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The Vault: (A Wexford Case) [Hardcover]

Ruth Rendell
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (145 customer reviews)
RRP: 18.99
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Book Description

4 Aug 2011 Wexford (Book 22)

The twenty-third book to feature the classic crime-solving detective, Chief Inspector Wexford.

The impossible has happened. Chief Inspector Reg Wexford has retired from the crime force. He and his wife, Dora, now divide their time between Kingsmarkham and a coachhouse in Hampstead, belonging to their actress daughter, Sheila.

Wexford takes great pleasure in his books, but, for all the benefits of a more relaxed lifestyle, he misses being the hand of the law.

But a chance meeting in a London street, with someone he had known briefly as a very young police constable, changes everything. Tom Ede is now a Detective Superintendent, and is very keen to recruit Wexford as an adviser on a mysterious murder case.

The bodies of two women and a man have been discovered in the old coal hole of an attractive house in St John's Wood. None of the corpses carry identification. But the man's jacket pockets contain a string of pearls, a diamond and a sapphire necklace as well as other jewellery valued in the region of £40,000.

To Wexford, this is definitely a case worth coming out of retirement for. He is intrigued and excited by the challenge, but unaware that this new investigative role will bring him into extreme physical danger...

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Hutchinson (4 Aug 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0091937108
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091937102
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 24.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (145 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 219,271 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ruth Rendell has won many awards, including the Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger for 1976's best crime novel with A Demon in My View; a second Edgar in 1984 from the Mystery Writers of America for the best short story, 'The New Girl Friend'; and a Gold Dagger award for Live Flesh in 1986. She was also the winner of the 1990 Sunday Times Literary award, as well as the Crime Writers' Association Cartier Diamond Dagger. In 1996 she was awarded the CBE and in 1997 became a Life Peer.

Product Description


"Unequivocally, the most brilliant mystery writer of our time. She magnificently triumphs in a style that is uniquely hers and mesmerising" (Patricia Cornwell)

"Ruth Rendell is a marvel, and in the latest Inspector Wexford mystery she's on cracking form . . . The book's pacing is perfect. It starts gently as we, like Wexford, enjoy his new life of leisure. But once he puts his formidable brain to work, the violence kicks in. The result is a total page-turner - and one of Rendell's very, very best novels." (A.N. Wilson Reader's Digest)

"The Vault sees Rendell for the first time marry the two genres she is master of: the psychological thriller and the police whodunit . . . With 60 novels put to page and still counting, Rendell will soon match the prolific output of Agatha Christie - who penned 66 works. It's hard to imagine where the inspiration comes from, but find it she does - and there's not a clue out of place or a shoehorned plotline in sight." (Time Out)

"Ruth Rendell is bidding fair to join Defoe and Dickens in creating one of the great criminal cities of literature. Her view of London is a similar murderous topography, less squalid, but with the same tentacles reaching out between rich and poor . . . This mystery is also an enormously enjoyable panorama of London and a hymn of love to its Georgian houses . . . She, and Wexford are the sharpest modern observers of the "Great Wen"" (Independent)

"The Vault, as a sort-of-sequel is a bold attempt to combine Rendell's two chosen specialties: the police procedural and the psychological thriller. No one hides the clues better than her; no one else creates such a pervasive atmosphere of almost comic disgust and dread. The act of cross pollination proves most fruitful and triumphantly demonstrates that a vault, in addition to being an underground chamber, can also be a leap of imagination." (Evening Standard)

Book Description

The twenty-third book in the bestselling Detective Chief Inspector Wexford series, from the author of classic detective fiction and gripping psychological thrillers including End in Tears and Thirteen Steps Down.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
56 of 61 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wexford gets a new lease of life 22 Aug 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
While I have enjoyed Ruth Rendell's work for many years, the Inspector Wexford series has always held less interest for me than her standalone and Barbara Vine novels, and in recent years the quality of these stories in particular seems to have dropped off alarmingly. The most recent, 2009's 'The Monster In The Box', was a chore to read: a central villain with an absurdly unconvincing excuse for a motive, a less than thrilling plot about a possible forced marriage, and worst of all, a poor attempt at retelling Wexford's personal history, which not only contradicted her earlier novels but was full of the most risible coincidences - how could anyone take seriously the proposition that a young Wexford fell for two similar-looking women, both called Dora and both encountered in Cornwall within the space of a few months?

Needless to say, I wasn't looking forward to 'The Vault' with any great enthusiasm...which made it all the more pleasant a surprise. Wexford has been given a new lease of life by his retirement and relocation to London. Here we find him meeting a policeman he worked with on an earlier case ('Murder Being Once Done') and being asked to assist in a new investigation involving a number of bodies discovered under a patio.

