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End In Tears: (A Wexford Case)
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on 24 June 2014
As I continue my re-read of all Ruth Rendell's Wexford novels, I come to the very mixed bag that is 'End In Tears'. For me, this one starts out well with an intriguing plot and (initially) interesting and believable characters. As always with the Wexford novels (at least the later ones) there is an Issue and here it is surrogacy. The Wexford Family Subplot ties in with this because least loved daughter Sylvia (where has Sheila been recently?) is pregnant too. I always find these particular subplots disappointing because the outcome is always so predictable. I understand that Rendell wants us to feel involved with Wexford and his family but these bits, for me at least, are often the weakest parts of the novel. Even Dora Wexford is rather unlikeable here, being uncharacteristically selfish - never mind, it all works out well for her!

I don't mind the ridiculously PC Hannah Goldsmith too much - I suspect that we are supposed to find her ridiculous, certainly at the start of the novel. I do think that her budding romance takes up far too much time. She is also at the heart of what is supposed to be a tense scene towards the end of the novel but, for me at least, is just too melodramatic to swallow - the villain and his henchmen behave and speak EXACTLY as you would expect such cliched characters to do; its almost funny! The action scene at the bridge doesn't really work either. I suppose that is my biggest problem with this novel - when it moves away from the domestic into the world of 'organised crime'. I think Rendell does better with the former.

I was fairly satisfied with the final denouement (although, as usual, Wexford takes far too long getting to what is supposed to be the 'big reveal') and most of it made sense - elaborately constructed alibis aside! For me then, this is quite a patchy novel. There are some good bits and some good characters but also quite a lot of dull and/or poorly constructed characters. As often happens with the Wexford novels, we just don't get to spend enough time with some of the main players to really understand them - and that's a pity.
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on 27 April 2008
Slow, methodical detective work, rendering the content of this book a bit too slow itself, therefore not entirely to my taste. However, this is my first mystery by Ruth Rendell and I was not acquainted with its main characters and their personal history, which I understand follow a long succession of books. `Knowing' them beforehand may have been useful to appreciate this book a little more, but I have the feeling that my opinion after turning the last page would have been unaltered whether I did or not.
A BIT OF A *SPOILER* FOLLOWS UNLESS YOU HAVE READ THE AMAZON DESCRIPTION ABOVE AND SOME OF THE REVIEWS
In any case, their previous acquaintance would not have mattered with reference to the central theme in this book, which explores the murder of eighteen-year-old Amber in a quiet village in Sussex. Soon after, another young lady, Megan, disappears and is later found murdered. Although coming from very different social backgrounds, the police find out that the two girls knew each other and they had two things in common: youth -it goes without saying- and a child each. What could have led someone to kill them?
END OF *SPOILER*
Hard to pinpoint the facts as they are elusive up until the very last page of the book. They are also, along with the characters, quite muddled up and a bit hard to follow. Wexford's personal life and the one of some of his co-workers provide for a bit of a diversion, even though they all sooner or later connect with the central theme in a plausible juxtaposition.

All in all, it was not the best mystery novel I've read -and I read many-. What lacked here was a certain compactness within the characters which rendered the story less consistent than it should have been, considering the disturbing motive lurking behind the murders (which the reader picks up only toward the middle of the book).
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on 27 September 2016
I love the Wexford novels. I had to smile at the way Hannah, a fervent politically-correct feminist was always suppressing her rage at Wexford's gentler way of speaking to people. I think by the end of the book she was softening a bit, thank goodness. Two girls (sorry Hannah, young women) have been murdered. Just when you think you've found the killer, he or she slips away leaving you to try again. Good cast of characters, skillfully woven into the plot.
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VINE VOICETOP 500 REVIEWERon 21 November 2010
Ruth Rendall gives her readers excellent value. Deeper than the average DI, Wexford ponders quietly and we feel his pain. This mystery centres on the brutal murders of two young women and for once it takes the team a season to solve. Bubbling under the surface are tensions within the force, a family dilemma for the Wexfords that drives them momentarily apart, and the assimilation of the new for Kingsmarkham. A tale to leave you mentally invigorated by the ending - you feel the mechanisms all tumbling into place as the lock is turned.
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on 1 December 2007
Rendell is a very fine storyteller with a real affinity for the English language. She is adept at bringing characters to life, and at making the reader really care who the perpetrator was. She keeps the reader guessing until the very last few pages.

My one reservation about this novel is the convenient way in which Wexford's daughter's personal circumstances resonated with the victims'; this subplot seemed a little sledgehammerish and contrived. Much as I relate to the character of Sylvia Wexford, it was this issue that led me to rate the novel as 4* not 5*.
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on 30 September 2017
A superb series. Please don't be put off by the first book. They get better and better as Ruth Rendell developed into a master of her craft.
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on 3 May 2015
As ever good plot. However I think I have ready too many one after the other! I find the author is patronising to both the " working class" and anyone of " colour" ! Will have a rest from Wexford for a while. I can't help feeling that Ms Rendall pops in quotes etc. just to show how clever she is
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on 25 May 2015
Kept me glued to the book, finished it in three days, BUT the final out come
was a little confusing, nevertheless a great read and we have lost another
of the Great crimewriters, P. D. James being another.
Lets hope that S.J. or Sharon Bolton maintains the reputation for British crime writers
so far I,ve loved everything she,s written and cant wait for her latest novel to be
released.
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on 18 April 2015
Ruth Rendell continues to amaze me with her seemingly bottomless store of brilliantly constructed and wholly believable plots. You feel that you know the characters, so cleverly does she draw them. A MUST READ!
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on 8 December 2013
Not the best Wexford I have read. Didn't grip me to read right through at once. I have been picking it up and putting it down. On the other hand, gripping enough not to give up on - although reading it slowly, I do want to find out what happens at the end!
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