Come back, Inspector Wexford

Douglas Johnson

  • The Killing Doll by Ruth Rendell
    Hutchinson/Arrow, 237 pp, £7.95, March 1984, ISBN 0 09 155480 2
  • The Tree of Hands by Ruth Rendell
    Hutchinson, 269 pp, £8.50, October 1984, ISBN 0 09 158680 1

We still have a Queen of Crime. For nearly twenty years Ruth Rendell has been hailed as the successor to Sayers, Christie, Marsh and Allingham, perpetuating the old question of why it is that there should be a particularly feminine talent for detective fiction. Her Chief Inspector, Wexford by name, has joined the ranks of legendary police heroes, and although he is Sussex-based he can occasionally, via a nephew, call upon the resources of Scotland Yard. He has become such a real character that there have been women readers who would, apparently, have liked to marry him, whilst some of their male counterparts have been eager to identify with a character whose successes are due to the patient intelligence that compensates for growing old.

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