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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
Format: Hardcover|Change
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on 14 October 2013
I listened to this book on audio on a long trip through Spain. The narrator was excellent. His interpretation of the many speaking voices was outstanding. It made the whole thing a pleasure to listen to.

Good plot that keeps interest by rolling along at a fair pace and a nice sub plot. Wexford's home life adds to his trials and tribulations during the investigation.

I did find a couple of issues that made me reduce the score from five to four stars.

1) There was an unbelievable coincidence that led to him discovering the key witness, the female doctor. There were other coincidences that one could just about put in the suspension of disbelief category.

2) I'm still confused over the first three bodies in the vault. I know Wexford gives some explanation but it isn't borne out with any evidence. Or perhaps I just missed that point.

I'd recommend the audio book to anyone going on a long drive or even sitting at home and listening to it as a change from the telly.
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on 10 April 2017
I am a great fan of all murder mystery novels , I have to say Ruth Rendell is my favourite writer you are totally absorbed from start to finish cannot wait to get started on the next one.
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on 9 June 2017
Loved this book,but then I like most of her books,well written with characters you should dislike,but can't quite
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on 29 March 2017
Mum loved it
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on 30 May 2017
As always Rendell keeps a good pace going and manages to tell a second story in the background. Worth reading.
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on 28 October 2016
Ruth Rendell never disappoints - and this is equal to her best ...
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on 13 January 2013
Brilliant read !! The murder plot and twist in the story kept me guessing until the end. Will re-read again
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on 14 September 2012
I always enjoy wexford but I couldn't see the point of dragging an old story back. This would have been better as a stand alone wexford case. On the plus side I did read sight for sore eyes again which is a much better book
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on 13 September 2011
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?
* Tom Ede could never have gained the status of a detective superintendent by displaying the kind of incompetence and disregard for procedures that he does. Just ridiculous.
* Wexford says he hasn't ever sent an email before the one in this novel. And he was a senior policeman during the past few decades?
* And here's the proof, if you need it, that her publishers can't be bothered with proofreading: on page 161 she refers to a 'flyover' being posted through a letter-box, instead of a flyer. Funny, but also depressing.

Surely Ruth Rendell is so powerful and wealthy that she could risk saying to her publisher: If you don't do your job with the editing, I'll take my books elsewhere.

Anyway, in summary, this book is readable and mildly entertaining, but a poor sequel to 'A Sight for Sore Eyes', which is vintage Rendell. I strongly recommended you read that, and don't bother with this one.
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It has been mentioned before that this is a sort of follow on to Sight for Sore Eyes. I'm really glad I found out about that fact because it enhanced my enjoyment of The Vault enormously. Although you can treat each book as a standalone, I definitely feel that the later of the two would give a far lesser experience of the plot and drama without having read (or listened to audiobook) of the older book.

Given that sequence and the enhancement of the stories as a result, I found the Vault fascinating in the style of Columbo when you have a pretty good idea of the crime and most of the perpetrator(s) but you are still intrigued as to how they manage to solve the apparent mystery, with some additional unexpected twists thrown in.

I'm a fan of Wexford series anyway, and I think this is a nice addition.
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