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The Vault: (A Wexford Case) Paperback – 10 May 2012

3.9 out of 5 stars 179 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow; 01 edition (10 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099557355
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099557357
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (179 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 199,704 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"Ruth Rendell is a marvel, and in the latest Inspector Wexford mystery she's on cracking form ...A total page-turner - and one of Rendell's very, very best novels." (A.N. Wilson)

"Everything that is brilliant about Rendell's writing is present in abundance in this novel: the vivid scene-setting, the knife-sharp social observations, the tiny telling details that contribute so powerfully to characterisation . . . The Vault is an excellent addition to an incredibly impressive series." (Sunday Express)

"The Vault sees Rendell for the first time marry the two genres she is master of: the psychological thriller and the police whodunit . . There's not a clue out of place or a shoehorned plotline in sight." (Time Out)

"Now Wexford has retired, Rendell has spotted an opportunity to bring her two strands together in a superb novel called The Vault . . . the author's sheer technical skill is evident as she effortlessly brings the original story up to date. Only a novelist whose characters feel intensely real to her could pull off such a coup." (Sunday Times)

"The Vault, as a sort-of-sequel is a bold attempt to combine Rendell's two chosen specialties: the police procedural and the psychological thriller. No one hides the clues better than her; no one else creates such a pervasive atmosphere of almost comic disgust and dread." (Evening Standard)


'Unequivocally, the most brilliant mystery writer of our time. She magnificently triumphs in a style that is uniquely hers and mesmerising.' (Patricia Cornwell) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Matt TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 22 Aug. 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
While I have enjoyed Ruth Rendell's work for many years, the Inspector Wexford series has always held less interest for me than her standalone and Barbara Vine novels, and in recent years the quality of these stories in particular seems to have dropped off alarmingly. The most recent, 2009's 'The Monster In The Box', was a chore to read: a central villain with an absurdly unconvincing excuse for a motive, a less than thrilling plot about a possible forced marriage, and worst of all, a poor attempt at retelling Wexford's personal history, which not only contradicted her earlier novels but was full of the most risible coincidences - how could anyone take seriously the proposition that a young Wexford fell for two similar-looking women, both called Dora and both encountered in Cornwall within the space of a few months?

Needless to say, I wasn't looking forward to 'The Vault' with any great enthusiasm...which made it all the more pleasant a surprise. Wexford has been given a new lease of life by his retirement and relocation to London. Here we find him meeting a policeman he worked with on an earlier case ('Murder Being Once Done') and being asked to assist in a new investigation involving a number of bodies discovered under a patio.

This book is a semi-sequel to the 1998 standalone novel 'A Sight For Sore Eyes' - it isn't absolutely necessary to have read that book first, but it does add to the enjoyment (and it's very good in it's own right). I was concerned that, knowing the story from that book, there would be no new mystery here. However, another body has been left under the patio of Orcadia Cottage since the end of 'A Sight For Sore Eyes', and this gradually becomes the focus of Wexford's investigation.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'll start by saying I am a devoted Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine fan, often buying her books as soon as they are published.................but after some below average offerings in the last few years I have to say The Vault is just about rock bottom.

In general a long ramble with a sub-plot involving one of Wexford's daughters which wasn't really a "plot" at all (in fact I am convinced it was added at some stage just to make the book up to a respectable page count!). The book is a sad sequel to the magnificent "Sight For Sore Eyes" featuring a now-retired Wexford, whom we are to believe recently left a top ranking police career without ever managing to learn how to send an email, use the internet or to have even gained a passing knowledge of police data bases. No, Wexford tracks down his witnesses by walking the streets of London and "accidently" happening on the right people, and by interviewing suspects despite the fact he has no official standing whatsoever.

Rendell was always spot on with the psychology of her characters, sadly this no longer applies - people act out of character throughout the book, and by the time I reached the last few chapters I could not care less whodunnit as the whole plot was beyond belief - we have millionaires living in shabby flats, a woman who is scared of the police suddenly making a formal complaint, owners of expensive housing blithely leaving gates and doors unlocked in a capital city and Wexford acting like a Victorian patriach.

I can only assume one of two things: Either the publishers are simply willing to print anything with Rendell's name on it for the sake of profit, no matter how bad the book OR the publishers are scared to offer Rendell constructive criticism in case they lose their cash-cow.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm a great fan of Ruth Rendell's, but have struggled with most of her recent offerings, and this latest one struck me as terribly lame, especially if you've read its prequel, 'A Sight for Sore Eyes'. Where's the pleasure in reading 200 pages of implausible investigation about three bodies whose deaths you already know everything about, and then just 60 devoted to the fourth murder, whose perpetrator has been referred to so little that it's hard to feel anything on disclosure?

This one is at least better written than most of her others of late, but it's riddled with flaws. The blame lies with her publishers, of course, who are like all the rest in the trade, in not giving a monkey's about the quality of the books they publish so long as they sell - another example of the contempt with which big-business-people treat the customers who pay their wages.

Some of the problems that should have been picked up by the proofreader or copy editor:

* If Wexford has been thinking constantly about this man they believe was called Keith HILL, and then comes across a Francine HILL, why does it take him two days to realise that she could be the Francine they're looking for? Not what you'd expect of an experienced policeman with a functioning memory, is it?
* Lucy Blanch is a young London cop, and she doesn't know what "to take a butcher's" means? Come off it.
* Martin Rokeby is devastated by the loss in value of his home caused by the bodies found in the 'vault', but then decides he's keen to go ahead with his original plan to develop it into an underground room. Aside from the psychological unlikeliness of this (a rare lapse for Rendell), he would have to be mad to do so. Who would buy a house with an underground room in which four bodies had been found?
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16 Comments 18 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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