Top positive review
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The Murder at the Vicarage revisited
on 25 August 2013
I didn't expect to like the new Inspector Wexford novel. The Vault was pretty dire - hard to swallow and generally dull. But No Man's Nightingale is a jolly enough tale, compelling if not gripping, with some entertaining characters. I liked Jeremy Legge, proto-sociopath, and there was more than a sprinkling of personality disorders kicking around.
Ruth Rendell has always been pretty dodgy on race and racism. She's seems at times fixated on it, but somehow always misses the mark. She condescends grotesquely to ethnic minority characters: their colour is their defining feature and they're invariably beautiful, noble, elegant and exotic. She means well, I'm sure of it, but it's painful. Having said that, this book is by no means the worst example of this inverted racism (Not in the Flesh is the worst for that I think).
I'm so fond of Wexford, though. I've grown up with him. I would love to drink sherry with him and Dora. I'll forgive a lot where he's concerned. I'll forgive, for instance, the ludicrous manner in which he becomes part of this investigation; I'll forgive his "hunches" - always a cop out in detective fiction.
A few typos in the Kindle edition, but nothing major apart from the bizarre copy-editing blooper over the name of the supermarket.
All in all, hang your disbelief at the door and you'll enjoy a decent read.
Three-and-three-quarters stars ...