- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 6 hours and 43 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
- Audible.com Release Date: April 15, 2011
- Language: English
- ASIN: B004WOZM4O
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Shake Hands Forever Audible – Unabridged
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Wexford is complex, flawed and true to life. He is dogged and intuitive, seeing every case to the end, even if it takes over a year to solve as 'Shake Hands Forever' does.
This one wasn't my favourite of her Wexford mysteries, since the killer's identity was no surprise, although it seems to be for others, and for other reasons, but no matter the book, Rendell's writing is a pure joy to read.
I highly recommend this to those who enjoy British village mysteries and / or police procedurals at their absolute best. For sheer delight, no one really compares to Agatha, but Rendell is peerless in her time. Highly recommended.
In this novel, Wexford believes he knows who the murderer is almost from the very start of his investigation. The only problem, though, is that nobody else shares his conviction that the person in question is guilty. The suspect has an unshakeable alibi and isn't averse to complaining to Wexford's authorities that he is being persecuted unjustly by Wexford. As a result, Wexford has to stop the official inquiry into this murder. When he finds out that the person he suspects is about to emigrate to another country, Wexford becomes obsessed with bringing his suspect to justice before the day of the departure.
We get to see Wexford in a situation where the power to conduct an investigation is stripped away from him. Nobody except his nephew Howard shares his conviction in the suspect's guilt and is willing to help. Wexford goes to extreme length to bring the suspected murderer to justice. In many of Rendell's novels we read masterful psychological descriptions of various characters falling apart or coming to the brink of insanity. In SHAKE HANDS FOREVER, Wexford is the person who goes through that process. It's fascinating to observe a character who is known so well by the fans of the series gradually lose his calm self-assurance and all of the values he has lived by his entire life. This is the dark side of Wexford that even the hardcore lovers of these series will find quite unexpected.
I wouldn't suggest this as the first Inspector Wexford mystery to read. Unless you are pretty familiar with the series, I believe this novel will leave you cold and wondering why so many people go crazy about Ruth Rendell.
A couple of words need to be added about the Kindle edition of this book. It saddens me to report that the Kindle version of this novel is extremely poor and is plagued with typos. "I'm" appears, more often than not, as "Fm." The last name "Hathall" is often given as "HathaU." There were several words in the text I didn't even manage to decipher, even though I had read the novel before in paper format. Among all books by Rendell that have appeared in Kindle format so far, this one is of the poorest quality.
I recommend this book to all readers who appreciate great writing, great characters, intricate plotting and an author who understands the frailty of human existence and the nuances of human interaction, both intellectual and emotional, in our daily lives.