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59 of 62 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 Sept. 2009 by Daniel Sellers

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I had to pinch myself.... was it really Rendell I was reading?
I am a big fan of Ruth Rendell so it gives me no pleasure at all to write how much I actually disliked the Monster In the Box. It is actually so bad that it doesn't read like Rendell at all!How can such a gifted writer have created something which is both clumzy and boring, repetitive and annoying! It doesn't make any kind of sense. Do we expect Wexford to tell the story...
Published on 26 Nov. 2010 by H. Lacroix


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7 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "The next best thing to going to university - reading, reading, reading" says Wexford, 20 Oct. 2009
By 
Katharine Kirby "Kate" (HELSTON, Cornwall United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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Nigel Anthony, a serious sounding, senior actor of much experience in tv, theatre, radio, the voice behind documentaries and much other audio; reads this calmly, with authority and in a measured tone - not unlike the way in which Wexford himself approaches life. His clear, capable, resonant voice has the power to chill and warn of trouble to come. Nigel Anthony is comfortably able to change from his own narrative voice to Reg Wexford's more heavily throaty, accented speech, and again to Dora's articulation, which he makes more feminine in a realistic and believable way. Satisfaction guaranteed - a pleasure to listen to. The monster in this box is 8 half hour long cds all waiting to keep you company on a long journey, possibly through many bouts of ironing, or to be used as I did, to help me through hours of spreadsheets, late for the accountant, which must finally be faced!

I have read every Barbara Vine book and most of the Wexford stories so I am able to report, with some authority, that in this book the two authors seem to blend. This gives this story more depth than previous Wexfords and more of a psychological bent. It is thoughtful and deeply researched with a wealth of detail that enriches this story to the point of being a `Dickens' of this day.

Eric William Targo, an unusually named `wrong'un', is a man who has haunted Wexford for many years. Known to Wexford and referred to always by his surname, he has been bothering him since Wexford was `very young'. Now he is thinking about him once again - Targo is one who got away, one who would have to commit another crime to be properly caught, as he should certainly be. A murderer who you can't believe hasn't already been put away. Wexford has the most amazing memory for detail and we are treated to flashbacks of description that seem uncannily acute. He has strong moments of insight that he ought to pay more attention to... Speak of the devil and he will appear - for now Targo is back in town. And both the policeman and the criminal as yet unmasked are obsessed with each other. A serial killer may be back in Kings Markham.

Inspector Mike Burden is still happily in the picture and so Wexford hurries off to chew his worries over with him. The contrast between the two is delightful. Wexford begins to tell him a tale that `can't all be told tonight'..."I doubt if you'll believe me but I know you'll listen and you'll keep it to yourself." Brr! The tale builds and grows, beginning with an old murder, different times, before the days of dna, and many other things, remote locking of car doors, phone calls made without a thought and very early tv viewing, it draws you in and proceeds in a most satisfactory way. Harking back, over a glass of red wine in the snug of a pub, Wexford admits to Burden that he knows something terrible but he hasn't spoken of it before. The method of relating this tale in such a confidential way makes it all the more personal and exciting. They have to leave when others sit closely. On to Burden's house for more talk - to his quiet study. The listener is right there, an unseen companion. What fun.

The gripping mysteries meander on, the Targo based one narrated Ancient Mariner style by Wexford to Burden at several different venues. Frequent recourse to memories of the past, with comparisons to the present day makes this also a charming social history in the easiest of forms to take in. Running alongside the bees buzzing in Wexford's bonnet are worries about a young Muslim woman who is causing concern for Burden's teacher wife Jenny. Again Nigel Anthony can do female voices without being annoying, Jenny and Helen the police officer responsible for racial issues. Humour too is offered in Wexford's gentle teasing ways and his observations are sometimes quietly amusing.

Life in Kings Markham continues to keep pace with modern ways, Llamas living in the garden of the Old Vicarage, a school girl in hiJab, computers that baffle Wexford - who needs help from his bright grandson, a new anxiety about political incorrectness. Lovely touches, moments of everyday life. Dora is there reading the paper, only half listening but able to make quick connections, she is very much a feature of Ruth Rendell's reflecting mood. A happy connection that Dora came from Cornwall - where I live - after a false start with Wexford meeting the frightening MeDora first. It was sweet to know more of their early days. Babies, happy married life, but still Targo haunting him, stalking him along the years.

Half way through the book the meaning of the title is explained. By now things are getting very close to home for Wexford. The chill is setting in and we can take this strange story more seriously.

If this is the last of the Wexford books it is certainly a fitting finale, tying up loose ends and preserving the character of Wexford as he richly deserves. Still curious, thoughtful, human, alert and true to himself. He indulges in much nostalgia throughout this book which makes it feel like an ending of sorts.

