Monday, July 08, 2013

Ruth Rendell From Doon With Death (1964) The first Wexford, short, little character development, a fairly simple puzzle presented fairly, but we already see Rendell’s fascination with abnormal and unusual psychology. There are no apparent reasons for Margaret Parson’s murder, and the only clues are some poetry books with passionate inscriptions, given her by a mysterious lover named Doon. Doon is of course the murderer, but the usual misdirections and unrevealed facts caused by people’s desire for respectability slow the investigation. Wexford and Burden make a good team. In later books, Rendell develops Burden’s character differently than hinted at here; only his narrow education suggests the rigidity of his moral judgments that she presents and explores in later books. Wexford already has the well-read mixture of cynicism and compassion that marks him throughout the series. A good beginning. **½

     Ruth Rendell. From Doon With Death (1964) The first Wexford, short, little character development, a fairly simple puzzle presented fairly, but we already see Rendell’s fascination with abnormal and unusual psychology. There are no apparent reasons for Margaret Parson’s murder, and the only clues are some poetry books with passionate inscriptions, given her by a mysterious lover named Doon. Doon is of course the murderer, but the usual misdirections and unrevealed facts caused by people’s desire for respectability slow the investigation. Wexford and Burden make a good team. In later books, Rendell develops Burden’s character differently than hinted at here; only his narrow education suggests the rigidity of his moral judgments that she presents and explores in later books. Wexford already has the well-read mixture of cynicism and compassion that marks him throughout the series. A good beginning. **½

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