- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 8 hours and 43 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Books on Tape
- Audible.com Release Date: August 29, 2008
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B001FVJH4I
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Not in the Flesh: A Wexford Novel Audible – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
The worst Ruth Rendell is better than the best of many of her contemporaries (P.D. James excepted) and this above-average Wexford mystery is a very nicely done book. It has a Christie-ish feel to it and that's not a bad thing. In fact, English country murders are a wonderful tradition and I'm glad to see this one come along. It starts and ends with a truffle-sniffing dog, which is an education unto itself, and progresses along a path that takes us into the company and homes of some of the best and worst people you can expect in an English country village. Two bodies, two murders, possibly related but possibly years apart are at the heart of the book and there is an especially tough subplot where Wexford becomes acquainted with female genital mutilation as a cultural practice carried over by African immigrants.
Rendell has done her homework here and does not flinch as she takes on this most difficult of subjects. This isn't a wonderful Rendell but it is a very good read and a genuine education in the process. Sometimes that is plenty enough. And oh, by the way, I just found out that a Barbara Vine book entitled The Birthday Present is due out later this year. Can't wait!
This being Ruth Rendell all of this manic plotting is done with more success and aplomb than others could do it, but her style isn't as elegant and as brilliant as in her other books. Perhaps she has grown sick of dull, old Wexford. He's a much more gentlemanly detective than Ian Rankin, for example, has dreamed up in Rebus.
So many witnesses interviewed, and so many of the witnesses have detailed memories that are astounding. There are two seemingly unrelated murders. One goes back eight years, one eleven years so the forensics people here are dealing with skeletal remains.
Wexford's wife Dora actually does helpful things in this book rather than serve as the cardboard cutout spouse seen in some earlier books. The team of detectives are not clearly delineated; Peter Robinson in his procedurals gives us fuller portraits.
In several of the many, many interviews, Wexford doesn't ask a crucial question; he and Rendell are saving it for later. Red herrings, like pennies from heaven, rain down all over the narrative landscape.
When she finally gets to her denouement, it seems to make a kind of sense which doesn't quite flow out of a lot of the nonsensical story plotting that has preceded it.
Perhaps it's time for Inspector Wexford to step down and get a computer-savvy guy in there.