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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rendell in top form
After the slight disappointment of her last books, a return to top form in this latest Wexford. Like its predecessors, it selects a social issue - in this case, surrogacy - which forms the background to the novel, and sets it during one of the hot summers that we have had recently. Rendell inhabits this world with a variety of dysfunctional characters who, though...
Published on 21 Aug. 2006 by Mondoro

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not my favourite mystery
Slow, methodical detective work, rendering the content of this book a bit too slow itself, therefore not entirely to my taste. However, this is my first mystery by Ruth Rendell and I was not acquainted with its main characters and their personal history, which I understand follow a long succession of books. `Knowing' them beforehand may have been useful to appreciate...
Published on 27 April 2008 by I LOVE BOOKS


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not my favourite mystery, 27 April 2008
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This review is from: End In Tears: (A Wexford Case) (Paperback)
Slow, methodical detective work, rendering the content of this book a bit too slow itself, therefore not entirely to my taste. However, this is my first mystery by Ruth Rendell and I was not acquainted with its main characters and their personal history, which I understand follow a long succession of books. `Knowing' them beforehand may have been useful to appreciate this book a little more, but I have the feeling that my opinion after turning the last page would have been unaltered whether I did or not.
A BIT OF A *SPOILER* FOLLOWS UNLESS YOU HAVE READ THE AMAZON DESCRIPTION ABOVE AND SOME OF THE REVIEWS
In any case, their previous acquaintance would not have mattered with reference to the central theme in this book, which explores the murder of eighteen-year-old Amber in a quiet village in Sussex. Soon after, another young lady, Megan, disappears and is later found murdered. Although coming from very different social backgrounds, the police find out that the two girls knew each other and they had two things in common: youth -it goes without saying- and a child each. What could have led someone to kill them?
END OF *SPOILER*
Hard to pinpoint the facts as they are elusive up until the very last page of the book. They are also, along with the characters, quite muddled up and a bit hard to follow. Wexford's personal life and the one of some of his co-workers provide for a bit of a diversion, even though they all sooner or later connect with the central theme in a plausible juxtaposition.

All in all, it was not the best mystery novel I've read -and I read many-. What lacked here was a certain compactness within the characters which rendered the story less consistent than it should have been, considering the disturbing motive lurking behind the murders (which the reader picks up only toward the middle of the book).
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rendell in top form, 21 Aug. 2006
By 
Mondoro (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: End In Tears: (A Wexford Case) (Paperback)
After the slight disappointment of her last books, a return to top form in this latest Wexford. Like its predecessors, it selects a social issue - in this case, surrogacy - which forms the background to the novel, and sets it during one of the hot summers that we have had recently. Rendell inhabits this world with a variety of dysfunctional characters who, though representing extremes, also reflect some of the distinctive features of contemporary British society, particularly the teenage mums intent on having a good time who form the victims of this story. Meanwhile, as she has done in previous Wexford stories, she creates a situation in Wexford's own family that echoes the main theme, surrogacy. In both instances, the outcomes surprise the reader - a mark of Rendell's skill as a story-teller.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ruth Rendell - End in Tears, 11 Nov. 2006
By 
RachelWalker "RachelW" (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: End In Tears: (A Wexford Case) (Paperback)
When someone drops a lump of concrete over a bridge onto the cars driving below, an elderly woman dies as a consequence of the resulting smash-up. The accident is put down as another incident of mindless vandalism in a society that's seeing an ever-increasing number of such acts, young blind rebellion.
Weeks later, 18 year old Amber Marshalson is killed walking home along a quiet road after a night out. Her father Graham has been up all night worrying, and eventually sets out to search the road he knows she'll be coming home by. A shattering discovery is his to be made.

It's only when the police find out that Amber was one of the people involved in the earlier road accident, driving a car very similar to that carrying the elderly victim, that they realise someone could easily have made a previous disastrous attempt on her life and, failing in that, has tried again with shattering success...

End in Tears is Rendell's 20th Inspector Wexford novel. (It's something indeed that they don't make up even half her output.) These police procedurals of hers are not my favourite of her many fictional branches, but to many they constitute the most enduring and famous sections of her body of work. It's easy to see why: while her other novels are dark, disturbing, twisted affairs of the head, the Wexford books are warmer and more welcoming things altogether. They do share a dark view of the human heart, true (this one particularly), but they come at it from the opposite angle. The crimes of the Wexford books, too, are more rational things; they're open to freer explanation, they make you less uncomfortable, make you feel less unsafe in your own skin. They offer the pleasures, then, of much detective fiction: they offer a world turned upside down then nicely righted again by the detective; they show an environment controllable, balanced, just. (Though even with the Wexford books Rendell rarely allows complete justice; that's why they stand out, with their sometimes ambiguous, messy endings). They are more comforting - though it's a mistake to think they are always entirely comfortable to read, either.

