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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars agreed, not her best, but again unique
true, this isn't really the best of Rendell's books, but it's still great. The story is interesting, and Wexford is becoming even more fascinating as he ages and feels increasingly adrift in a world that's largely moved on. There are some incredibly compelling sections which DO show Rendel writing at absolutely top form (e.g. the discovery of the car. I can't say more for...
Published on 2 Feb 2004 by Tiresias

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What a let down
i have read practically all the Rendell books and much prefer the non Wexford stories. However i am stuck at home recovering from an operation and needed a 'good read'. This was not it. After a good start the story was literally washed away, like the floods she keeps referring to. Totally implausable parents, who i had assumed must be guilty of some crime to explain their...
Published on 1 May 2004 by Mrs Brown


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars agreed, not her best, but again unique, 2 Feb 2004
By 
Tiresias (London, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Babes In The Wood: (A Wexford Case) (Paperback)
true, this isn't really the best of Rendell's books, but it's still great. The story is interesting, and Wexford is becoming even more fascinating as he ages and feels increasingly adrift in a world that's largely moved on. There are some incredibly compelling sections which DO show Rendel writing at absolutely top form (e.g. the discovery of the car. I can't say more for spoilers) even if some aspects of the mystery are not QUITE of her normal quality.
The Babes in the Wood is packed with symbolism, which makes it a very thoughtful read indeed. In some of the early books, also, Wexford is not a very developed character, merely a vessel through which the mystery could be solved. In her later novels, he has grown and expanded and shown himself to be one of the most fascinating protagonists the genre has to offer. A sort of Old-Father-Time of the crime world. His presence in this story alone makes it worth reading.
The Babes in the Wood is still a five-star read, better than almost all other crime fiction. As well as an intriguing mystery, she crams in interesting social observation and wonderful character development, too. True, her characters may not always be likeable, but the view that unlikeable characters a good book does not make holds absolutely no water with me at all. Rendell shows us real people, all the time, not always in their best light, and they are always fascinating. If you want comfortable fiction, Rendell probably isn't always for you. If you want a strong and fascinating crime novel, she is.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the usual good read from Ruth Rendell, 27 July 2003
This review is from: The Babes In The Wood: (A Wexford Case) (Paperback)
Ruth Rendell's book grips the imagination from the beginning. Once you have reached the end, and reflect upon the events described, some of the events appear a little unlikely, but this is a novel and is not to be confused with real life. As always, Ruth Rendell interweaves the plotlines skillfully and maintains the reader's interest - I could not put it down.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best Wexford tales., 28 Nov 2002
By A Customer
This has got to be one of the best Wexford tales RR has written yet.
It is brilliantly written, as always, and there is a wonderful cast of characters, all of whom we almost invariably either like or despise. Wexford is on fine form, and he is fascinating as ever. His wry observations of life, and his opinions (while we may not agree with them always) make him seem very human, and he is a very interesting characters for us to see the story through the eyes of. Once again, Burden tags along, and provides an edge of distinct grey in his character. However, this time he doesnt get quite as much of a role as he has in the past.
The plot is original and absolutely fascinating. The way it unfolds is unfalteringly engrossing, and even though this is no thriller, its still a huge pageturner and its intriguing, exciting, and Ruth Rendell builds layer upon layer of nice plot turns into the story.
In the beginning, we are presented with an almost inexplicable set of human behaviours, and, through the events of her plot, Rendell excellently explains why people sometimes act in such strange ways, which is part of the reason why this book is so fascinating. the mystery contains many more levels than just the "who?" or "how?", but she delves deep into the character's psyche's, giving reason to every single characters often strange actions. Finding out "why" people do such strange things is almost as compelling as the mystery itself.
Along the way, we are also presented with some more brilliant story from wexford's own family life. Topping the book off is the fact that Kingsmarkham is flooding, which gives the story an extra layer of originality and interest, and also allowing her plot to go down different, more unconventional avenues.
The final conclusion is unexpected and satisfying.
I can't wait for what she has to offer us next year. Ruth Rendell's crown is showing absolutely no signs of tarnishing, even after all the many, many years she's been wearing it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What a let down, 1 May 2004
This review is from: The Babes in the Wood (Hardcover)
i have read practically all the Rendell books and much prefer the non Wexford stories. However i am stuck at home recovering from an operation and needed a 'good read'. This was not it. After a good start the story was literally washed away, like the floods she keeps referring to. Totally implausable parents, who i had assumed must be guilty of some crime to explain their odd behaviour, were exonerated. What father complains about time away from work, or being contacted at the weekend, when his two children are missing - presumed dead? It also took Wexford weeks to consider the -unsubstantiated- thought of incest. The explanation of the crime was too ridiculous, too bent, too contrived. I do hope any new readers to RR do not pick up this book for their first read, she has done many more, much better. Her best is Tree of Hands, try that.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Her Best But Still Worth Reading, 10 Jan 2004
By 
Ms. A. L. Woodward (Huddersfield, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Babes In The Wood: (A Wexford Case) (Paperback)
I adore Ruth Rendell but for probably the second time ever out of dozens of her wonderful crime thrillers I struggled a little with this Wexford story.
