford has his hands full, but even an escaped lion, which "terrorized" the neighborhood for a while, doesn't deter him from his primary objective: to prove that Targo is the murderer.
Whether or not there are upcoming Wexfords remains to be seen, but the 22 books have all been well worth the time spent. From "From Doon with Death," the first Wexford installment, readers have not been disappointed. In addition, Rendell writes under the name of Barbara Vine, departing from the police procedural to enter into the more psychological thriller genre, also worth the time.