This isn't to say, though, that the Wexford books don't do anything new with the genre. Well, the sub-genre. She doesn't have as free a rein for originality as in her other books, but within the sub-genre she puts herself in she pushes against the boundaries as much as any other writer of procedural mystery novels. In this respect she's as good as P.D. James with imbuing the traditional detective format with a relevant, literary edge. Rendell's books, though, are less discordant with reality than James's, I find.

All of this is true about End in Tears. Fans of Wexford will love it: the focus is very much on him here. He's the lens through which Rendell looks at society, his the mind she filters everything through. He's as charming as ever, loveable but slightly gruff, cosy but hard. His daughter Sylvia has agreed to be a surrogate mother to her ex-husband and his new partner, which causes fractures not only in their relationship but also in that between he and his wife Dora. Without doubt, fans of Wexford who have grown impatient for him in the three years since the last book will find their hunger more than sated here. There are two new recruits to Wexford's team as well, and Rendell uses these two very well to provide a nice dose of humour, in the way she has always done well: behavioural exaggeration. Detective Hannah Goldsmith is PC to a ridiculous degree, which makes her character at times quite ridiculous. The reader's complicity with Rendell in being very fully aware of this would, in lesser hands, make the character little more than a humorous device, but for the fact Rendell fleshes her out in other, touchingly human ways.

Fans of mysteries, too, should love it. End in Tears is possibly Rendell's most well-crafted mystery detective novel since Kissing the Gunner's Daughter. Indeed, the kind of craft and plotting on display here is such to put other authors to shame. There are subplots and red-herrings a-plenty, and Rendell truly leads the reader down the garden path, all the while seeming to be taking them closer to the solution. This is a true master-class in reader deception, while still playing fair. Her writing as is good as ever (maybe even better, in fact, than in the past three novels written under the Rendell name), and there are about five scenes so powerfully written that they stand out to me even now, days and days after I finished the book.

End in Tears is a novel about children. More specifically, about babies. Children are where Wexford looks for the solution, and children are where he finds it (though in a completely different kind of way). Children and babies pop up all over the place, and it's a book that says munch about the way they're treated in society today. It makes for a powerful novel.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tragic Trades, 14 Aug. 2006
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 127,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
Most mystery stories focus on either the detectives or the plot. End in Tears is a nice exception in that the crime context and the incidental characters are also a focus. The result is a very satisfying story that will leave you thinking deeply about the vulnerability of those who want to become mothers.

Here are the three major story lines:

1. Amber Marshalson, an unwed teenage mother, is murdered by being bashed in the head as she walks home after a night out with friends. The investigation soon reveals that Amber had been a target of an earlier attempt that had led to a similar car being smashed by a weight dropped from above. Who killed Amber is Chief Inspector Wexford's first focus. The investigation turns up that Amber was involved in some seemingly illicit activity. What had she been up to? Detective Inspector Burden is convinced that it's drugs, but Wexford is skeptical. The investigation is further complicated when her seeming partner is also murdered.

2. Chief Inspector Wexford's daughter, Sylvia becomes pregnant to provide a baby for her ex-husband's girl friend, Naomi, who cannot conceive. Family relations become quite strained over this decision.

3. Detective Sergeant Hannah Goldsmith finds herself attracted to Detective Constable Baljinder Bhattacharya . . . and the feeling seems to be mutual. But there are complications.

One of the best parts of the book is the way that Ms. Rendell points out the pressures on Wexford and shows how he uses small things . . . like his decisions to eat or not eat healthy foods . . . to handle the stress.

