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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic twisty Wexford tale - poor edition
The four stars are for the tale, not for the edition.

This is a classic Wexford murder mystery. Okay, so it's dated, but in a quaint, inoffensive way: note the fascination for novel technology such as a washing machine or a lift! I've said in another review that these new editions of the early Wexfords are very attractive: moody cover shots, nice...
Published on 8 Dec. 2009 by Daniel Sellers

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent early novel
'The Best Man To Die' was published in 1969 and is the fourth in the Wexford series. Wexford himself takes centre stage here for the first time and we get our first proper introductions to his (as yet nameless) wife and his daughter Sheila (already irritating). Rendell's portrayals of the working classes have been hitherto rather unsuccessful. In 'Wolf To The Slaughter'...
Published 13 months ago by Iain C. Davidson


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic twisty Wexford tale - poor edition, 8 Dec. 2009
By 
This review is from: The Best Man To Die: (A Wexford Case) (Paperback)
The four stars are for the tale, not for the edition.

This is a classic Wexford murder mystery. Okay, so it's dated, but in a quaint, inoffensive way: note the fascination for novel technology such as a washing machine or a lift! I've said in another review that these new editions of the early Wexfords are very attractive: moody cover shots, nice larger-than-usual size, sturdy yet elegant little editions. Two gripes, though - the second more important than the first ...

First, I really don't like the bland strap-lines on the covers. This novel's is: "nothing is ever quite what it seems" ... banal, or what? Come on, PR department, make an effort!

Second, the book is full of typos. I lost count of the number of sentences that started with a lower-case letter. Words were jumbled: "on" instead of "no" and vice-versa. "May" was misspelled as "Mar" in one important passage - potentially very misleading in a detective story! And in another place, "she" has the "s" missing! - again, very confusing and pretty downright shoddy.

Overall, certainly worth a look, but proofreading would be appreciated ...
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's not new, 23 Oct. 2009
By 
C. Wildervanck (Overschild, the Netherlands) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Best Man To Die: (A Wexford Case) (Paperback)
It's as good as any Wexford story but first check if you don't have it already. It was first published in 1987, not in 2009 as the site more or less suggests.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I must be getting very tiresome..., 17 Mar. 2004
By 
RachelWalker "RachelW" (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Best Man to Die (Paperback)
...with my continual rantings on the brilliance of Ruth Rendell. In my quest to ascertain that every Ruth Rendell book here is reviewed, though, you'll be hearing more from me yet, I'm afraid.
As I'm lazy, I'm just going to copy out the official blurb (plus, I can't say it any better):
Jack Pertwee was getting married in the morning.
Charlie Hatton drove his lorry eleven hours down from Leeds just to be there. Charlie was Jack's best friend and he would be his best man. When the two parted at the Kingsbrook bridge, jack felt as though his life was just beginning. But for Charlie Hatton, life was about to end.
Detective Chief Inspector Wexford wondered why the fatal Fanshawe car accident kept upsetting his concentration on the Hatton murder. There couldn't be a connection. Fanshawe had been a wealthy stockbroker, Charlie Hatton a cocky little lorry driver with some illegal dealing.
But was it just a coincidence that Hatton had been killed on the day following that of Mrs Fanshawe's regaining consciousness?
On first read, several years ago when I was about 12, this book didn't strike me as one of the greatest Wexford's. On re-reading it, my estimation is much, much improved. The Best Man to Die is another excellent Wexford novel from Rendell's early period. It doesn't have the wonderful, vicious darkness of Wolf to the Slaughter or the unique quality of Some Lie or Some Die, but it remains a very very excellent and clever mystery that will likely confound even the most practiced of crime-fiction readers. It did me, even though I had read it before! I could remember, just about, who, but for the life of me I had no idea why, until Rendell revealed all in one of those excellent last-revelation chapters that she does so so well.
At this point in the series, neither Wexford nor Burden had begun to fully develop quite yet; primarily these early books are plot novels and character foible novels. Still, Wexford is certainly beginning to show hints of how interesting he is, and his family life begins to take on the wonderful life it does later in the series. Here, actually, Wexford seems slightly out-of-character; he's less patient, possibly. Less tolerant perhaps? Certainly, he wasn't quite as warm as in many of the other books, but his skills as a detective are borne out wonderfully in an excellent mystery.
The Best Man to Die (again, one of Rendell's treasures that have been left out of print. I doubt you'll be able to get this anywhere except second-hand) is a great, impeccably written mystery. Rendell dissects her characters motivations marvellously. I would recommend this, of course, very highly indeed, but I don't think it's really the place to begin reading Wexford.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Decent early novel, 14 Feb. 2014
By 
Iain C. Davidson "iain1825" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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'The Best Man To Die' was published in 1969 and is the fourth in the Wexford series. Wexford himself takes centre stage here for the first time and we get our first proper introductions to his (as yet nameless) wife and his daughter Sheila (already irritating). Rendell's portrayals of the working classes have been hitherto rather unsuccessful. In 'Wolf To The Slaughter' we had two charwomen and two lags, one of whom was even called 'Knobby'! Here she extends her range and although we are still in the realms of working men's clubs and avid socialists, her characters have more substance. Personally, I think she could have left out the rather embarrassing parallels between Jack & Charlie and Jonathan & David but otherwise, much better! As usual, the middle classes are better drawn and I especially like the gleefully malicious portrait of the unpleasant Mrs Fanshawe who really ought to be a character who has our sympathy given her circumstances!

So far, so good but for me, the problem with 'Best Man' is the plot itself. This was one of the few times where I felt slightly cheated. Its not that the identity of the killer is difficult to work out - I think most readers stand a fair chance of guessing it from about half way through when the private hospital is introduced, but this is one of the few times in a Rendell novel where we hardly get the know the person in question. That always feels like cheating to me. Anyway, not one of her best!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Slipshod proofing insults a great read, 3 Feb. 2012
By 
Lee Holton "Paola" (Highlands, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Best Man To Die: (A Wexford Case) (Paperback)
The Inspector Wexford series are classics of Engliish detective fiction and if you have not enjoyed them yet, then I cannot recommend them too highly. Ruth Rendell writes with psychological depth and insight and the detective puzzles are adroitly woven into studies of contemporary British life and society. The only thing that spoils this series is the slipshod proof-reading; the publishers obviously could not be bothered to employ someone with an eye for a silly typo. Pity, and shame on Arrow Books!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars rendell at her best, 29 Dec. 2012
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the usual twist and turns you would expect from ruth rendell. a good read, and keeps you guessing who dun it
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 6 Nov. 2014
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This review is from: The Best Man To Die: (A Wexford Case) (Paperback)
I always enjoy this author
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Man To Die, 6 April 2014
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I have read a lot of Ruth Rendell and am never disappointed in them and although this is quite old now, it is still a great read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars no honour among thieves, 26 Mar. 2015
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excellent lots of red herrings great story line 2 different people 1 stole a life the other hope tried to steal justice.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best man to die, 17 Aug. 2013
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True to Ruth Rendell s mastery in plot twisting a very enjoyable read bring on the next sectors can't wait
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The Best Man To Die: (A Wexford Case)
The Best Man To Die: (A Wexford Case) by Ruth Rendell (Paperback - 1 Oct. 2009)
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