Two well behaved intelligent teenaged kids go missing whilst their parents are away for a weekend under the care of a local ex-teacher. It is set against the backdrop of horrendous floods in the Sussex village of Kingsmarkham and contains the usual snippets from Chief Inspector's family life and his interesting relationsip with sidekick, the suave Burden. A religious sect could be involved but the parents are acting strange too - the mother a hysterical unstable emotional wreck and the father distant and bemused.
The plot takes some clever turns but somehow maybe lacks the coherence and amazing dramatic denoument of some of her others. It would be unfair and rather flippant to say it is written to a format but I think this will not be one of the top ranking novels from this amazing writer.
All in all, die hard Rendell fans should buy it and will enjoy it, it is a good read but not amongst her best ever works.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A must for all crime-thriller fans, 24 July 2003
This review is from: The Babes In The Wood: (A Wexford Case) (Paperback)
As a fan of crime novels I picked up this book with high expectations - easily met by Rendell's 1st class suspense and 'who done it?' writing technique. Having never read Ruth Rendell before, 'Babes in the Wood' is fabulous selling point for her work.
The characters are given suitable depth and woven into the story intricately, enough to keep you guessing to the very end.
A must for all fans of this genre - superb.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars creepy story, 3 July 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: The Babes In The Wood: (A Wexford Case) (Paperback)
I really like Wexford books, and this one didn't disappoint. Kingsmarkaham is flooded and a teenaged brother and sister vanish from their home together with their babysitter. A religious cult look suspicious, but there is something that doesn't fit. It's all explained in the end, which I couldn't guess.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Slow and plodding with a weak story line, 13 Jan 2009
By 
John M "John M" (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Babes In The Wood: (A Wexford Case) (Paperback)
This was the second Ruth Rendell in a cut price combination with 'Not in the flesh'. I can see why they were discounted! Ruth Rendell has such a reputation in the crime thriller genre that I was rather disappointed by both books. This book was extremely plodding, and I found in both cases the prose to be unexciting, developing very little tension. The character of DCI Wexford I find very bland, and here he explains the whole plot to DI Burden at the end of the book, a character who serves very little purpose but as a foil to explain the plot to the reader over beer and sandwiches in the pub. Many of the supporting characters are either caricatures or simply unbelievable. The plodding plot lacks any pace and is quite frankly a bit silly. Wexford manages to solve the mystery (if there is one!) by making some very tenuous connections, and (without revealing the plot) the reappearance of one disappearing character basically solves it for him! I understand from other reviews that many consider Ruth Rendell/ Barbara Vine's earlier work to be much better. It may well be, but quite honestly this has completely put me off exploring it! The writing style here only highlights what an accomplished writter Ian Rankin is in comparison. One saving grace may be that this type of novel encourages others to try to do better. In an attempt to say something positive, I did enjoy the chapter describing Uppsala.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not her Best - As wet as the floods!, 16 July 2008
By 
Ed Taylor (Lancashire England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Babes In The Wood: (A Wexford Case) (Paperback)
Everyone is entitled to one bad book in a glittering career and this must be Ruth Rendell's. The implausible story plods along introducing even more implausible characters at every page turn. By the middle of the book I didn't care if the kids were found or not and obviously Ruth Rendell has only read about floods not experienced them. They don't happen like that!! The ending is so slow and predictable with even more totally unconvincing characters. I think she talked herself into a corner that she found it difficult to get out of. This one is best left on the shelf.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not a great introduction to Ruth Rendell, 2 April 2005
By 
R. Reynolds "razukuk" (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Babes In The Wood: (A Wexford Case) (Paperback)
I approached this book with some anticipation, and though I found it well written and readable, the story seemed to drag and in the end was too unrealistic. Two missing teenagers and a teacher, yet it was pursued in a plodding fashion, piece-by-piece analysing snippets of information. Where was the panic? where was the nationwide alert? The insights into the life of Wexford were interesting, but when his daughter was beaten, tied up and imprisoned by the new man in her life, Wexford didn't say to his daughter that she should press charges. His daughter, who had actually worked with cases of domestic violence, didn't mention the subject either. Why? surely the man would have done it before and is likely to do it again. What policeman wouldn't have wanted to put the man in prison? Ah I remember.. Wexford punched him and therefore was hoping to avoid an assault charge.
Sorry but I was hoping for more Ruth Rendell.
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The Babes In The Wood: (A Wexford Case)
The Babes In The Wood: (A Wexford Case) by Ruth Rendell (Paperback - 3 July 2003)
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