Anyone who loves the Wexford series will be delighted by this book. If you haven't read any books in the series, you'll find yourself engrossed . . . and wanting to read more. Feel free to go back and enjoy 19 earlier novels!
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35 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ruth Rendell - End in Tears, 11 Nov. 2005
By 
RachelWalker "RachelW" (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
When someone drops a lump of concrete over a bridge onto the cars driving below, an elderly woman dies as a consequence of the resulting smash-up. The accident is put down as another incident of mindless vandalism in a society that’s seeing an ever-increasing number of such acts, young blind rebellion.
Weeks later, 18 year old Amber Marshalson is killed walking home along a quiet road after a night out. Her father Graham has been up all night worrying, and eventually sets out to search the road he knows she’ll be coming home by. A shattering discovery is his to be made.
It’s only when the police find out that Amber was one of the people involved in the earlier road accident, driving a car very similar to that carrying the elderly victim, that they realise someone could easily have made a previous disastrous attempt on her life and, failing in that, has tried again with shattering success…
End in Tears is Rendell’s 20th Inspector Wexford novel. (It’s something indeed that they don’t make up even half her output.) These police procedurals of hers are not my favourite of her many fictional branches, but to many they constitute the most enduring and famous sections of her body of work. It’s easy to see why: while her other novels are dark, disturbing, twisted affairs of the head, the Wexford books are warmer and more welcoming things altogether. They do share a dark view of the human heart, true (this one particularly), but they come at it from the opposite angle. The crimes of the Wexford books, too, are more rational things; they're open to freer explanation, they make you less uncomfortable, make you feel less unsafe in your own skin. They offer the pleasures, then, of much detective fiction: they offer a world turned upside down then nicely righted again by the detective; they show an environment controllable, balanced, just. (Though even with the Wexford books Rendell rarely allows complete justice; that’s why they stand out, with their sometimes ambiguous, messy endings). They are more comforting – though it’s a mistake to think they are always entirely comfortable to read, either.
This isn’t to say, though, that the Wexford books don’t do anything new with the genre. Well, the sub-genre. She doesn’t have as free a rein for originality as in her other books, but within the sub-genre she puts herself in she pushes against the boundaries as much as any other writer of procedural mystery novels. In this respect she’s as good as P.D. James with imbuing the traditional detective format with a relevant, literary edge. Rendell’s books, though, are less discordant with reality than James’s, I find.
All of this is true about End in Tears. Fans of Wexford will love it: the focus is very much on him here. He’s the lens through which Rendell looks at society, his the mind she filters everything through. He’s as charming as ever, loveable but slightly gruff, cosy but hard. His daughter Sylvia has agreed to be a surrogate mother to her ex-husband and his new partner, which causes fractures not only in their relationship but also in that between he and his wife Dora. Without doubt, fans of Wexford who have grown impatient for him in the three years since the last book will find their hunger more than sated here. There are two new recruits to Wexford’s team as well, and Rendell uses these two very well to provide a nice dose of humour, in the way she has always done well: behavioural exaggeration. Detective Hannah Goldsmith is PC to a ridiculous degree, which makes her character at times quite ridiculous. The reader’s complicity with Rendell in being very fully aware of this would, in lesser hands, make the character little more than a humorous device, but for the fact Rendell fleshes her out in other, touchingly human ways.
Fans of mysteries, too, should love it. End in Tears is possibly Rendell’s most well-crafted mystery detective novel since Kissing the Gunner’s Daughter. Indeed, the kind of craft and plotting on display here is such to put other authors to shame. There are subplots and red-herrings a-plenty, and Rendell truly leads the reader down the garden path, all the while seeming to be taking them closer to the solution. This is a true master-class in reader deception, while still playing fair. Her writing as is good as ever (maybe even better, in fact, than in the past three novels written under the Rendell name), and there are about five scenes so powerfully written that they stand out to me even now, days and days after I finished the book.
End in Tears is a novel about children. More specifically, about babies. Children are where Wexford looks for the solution, and children are where he finds it (though in a completely different kind of way). Children and babies pop up all over the place, and it’s a book that says munch about the way they're treated in society today. It makes for a powerful novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tragic Trades, 8 Oct. 2007
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 127,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
Most mystery stories focus on either the detectives or the plot. End in Tears is a nice exception in that the crime context and the incidental characters are also a focus. The result is a very satisfying story that will leave you thinking deeply about the vulnerability of those who want to become mothers.

Here are the three major story lines:

1. Amber Marshalson, an unwed teenage mother, is murdered by being bashed in the head as she walks home after a night out with friends. The investigation soon reveals that Amber had been a target of an earlier attempt that had led to a similar car being smashed by a weight dropped from above. Who killed Amber is Chief Inspector Wexford's first focus. The investigation turns up that Amber was involved in some seemingly illicit activity. What had she been up to? Detective Inspector Burden is convinced that it's drugs, but Wexford is skeptical. The investigation is further complicated when her seeming partner is also murdered.

2. Chief Inspector Wexford's daughter, Sylvia becomes pregnant to provide a baby for her ex-husband's girl friend, Naomi, who cannot conceive. Family relations become quite strained over this decision.

3. Detective Sergeant Hannah Goldsmith finds herself attracted to Detective Constable Baljinder Bhattacharya . . . and the feeling seems to be mutual. But there are complications.

One of the best parts of the book is the way that Ms. Rendell points out the pressures on Wexford and shows how he uses small things . . . like his decisions to eat or not eat healthy foods . . . to handle the stress.

