Top positive review
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Another superb early Wexford mystery
on 3 March 2004
Annoyingly, this is yet another of Rendell's excellent titles that have been left out of print. I really have no capacity to understand why her publishers have left ANY out of print; it doesn't really make any sense. Bestselling authors like Ruth Rendell, authors who are regularly acclaimed as the best there is in the genre, surely should not have their titles out of print...it just makes no finiancial sense, I would imagine.
Anyway, let me get to the review...
During the brilliantly depicted rock festival in the grounds of Sundays House - the atmosphere of this is brilliant, and is part of the reason why this book, like all her best, sparkles with an individuality that makes the experience of reading it so special - the bands play, the weather is fine, and a good time is had by all except one or two disgruntled locals. Oh, and the sometimes-grouchy Inspector Burden of course, but even he lightens up to the idea eventually. However, as the festival begins to wind itself down, two precocious lovers discover a battered body in a nearby quarry, and Inspector Wexford finds himself investigating murder rather than his earlier duty of making sure everything runs smoothly, and law-abidingly, at the festival. The body is identified as that of Dawn Stonor, a local girl who had moved to London, returning only on occasional trips to see her mother. As with all Rendell mysteries, the plot soon thickens considerably and little is as it seems...
Some Lie and Some Die ranks among Rendell's finest Wexford mysteries. It's one of my favourites, along with Wolf to the Slaughter, The Speaker of Mandarin, The Veiled One and Harm Done. It's a short little mystery, but Rendell packs such a lot in here, a lot of plot that it's an incredibly satisfying, fulfilling novel. Once again, it is a completely unique work (all of her best are; the ones which are slightly formulaic, or lack that special sparkle, like Put on by Cunning of A New Lease of Death, aren't quite so wonderful) and an excellent mystery.
It's absolutely fascinating to read; every word is palced perfectly, every shift in the story times impeccably. There is something so unique and special about reading Ruth Rendell, but it's something which is impossible to elaborate much on. It's just this little thrill; a little thrill you get at every perfect sentence combining into a perfect whole. It's also an incredibly powerful book, with an absolutely wonderful ending. I loved it.
As this book is certainly short, the characters aren't exactly incredibly well-rounded, as they are in some of her alter, longer books, but they are still sharp and pricked out with incredibly insight, almost shivering acuity. Wexford and Burden are great once more, but that goes without saying. This is another marvellous little book from Rendell - a fascinating, absorbing, special little read.