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4.1 out of 5 stars24
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 31 March 2014
This is probably about the fourth time I've read 'Sleeping Life' and it is one of my favourite of Ruth Rendell's Wexford novels, certainly my favourite from this period. It has its flaws of course - the denouement is one of Rendell's most outrageous, one of her really original plots but much of it seems very improbable. Nevertheless, it IS very original and a cracking good tale. The contrast between quiet Kingsmarkham and sophisticated London (once more represented by Wexford's well know 'Kenbourne Vale' parish) is enjoyable and there are several quirky characters, not least the victim herself! Wexford's own family play a slightly larger role from this novel forward - this is the first time we get to learn much about less favoured elder daughter Sylvia - but they don't dominate (as sometimes happens later). Wexford himself as very human in this one - see how he pities the murderer in the end - although his run-ins with comedy Chief Constable Griswold are becoming a little tedious, its a mistake trying to make Reg into a 'maverick cop'.

Overall, very enjoyable and one of her best - in my opinion.
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on 12 November 2013
I cheat! I read this some years ago and it has lost none of its appeal. Ruth Rendell is a superb storyteller, her plots are intriguing and her 'lead' characters are attractive, all contributing to to the best in the entertainment obtainable from books.
Matthew Smith
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on 20 June 2013
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Good light reading, yet very well written in true Rendell style. Plausible plot. Better than just a holiday read.
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on 3 March 2013
I have just finished this book and again thoroughly enjoyed it as all the other Wexford novels. I recommend this book to everyone.
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on 24 March 2013
I've read quite a few Wexford novels, and found 'A Sleeping Life' to be my favourite.

Clues are given to the reader as to the death of Rhoda Comfrey, so we can solve the case along with Reg Wexford, one of literature's most solid and dependable characters.

This is one of the few novels I was able to solve, albeit just a couple of pafes earlier than Wexford!
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on 27 June 2013
Ruth Rendell's "A Sleeping Life" - her 10th Inspector Wexford novel - was published in 1978 and the novel catches the times effectively: there is a tension between traditional values (some endorsed and others sharply put down) and gay rights and second-wave feminism, while spatial divisions also attract Rendell's attention: the boundaries of towns, such as Wexford's Kingsmarkham, are being eroded, while inner London boroughs, such as Kenbourne Grove, are a mix of shabbiness and gentrification. The absence of an original publication date in Amazon's promotion of this novel, highlights the gap between reader's present and the book's. Looking back, the descriptions of domestic interiors are not so different, except that there are no signs of an information world. And it is words and not signs which interest Reg Wexford, and Ruth Rendell.

Wexford is intensely irritated by useless words: "I mean" or "kind of", inserted into the speech of characters. Now, it would be "like". And the solution to the murder of Rhoda Comfrey which opens the novel hinges on an archaic word which he picks up, tangentially, in his daughter's condemnation of just how long it is likely to be before women approach anything like the rights of men. Rendell uses Wexford's instinctive grumpiness at the new and his more thoughtful, if muted, advocacy of liberal political positions to explore social change, while still being an effective page-turner, even for thriller-readers saturated by graphic violence and worse.
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on 9 March 2010
As usual Ruth Rendell writes beautifully with enough description to keep interest without detracting from a really good story. I have now read all of her books except one and that is on order.
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on 5 June 2013
Relaxing classic who-dun-it. All her books run along similar lines but this is what is relaxing. Again an order in whichnthey are written would be nice as the characters become familiar.
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on 23 May 2010
found it very enjoyable but realised after I started that I had seen it on tv. To the best of my knowledge it followed the story compleatly and I enjoyed reading it.
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on 28 November 2013
I enjoyed this book, as I enjoy all Ruth Rendell's Wexford novels, but I would not say that this was her best.
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