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58 of 61 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wexford - and Rendell - back on form!
I came to this new Wexford title with some trepidation. I'd thought the last, Not in the Flesh, was pretty poor, with its shaky storyline and cringe-making subplot about female circumcision (cringe-making because of the quite condescending descriptions of the Somalian girl, not because of the procedure!).

However, I'm delighted to say that The Monster in the...
Published on 28 Sep 2009 by Daniel Sellers

versus
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
The idea for the book of Wexford solving a murder which happened in the past was a good one. However Miss Rendall should have stuck to the point and not go wandering off with reminiscing and getting involved in possible forced marriages.

This is a deary story, the only bit of light was the lion.
Published on 9 Aug 2010 by Zebedee


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3.0 out of 5 stars Back in the box!, 28 July 2014
By 
Iain C. Davidson "iain1825" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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I was looking forward to 'Monster In The Box', one of only 2 Wexford novels I haven't read before. It started off well enough - I was sufficiently intrigued by the mysterious Targo and was looking forward to a bit of nostalgia as we dipped into Wexford's past. Unfortunately I found that I became increasingly irritated as the story wore on. For a start, I don't find Wexford himself terribly likeable in this book, especially the young Wexford. Rendell evidently decided quite early on in the series that her detective would share her own literary tastes and that's quite understandable (although I've always found it slightly jarring) but to find the young Wexford petulantly turning down a night at the pictures with his girlfriend because he wants to see a play by Shaw at the theatre or sending a completely unknown young woman a slim volume of obscure 17th century poetry just makes him a precious and rather strange prig! Fortunately we don't spend all that much time with this odd young man but the older Wexford's obsession with Targo quickly becomes equally irritating to the extent that when a murder is committed in the present day, absolutely NO time is spent considering other potential suspects. Hardly any of the victim's nearest and dearest are interviewed, we never learn anything very much about the victim...they are pretty much inconsequential. Incredibly, Wexford's team and his superiors never question this - Reg has had many hunches in the past but this is the vaguest yet and completely unsupported by any real evidence whatsoever! Then, in the end, the whole thing just fizzles out anyway.

Then there is the tiresome subplot involving the annoying Jenny Burden and the even more annoying Hannah Goldsmith. Why is Rendell still writing about this character? I didn't mind Goldsmith too much on her first outing - I assumed Rendell intended her as a joke character but, 4 books on, she's still here and she hasn't developed one tiny bit! Why Mrs Burden and Goldsmith aren't the subject of some sort of harassment complaint is the real mystery in this book! I found 'Monster' disappointing in the end. I didn't hate it - I always find something to enjoy in Rendell's writing (at the very least there are always some quirky and entertaining characters) but it seems to me, poorly thought out and insubstantial. Difficult to recommend unless you're a die-hard Rendell and/or Wexford enthusiast!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I urge all insomniacs to read this boring drivel, 21 Sep 2010
This review is from: The Monster in the Box: (A Wexford Case) (Paperback)
I have really struggled with this book and I am only on page 81. It is so pointless and drawn out, thankfully the local supermarket had a bogof, I have really enjoyed some of Ruth Rendells previous books, The Crocodile Bird is my favourite, but I have lost the will to live with this latest offering. I shall skip to the end then give it to someone I don't like.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Shocking proofing, 25 Jan 2011
The story is good, the only complaint I had was the dreadful spelling errors in the Kindle edition. Lots of place names on spell check by the look of it. New quay, Sewing bury, Stinted airport etc etc. Character names all wrong Mrs Asia instead of Mrs Qasi, the Han if family.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible editing, 13 Jan 2011
This Kindle version has the worst editing I have ever seen. The number of Typos is staggering, they can't even get the names of the characters right!! Found 23 serious typos just in the second half alone.

Don't buy this version - Amazon have said that they will remove it from sale but it's still there!! If all Kindle books were as bad as this no one would buy them!!

Doesn't help that this is one of the worst Ruth Rendell's I have ever read - and I'm a fan!! You'd swear it was written by a ghost writer!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My god, the typos in the Kindle version...!, 6 Jan 2011
It's a Rendell, it's a Wexford, what can I say? It's fab. I have to say, though, the Kindle version is absolutely riddled with errors and while some are hilarious ("Mater pilchard, filial punchier" being my favourite), it does get terribly annoying after a while.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit too heavy handed and uninspired..., 26 Sep 2010
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
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One of the problems with any series of detective novels that has been adapted into a long-running television series is that there's a tendency to reimagine it in terms of its small screen incarnation when reading it. Unfortunately, Nigel Anthony, the reader of the unabridged audio version of Ruth Rendell's latest Wexford novel, somewhat understandably takes his cue from George Baker when delivering Wexford's dialogue, which becomes strangely distracting. But that's perhaps not the only niggling thing about a promising start that has Wexford seeing a suspect he believes got away with it suddenly back in is old hunting ground, triggering not just memories of the crime but his own past. On a few occasions these flashbacks even have Wexford awkwardly slipping in bits of historical information ("DNA had been discovered but Watson, Crick and Wilkins had yet to win the Nobel Prize for their discovery. It would be a long time before it could be put to forensic use."), making it feel less like a trip through Wexford's mind and memories as a précis from wikipedia, not so much taking you back in time as taking you out of the story.