This book is a semi-sequel to the 1998 standalone novel 'A Sight For Sore Eyes' - it isn't absolutely necessary to have read that book first, but it does add to the enjoyment (and it's very good in it's own right). I was concerned that, knowing the story from that book, there would be no new mystery here. However, another body has been left under the patio of Orcadia Cottage since the end of 'A Sight For Sore Eyes', and this gradually becomes the focus of Wexford's investigation.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
By Phil
I'm a great fan of Ruth Rendell's, but have struggled with most of her recent offerings, and this latest one struck me as terribly lame, especially if you've read its prequel, 'A Sight for Sore Eyes'. Where's the pleasure in reading 200 pages of implausible investigation about three bodies whose deaths you already know everything about, and then just 60 devoted to the fourth murder, whose perpetrator has been referred to so little that it's hard to feel anything on disclosure?

This one is at least better written than most of her others of late, but it's riddled with flaws. The blame lies with her publishers, of course, who are like all the rest in the trade, in not giving a monkey's about the quality of the books they publish so long as they sell - another example of the contempt with which big-business-people treat the customers who pay their wages.

Some of the problems that should have been picked up by the proofreader or copy editor:

* If Wexford has been thinking constantly about this man they believe was called Keith HILL, and then comes across a Francine HILL, why does it take him two days to realise that she could be the Francine they're looking for? Not what you'd expect of an experienced policeman with a functioning memory, is it?
* Lucy Blanch is a young London cop, and she doesn't know what "to take a butcher's" means? Come off it.
* Martin Rokeby is devastated by the loss in value of his home caused by the bodies found in the 'vault', but then decides he's keen to go ahead with his original plan to develop it into an underground room. Aside from the psychological unlikeliness of this (a rare lapse for Rendell), he would have to be mad to do so. Who would buy a house with an underground room in which four bodies had been found?
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Terribly disappointed 2 Dec 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I'll start by saying I am a devoted Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine fan, often buying her books as soon as they are published.................but after some below average offerings in the last few years I have to say The Vault is just about rock bottom.

In general a long ramble with a sub-plot involving one of Wexford's daughters which wasn't really a "plot" at all (in fact I am convinced it was added at some stage just to make the book up to a respectable page count!). The book is a sad sequel to the magnificent "Sight For Sore Eyes" featuring a now-retired Wexford, whom we are to believe recently left a top ranking police career without ever managing to learn how to send an email, use the internet or to have even gained a passing knowledge of police data bases. No, Wexford tracks down his witnesses by walking the streets of London and "accidently" happening on the right people, and by interviewing suspects despite the fact he has no official standing whatsoever.

Rendell was always spot on with the psychology of her characters, sadly this no longer applies - people act out of character throughout the book, and by the time I reached the last few chapters I could not care less whodunnit as the whole plot was beyond belief - we have millionaires living in shabby flats, a woman who is scared of the police suddenly making a formal complaint, owners of expensive housing blithely leaving gates and doors unlocked in a capital city and Wexford acting like a Victorian patriach.

I can only assume one of two things: Either the publishers are simply willing to print anything with Rendell's name on it for the sake of profit, no matter how bad the book OR the publishers are scared to offer Rendell constructive criticism in case they lose their cash-cow.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Highly Entertaining.
Published 5 days ago by MICHAEL LOWSLEY-WILLIAMS
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
I really enjoyed this book - I found it absorbing and interesting and would highly recommend to all fans of Ruth Rendell
Published 15 days ago by Niamh Bee
4.0 out of 5 stars Wexford retired
Even in retirement it seems Wexfords skills are still needed, as it is in real life Wexford travels down the various avenues that eventually lead to the truth.
Published 23 days ago by Peter Joiner
4.0 out of 5 stars Great to see Wexford again
This is the nearest thing Ruth Rendell has done to a sequel and it wasn't until I heard the name Teddy Brex that I recalled that he was a character in A Sight For Sore Eyes. Read more
Published 1 month ago by sam155
3.0 out of 5 stars Not usual amount of suspense in story Vault
Long plot but without usual substance. The book therefore appeared to take a long time to read as it was difficult to maintain interest.
Published 4 months ago by Brenda Wilks
5.0 out of 5 stars Rendell at her best
A thoroughly enjoyable read. Well constructed and keeps your interest throughout. Excellent characterisation and clever plotting ensure the reader's engagement.
Published 4 months ago by Philip Bourne
3.0 out of 5 stars Rendell is always readable
Carried me along happily until the end, as the writing is so good, but the ending was a bit of a letdown. Not as good as her other books or those she writes as Barbara Vine.
Published 4 months ago by kangaroo
1.0 out of 5 stars Publisher needs to hire an editor
Here's a short list of things wrong with this book:
1. There are a large number of glaring flaws including misspellings, repeats of the same verbiage within a few pages,... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Stephen Mcdaniel
5.0 out of 5 stars never fails to amaze me
Still the best mystery writer in the world . love this book would reccomend it to all lovers of good detective stories.
Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Item was as ordered
I Chose this rating as the item was as ordered and as how I expected
delivery was as stated when ordered
Published 5 months ago by David S Ford
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