Listening to it on the cds made me feel completely absorbed in the world of "The Monster in the Box" and time flew by. Four hours in all seem very good value, another reviewer has noted that it is a short book, but as an audio there is plenty enough here to get involved with. I recommend this format for the different experience of being read to in such a way that you forget the constraints of your situation while truly relaxing and enjoying the highly satisfactory story here.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellently-read version of unusual Wexford story, 23 Oct. 2009
By 
Alan Pavelin (Chislehurst, UK) - See all my reviews
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Reviewing an audio book is, of course, different from reviewing a printed book, and in this instance, whereas I would have awarded 3 or 4 stars to the printed book, I can stretch it to 5 stars for the excellent reading by Nigel Anthony. He needs to master several different accents, and to distinguish at least 2 characters for some of these accents, and to my ear he is faultless. His Sussex-accented Wexford sounds identical to the actor who portrays him on TV, and I had no difficulty at all in distinguishing every word (unlike, for example, some of the chit-chat which often passes for conversation on BBC Radio 4 programmes).
As for the story, it is unusual in that it stretches back to around 1960, at the start of Wexford's career. There must be at least 100 occasions in the book when Wexford reveals his age, or should one say his attitude to the modern, in "grumpy old man" observations about how words or social mores have changed. There is a lot of psychology in it, not just Wexford's way of thinking but also the character of the mysterious Targo, who could well have stepped out of a Patricia Highsmith novel.
At nearly 9 hours in length, spread over 8 CDs, it is highly recommended if you like this sort of thing.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 3 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: The Monster in the Box: (A Wexford Case) (Paperback)
Good read, highly recommend
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 3 May 2015
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Ruth never lets me down
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Novel - adapted well for audiobook, 21 Jan. 2010
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North of England Way (Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
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I'm not the biggest fan of Ruth Rendell and Wexford, but this book came as a real surprise.
The plot is superb, really keeping you guessing until the last minute 'who dun it?' The story although across 8CD seems very short and fast paced, excellently crafted.
The adaptation for audiobook by BBC Audio is exactly what you would expect from a company with a history of great audio novelisation - read superbly by Nigel Anthony, an Actor with a great reputation for audiobooks. He performs the various voices in a superb, engaging way. This along with BBC Audio effect additions make for a thrilling listen.
I couldn't recommend this more highly, superb book, and brilliantly adapted for audiobook (I've listen to is 4 times now...)
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So what Wexford is ancient but still rocking it, 18 Feb. 2010
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Lilly Penhaligon (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I don't care if Wexford is 102, I still love his mysteries and Ruth Rendall is a master of suspense.

I won't repeat the synopsis which others have provided more eloquently than I could have done but I will say that this package was delightfully put together with two double sided cd cases enclosed in a remarkably thin and neat box which makes it ideal for storage in the car (which is where I listened) or if you've got shelves groaning under the weight of all the other talking book cds.

The reading was nicely done by Nigel Targo who has a relaxing and pleasant voice which added to a very suspenseful telling.

All in all another good outing by Wexy and a great gift for a fellow fan.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thorough, well-produced thriller- but not the best Wexford. For fans only., 19 Nov. 2009
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M. W. Hatfield "mwhatfield" (Gainsborough, Lincolnshire) - See all my reviews
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Beautifully read and produced, this will appeal to fans of Wexford, thriller fans in general, and those who love an engrossing audio book. Or will it? Because, though well-produced, this is essentially a mediocre Wexford tale, predictable in its outline,only enlivened by its time-shifting narrative, which is as likely to irritate and displease fans as to engage them. But if you're not a Wexian, the truth is...this is okay. Some neat characterisation and clear plotting will engage the casual listener, but it lacks the power and verisimilitude of Rendell's best works. It's not rubbish, and worth spending some time with- but it will not linger in your memory as the best Rendells do.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars, 15 April 2015
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Not my favourite read
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Reg Retrospective, 20 Nov. 2009
By 
Lulu (London) - See all my reviews
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Perhaps not the most satisfying of Ruth Rendell's novels, but Wexford fans will want this if only for the fascinating glimpses into Wexford's early career and the development of his tenacious reliance on his instincts. His recognition of his 'type' of woman and his pursuit of the elusive Medora is both touching and comic, and presents us with a dilemma: do we trust Reg's hunch in the present case, or not? Audiobooks are an excellent medium for crime novels; I greatly prefer unabridged readings to dramatised versions, and Nigel Anthony is a perfect narrator. He brings the characters vividly to life, creates atmosphere and conveys relationships perfectly; a delight to listen to.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 6 Nov. 2014
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This review is from: The Monster in the Box: (A Wexford Case) (Paperback)
Excellent as always
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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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