If the plot were better it might not matter so much, but often it hangs on rather tenuous threads and minor details that seem less like a detective's intuition and more like a writer trying to make bricks without straw. Ironically there's possibly a good TV movie in it for the very reasons it doesn't grip as a novel - it's the kind of book where it's easy to see what could be cut to get to the heart of the matter with a lot less fuss.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 10 Sep 2010
By 
Jadi (Manchester) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Monster in the Box: (A Wexford Case) (Paperback)
What a disappointment.A new Wexford novel used to be such a treat. This one was rather tedious,all those endless Wexford/Burden discussions over wine and peanuts about Targo and Ramima! And neither of those characters ever really came to life.The final outcome was not only a let down,it was unconvincing too. That mantelpiece clue was signposted too obviously,and if the final page was meant to be the twist we were waiting for,it did not work. Time to retire,Reg.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wexford is back--and in grand style!, 16 Feb 2010
By 
Billy J. Hobbs "Bill Hobbs" (Tyler, TX USA) - See all my reviews
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For Ruth Rendell, it's another episode in her Inspector Wexford series, a popular British police procedural of the first water. "The Monster in the Box" is Rendell's 22nd Wexford novel and she's still going strong.

This one, however, takes a different tact, a drastic turn, in her approach to one of most cerebral series of the genre. Here, with her always sensitive and sensible direction, Rendell's narrative takes us back in time, to the time when Wexford is just beginning his career as a police detective. First, this flashback technique provides us with some interesting biographical material of Wexford--what he was like back then, his personal life, his desire to become a great policeman, one of intellect and wisdom. As a young policeman, he spent much of his time studying "Sometimes he went out to the pub in the evenings...but mostly he stayed in and read. Public libraries were in their heyday then...(with) lots and lots of good books. He read them, poetry, and plays and novels. Worlds opened for him, and far from distracting him from his duties, they seemed to make him a better policeman."

This first case, however, has resided with him for all these years. Outside the house where Wexford was investigating his first murder case (a woman found strangled in her bedroom), he notices "a short, muscular man wearing a scarf and walking a dog. He gave Wexford an unnerving stare." And with nothing but "a feeling," Wexford is convinced this man, Eric Targo, is the murderer. Alas, nothing is proved and the case basically remains unsolved. Still, many years later, Wexford continues to sense Targo's presence (literally and figuratively). Targo moves on and now years later, he's back in Kingsmarkham and Wexford's sensibilities (and his belief) are rekindled. And murders begin to happen. Along with his doubting able assistant Mike Burden, Wexford "plods" along, waiting and hoping for just the right clue to drop.

In addition to the main element of the novel, Rendell's penchant for subplots continues. Social significance has long been a trait of Rendell's works and her last few books have dealt strongly with women's issues, racial issues, and cultural issues. (Dame Rendell is a member of the House of Lords and holds strong personal views here.)

In "Monster," one of Wexford's assistants, a very socially correct officer, fears that a local Pakistani girl is about to be forced into an arranged marriage. "Wexford's experience had taught him what deep waters one struggles to swin in when plunging into the traditions of another culture." Wexford has his hands full, but even an escaped lion, which "terrorized" the neighborhood for a while, doesn't deter him from his primary objective: to prove that Targo is the murderer.

Whether or not there are upcoming Wexfords remains to be seen, but the 22 books have all been well worth the time spent. From "From Doon with Death," the first Wexford installment, readers have not been disappointed. In addition, Rendell writes under the name of Barbara Vine, departing from the police procedural to enter into the more psychological thriller genre, also worth the time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Novel Excellent Narrator, 19 Nov 2009
By 
maximus (manchester, uk) - See all my reviews
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From the moment the first words were spoken, I was hooked. I listened to it in the car, and found myself wanting to stay listening even after I had reached my destinations. A well written story, which unfolds intriguingly at a measured pace, just like any good gripping mystery/crime novel should in my opinion. If I had in print form, I would call it a real page turner...

The narrator is excellent and does good distinguishable voices between characters and a steady very easy to hear tone and diction. Very unobtrusive but characterful at the same time.

Highly recommended.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Will she ever get to the point?, 20 Oct 2010
This review is from: The Monster in the Box: (A Wexford Case) (Paperback)
The only Ruth Rendell books that I haven't read are the ones which are out of print. For the most part I've enjoyed all of them although I have to say that recently she seems to be suffering from the same 'condition' which has been affecting the likes of Martina Cole, Mandasue Heller, Patricia Cornwell, etc. for some time now, and that is the ability to churn out a rash of completely tedious, poorly constructed books with 'samey' characters and minimal storyline! Monster in the box takes the biscuit though, if not the whole cake!! I can't count the number of times I sat there reading this book sighing to myself and thinking "who cares?", as Rendell whittered on about Wexford and his early girlfirends, how he met is (future) wife, and so on and so forth. Why did we need to know all of this? If you're a fan of Rendell and the character Wexford, does it add to our love of the character to find out about his early romantic life? I think not. Also, the whole 'storyline' involving the so called forced marriage situation was so convoluted and hard to believe, and yet it went on for an eternity before coming to (what I thought) was a pretty obvious conclusion.

All in all, I haven't been at all impressed with Rendell's last few books, but I keep buying each new offering in the hopes that she hasn't become as unredeemable as Martina Cole..... Come on Ruthie, you have a large fanbase for a reason. You're a very talented writer and are capable of turning out better quality books than this, and your loyal fans deserve better!
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The Monster in the Box: (A Wexford Case)
The Monster in the Box: (A Wexford Case) by Ruth Rendell (Paperback - 5 Aug 2010)
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