Anyone who loves the Wexford series will be delighted by this book. If you haven't read any books in the series, you'll find yourself engrossed . . . and wanting to read more. Feel free to go back and enjoy 19 earlier novels!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What has happened to Ruth Rendell??, 20 Feb. 2011
This review is from: End In Tears: (A Wexford Case) (Paperback)
I cannot believe I am saying this about an author whose books I devoured during my 20s, but this book was awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwful. I was so bored! Half the book read as a weather report, and the ending was dreadful. I will own up to the fact that this is the first ever Inspector Wexford I have read. For some reason, I chose to stick to Rendell's/ Vine's stand-alone novels before and I am so grateful for that obstinacy now, as I would've avoided her entire back catalogue altogether had I first opened a Wexford novel all those years ago. Maybe I am missing something, but if this is the calibre of all Wexford tales I cannot understand how the series gets such a following
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable and gripping, 1 Dec. 2007
By 
R. Davies (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: End In Tears: (A Wexford Case) (Paperback)
Rendell is a very fine storyteller with a real affinity for the English language. She is adept at bringing characters to life, and at making the reader really care who the perpetrator was. She keeps the reader guessing until the very last few pages.

My one reservation about this novel is the convenient way in which Wexford's daughter's personal circumstances resonated with the victims'; this subplot seemed a little sledgehammerish and contrived. Much as I relate to the character of Sylvia Wexford, it was this issue that led me to rate the novel as 4* not 5*.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Praise for 'End in Tears', 25 Oct. 2005
By 
'End in Tears' is the latest in Ruth Rendells' Wexford saga and as expected provides a compelling mixture of investigative intrigue and sensitive consideration of contemporary and compelling issues.
I learnt my lesson with this Wexford book. Rather than swallowing it in one gulp, I paced myself over several, very enjoyable eveings, savouring the stunning complexity of the plot and its final, shattering denouement.
When a feckless, and frankly not very likeable, teenager is found with her head bashed in, Wexfords team, with some interesting new additions, swings into action. A connection is speedily established with an earlier incident in which a concrete block is droppped from a bridge onto a passing car and the attention is quickly jostled by a cornucopia of plots and sub-plots. The focus shifts rapidly yet intelligently between a soon-to-be dual murder investigation, the distress of the reluctantly childless, an unusal seduction technique and an intriguing note of disharmony on the Wexfords' domestic front.
I am hard put to decide which aspect of Ms Rendells' talent I admire the most; her protrayal of characters that provoke such fierce emotional responses in the reader, her ability to construct a series of complex and inter-related plots or her esoteric knowledge of the English Language!
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2.0 out of 5 stars Deduction without evidence, 23 July 2012
By 
Brian R. Martin (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: End In Tears: (A Wexford Case) (Paperback)
This is one of the author's series of detective novels featuring Chief Inspector Wexford and his straight-laced assistant, Inspector Burden. The potentially interesting plot starts with the discovery of the murdered body of a teen-aged girl called Amber. She was on her way from a nightclub in the early hours of the morning, back to her father's house and the toddler she has left in the care of her stepmother. A few months earlier Amber had been involved in a collision with a car that had crashed when a concrete block had been dropped onto it from a bridge. The story then becomes unbelievable when, without any serious evidence to support his suspicions, Wexford decides that the person who dropped the block had really intended to kill Amber, and that it was the same person who has now murdered her. From then on, no other possibilities are considered.

Later, a second girl, a friend of Amber, is also murdered and in a similar manner. This girl has £1000 on her and Wexford and Burden discover that the pair has been involved in some dubious commercial activity in Germany. The investigations involve the sometimes seedy world of surrogacy. The second disappointment is that, again without any real evidence, Wexford claims to know which of the several local people interviewed is the killer, and moreover who hired him. Again, no other possibilities are seriously pursued. Needless to say, Wexford is right and finally he and Burden solve both murders and clean up a major surrogacy scam. The book ends with a long explanation by Wexford to his assembled team of what the investigation was all about. Just as well really, because they are obviously as much in the dark as this reader.

There are a few minor sub-plots. One concerns Wexford's daughter, and again involves surrogacy; another is about a drawn-out romance between an Asian DC and his feminist sergeant, which plays a crucial role in the closing chapters. Although both could have given rise to interesting developments, in practice it is obvious that all will end well, as of course happens. If you enjoy Midsomer Murders, you may well like this novel, but it has little to recommend it.
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End In Tears: (A Wexford Case)
End In Tears: (A Wexford Case) by Ruth Rendell (Paperback - 3 Aug. 2006)
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