Buy Used
FREE Delivery on orders over £10.
Used: Good | Details
Sold by Tree Savers
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: A used book that is in good, clean condition. Your item will be picked, packed and posted FREE to you within the UK by Amazon, also eligible for super saver delivery
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Not in the Flesh: (A Wexford Case) Hardcover – 2 Aug 2007

3.7 out of 5 stars 73 customer reviews

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
£4.49 £0.01
click to open popover

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Hutchinson; ... edition (2 Aug. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0091920590
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091920593
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 2.6 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,121,186 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

The wait is over: here’s a new Wexford novel. And Not in the Flesh is one of the sharpest, most astringent outings for Ruth Rendell’s doughty copper in some time. Rendell's studies in dark psychology (which have at their centre characters who appear only in individual novels) are the most highly regarded among aficionados of her wok, but the unalloyed good feeling prompted by a fresh appearance for her long-term protagonist Inspector Wexford is something to be savoured, and we are once again in safe hands here.

A man taking his dog for a walk in a wooded area stumbles across a grim object -- a severed human hand. The body to which it belongs has been hidden from sight for years, as Wexford subsequently finds out. Of course, with the uncountable numbers of missing persons in police files, Wexford is well aware it will be an uphill struggle tracking down the identity of the body. Shortly after, in the basement of a disused cottage, another victim of violence is discovered, and Wexford and his reliable team find themselves attempting to discover connections between the murders.

Readers might wonder if the production of these utterly surefire Wexford books is an east task for Rendell (as opposed to the rigours of the grimmer psychological novels written under her own name, or the nom de plume Barbara Vine), but there's never a sense of the author on autopilot; this is professional, well-honed, engrossing stuff. --Barry Forshaw


"Rendell's genius with the whodunnit form works to make everything doubly vital. Without being remotely didactic, she is the pre-eminent thematic novelist of her day... Jane Austen would have approved of Rendell's cliché-dissecting wit... It's impossible to imagine her writing anything devoid of import. She is one of the rare breed that make you feel privileged to be around at the same time as they are. She doles out death so that we might feel more alive." (New Statesman)

"If Ruth Rendell were not slotted into the category of writer of mystery novels, she would have won the Booker long ago" (Gerald Kaufman)

"Ruth Rendell's books are not only whodunits but whydunits, uncovering the motive roots of murder" (Mail on Sunday)

"Gripping and memorable." (Sunday Times)

"Probably the greatest living crime writer in the world" (Ian Rankin)

See all Product Description

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Searching for truffles in a local wood, a man and his dog unearth a human hand. That hand eventually turns into an entire skeleton when the police dig up the surrounding ground. An entire skeleton robed in a decaying purple sheet, a cracked rib the only sign that the body might have met a death by violence. Investigations reveal that the body has been interred since a trench was dug 11 years ago in order to prepare to build houses the planning permission for which was later denied. However, the identity of the corpse remains a complete mystery. Then, a second body is found in a nearby abandoned house, and that has been there for many years as well...

Not in the Flesh is something like Rendell's 56th book, her 21st Wexford story. So far, the reviews I have seen have not been kind to it. Some of their criticisms are valid: there's some sloppiness (for example, Wexford on one page putting his faith in hunches and the next condemning intuition), and in tying up one plot point in the final pages she leaves another more vital one (a motive for one of the murders, no less!) completely open), and some lazy plotting whereby character's lives are handily furnished with significant events which allow them to remember a specific day eleven years ago.

However, other criticisms aren't. The moaning about Wexford not aging (every review comes concomitant with a snide comment that Wexford should be ancient or his daughters over 60) seems childish, lazy reviewing picking on easy targets. Since when has real-time been a particular concern of much crime-fiction?
Read more ›
3 Comments 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Despite the fact that most of her admirers would doubtless choose one of her other guises (the non-Wexford Rendell books or the Barbara Vine novels) as representing her best work, the Inspector Wexford series remains Ruth Rendell's most popular output. There have certainly been some very good Wexford stories over the forty-odd years since his first appearance, but the conventions of writing a police procedural sometimes seem to stifle Ms Rendell's fervid imagination, which is given free reign in her other books. Obviously both the public and her publishers still want her to produce Wexford novels on a regular basis, but it seems as if her interest in her most famous creation has waned over the years, and in some of her recent Wexfords such as 'Babes In the Wood' it really felt she was writing out of duty and obligation rather than choice. However, the Chief Inspector's last case, 'End In Tears', was a marked improvement, and although 'Not In The Flesh' isn't its equal, I'd still rate it as one of the better Wexford novels of the past decade or so.

The central crime - the discovery of two bodies on a plot of land which have remained undiscovered for a decade - is intriguing, although perhaps the motive behind the crimes won't come as a shock; I had a rough idea of what lay behind the mystery long before the Chief Inspector himself did. Nevertheless, it manages to keep the reader engrossed until the end. As usual, there is a sub-plot which involves Wexford's family, and this time it concerns the horrifying practice of female circumcision. Ms Rendell handles the subject as thoughtfully and sensitively as long-time fans would expect, and the climax to this story strand is nail-biting.
Read more ›
Comment 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
By Sophie Masson VINE VOICE on 28 Sept. 2007
Format: Hardcover
I love Ruth Rendell's novels, and especially the Wexford ones. But this one is a real disappointment. It feels slapdash, put together hastily, with a sub-plot on female genital mutilation amongst Somali immigrants that has nothing to do with the crime and just feels like it's been stuck in there as an obligatory contemporary British íssue or something. There's no real feel for Wexford himself, the author appears to be tired of him. And there's a truly awful irritating politically correct constable called Hannah who just set my teeth on edge so much and that I could hardly believe in as a real flesh and blood person. Plus the black policeman Damon also seems like a cobbled-together character with little real life of his own, just there to provide a token black policeman. And the constant characterisation of Somali women as being so beautiful just got on my nerves, it seemed a kind of reverse prejudice in some ways.
To make matters worse, I guessed the motive and the criminal long before the book ended, it seemed pretty obvious to me. I read it to the end but only because of a lingering loyalty, and because the writing itself is smooth enough. But I was never in the action, and I did not at all engage with the characters. The whole thing felt forced, as if the author was fed up of the whole thing but was tossing it off because readers might expect it. A bad move!
I'd give it 2 and a half stars but not couldn't bring myself to give it 3.
Comment 16 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'm afraid I found this very disappointing, particularly having just read (and thoroughly enjoyed) `The Water's Lovely'. I am not such a fan of Ms Rendell's Wexford novels (preferring her Barbara Vine books) so perhaps I shouldn't have expected to like it more. However, I found the main plot unusually (for Rendell) weak, disjointed and not particularly compelling -so many characters were brought into it, I became very confused about who was who, particularly as few stood out as particularly `rounded' or interesting.

All the stuff about political correctness seemed somewhat dated and the sub-plot about female genital mutilation was a bit `preachy' and blatantly a conscious `theme' rather than integral to the novel. I think sub-plots should relate, in some way, to the main plot of a novel but this was at a tangent and added little to the story other than extra characters.

As for the main plot, it lacked tension, both crimes having been committed so long ago. It wasn't until the novel neared its end that it cranked up a gear, by which point I'd guessed the identity of the killer as well as the motive. (nb: the motive for one of the crimes committed seemed very unlikely)
Comment 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews