Put On By Cunning: (A Wexford Case) Paperback – 4 Feb 2010
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"One of the best novelists writing today" (P.D. James)
"The most brilliant mystery novelist of our time" (Patricia Cornwell)
"Probably the greatest living crime writer in the world" (Ian Rankin)
"[Wexford] has become an old friend who gets better with age" (Herald)
"Rendell has quite simply transformed the genre of crime writing. She displays her peerless skill in blending the mundane, commonplace aspects of life with the potent murky impulses of desire and greed, obsession and fear" (Sunday Times)
'One of the best novelists writing today.' (P.D. James)
'The most brilliant mystery novelist of our time.' (Patricia Cornwell)
'Probably the greatest living crime writer in the world.' (Ian Rankin)
'[Wexford] has become an old friend who gets better with age.' (The Herald)
'Rendell has quite simply transformed the genre of crime writing. She displays her peerless skill in blending the mundane, commonplace aspects of life with the potent murky impulses of desire and greed, obsession and fear.' (The Sunday Times) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
It tells the story of the investigation into the death of renowned flautist Sir Manuel Camargue, who is found dead in a snow-drift having ventured outside his house during the night. At first it seems a straightforward case of death by misadventure; a nice easy case for Wexford to tie up. However, wexford has his niggling doubts, which are strengthened by the return of Camargue's estranged daughter, now his heiress, after a considerable absence of 19 years.
As I say, Put on By Cunning is a fine enough novel by any standard, but just not quite as engaging or special or interesting as Rendell's novels usually are. Certainly not the one to start with. This probably requires an already healthy appreciation of the series.
There's some beautiful writing here: how economically yet vividly she evokes Kingsmarkham in winter, California in spring and then, at the end, the atmosphere of evening in a tiny town in the south of France. I've always thought Ruth Rendell was a mistress at describing the sky; and she does this without resort to fancy words for blue or unusual adjectives - plain language producing far from plain imagery.
Again, for these new editions, Arrow need to employ better proofreaders. This text appears to have been copy-typed fast and not checked. Typos every three or four pages: at least two "Wexfrods"; several dropped capitals; two-letter words inverted; and even a couple of sentences that simply don't make sense! Please sort this out, Arrow - the Chief Inspector deserves better than this!
So it was a surprise to find Wexford taking his holidays in my native California. It was like seeing someone you recognize but can't place because they aren't in the place you normally see them. He and wife Dora make the trip in the second half of the book, and it's fun to see Wexford driving up Highways 1 and 101 and hearing his impressions of the places and people. He may have been hallucinating at one point when he saw a sign announcing the next town with its elevation listed in meters. Not likely. There was a time in the Seventies when the mileage signs were marked in both miles and kilometers, but often as not, the metric portion of the sign had bullet holes in it and eventually the government gave up on trying to introduce the metric system to an unwilling, even hostile, population. Our loss.
Wexford spends most of his two week holiday in California chasing down clues in a case he is supposed to have abandoned, but finds himself obsessed by. His wife goes sightseeing without him, and seems to be having a fine old time with an old flame who'd relocated to Los Angeles years ago.
Not long after the Wexfords return from California, Wexford manages to find it necessary to pursue the case to the South of France, but this time with his sidekick, Mike Burden.
The mystery itself gets quite complicated as Wexford chases down one false lead after another. It takes several pages of explaining to get all the pieces to fit in this one.
I'm still not sure I bought the whole mystery and its convoluted explanation, but going along with Wexford on his travels was certainly worth the ride.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
She never fails, another good book, shame there won't be any more.Published 10 months ago by Mrs. D.P. Lewis
what a great mind ruth rendall has a great story line a sure 5 istill did not suspect who was the killer.
highly reccommend this book to all who dunnit's
Only just holds one's interest with the help,in my own case, of being kept indoors by cold weather. It has, however, a pawkiness which keeps the finger wiping the screen.Published 16 months ago by Jonathan Ettrick.