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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 31 August 2011
I was reading an American forensic crime novel You Belong To Me that was failing to capture my interest when The Vault was delivered. I switched books and was immediately hooked by the story and Ruth Rendell's elegant writing. She manages, without excessive descriptive prose, to paint a picture that I can see in my mind's eye and create believable characters. I've enjoyed many Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine books and generally prefer the Wexford series owing to her creation of strong and admirable core of characters: Wexford, his wife Dora and fellow police officer, Burdon: an enjoyment aided by the TV series with three excellent actors playing those parts to put real flesh on the fictional people.

It makes a pleasant change from most other detective series, bar Donna Leon's Brunetti, that Wexford is a happily married man, with a family, who doesn't get drunk or smoke and, though sometimes a little irritable, generally gets on with his colleagues. The Vault is a departure from the rest of the Wexford books in that he has now retired from the police force. However, he is co-opted by a former colleague, now working in London, to help solve the mystery of how four bodies ended up in an underground coal cellar. Adding to the difficulty of solving the crime(s) is that one of the bodies has been dead for a far shorter time than the other three.

I gather that this book is a sequel to A Sight For Sore Eyes, which didn't involve Wexford. I don't recall reading that novel and don't think the omission spoiled my appreciation of The Vault.

I see from other reviews that not all are pleased by this book, however, I found it most enjoyable. I liked reading about Wexford's perambulations around London; his family dramas and his opinions about modern life. I prefer detective stories that don't involve a lot of savage violence described in lascivious detail, but instead build up clues, forensic details and intuition to finally solve the case. I rarely work out who "who dunnit" and don't try to, instead just enjoy the journey to the final page.

I haven't given the book 5 stars as it isn't the most riveting page-turner, but I do feel its well wroth reading.
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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 9 September 2017
What can you say, if it's Rendell it's good
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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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