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From Doon with Death [Hardcover]

Ruth Rendell
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 31.20 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

August 1998
The first case for DCI Reg Wexford. When Margaret Parsons disappears, it's assumed that she's run off with another man. But then the missing woman's body is found and a startling discovery is made when Mr. Parsons lets the police into his home….
--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Review

"Ruth 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

"Wexford has become an old friend who gets better with age."
The Herald --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Ruth Rendell is the recipient of several awards, including three Edgars and four Gold Daggers from the UK’s Crime Writers’ Association. Simisola, Blood Lines, Keys to the Street, and The Brimstone Wedding (written as Barbara Vine) are available from Brilliance Audio. She lives in England. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good into to Rendell Nov. 3 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the first book in the Wexford and Burden series by Rendell and it is a good read. The plot revolves around a missing housewife and distraight husband who is trying to find her. The trail weaves among many different people and ends in a surprise.
This novel was written in 1964 and might seem a little bit outdated to some readers and the two main detectives are not developed yet. However, the story moves along well and keeps one interested til the end. A good start to a great series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars AWESOME READ July 11 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I read this book a long time ago and was surprised to see that more people had not read this one. This was my first Rendell book and I have been hooked ever since. It was done simply and masterfully. The author does an magnificent job of keeping the reader guessing along with the Inspectors. Wrapping your brain around this one should be fun. If this is your first mystery/thriller or a book you are just discovering, you shouldn't be disappointed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Who is Doon ? Jan. 14 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the first of Ruth Rendell's books and we are thrust into the death of Margaret Parson's. All we have are the inscriptions in books from Doon, who is Doon and what is the link to Margaret? I was so pleased to come across this novel. the first in the series of Wexford novels. This book will have you wondering who is Doon ? and you won't know till the final pages. A very good first novel and as we know the rest is history.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A memorable debut May 12 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This was Ruth Rendell's first novel and it is apparent during reading it that this was the debut of a highly gifted writer. The characters and descriptions are vivid and skillfully woven (that vase of hydrangeas in the library remains in my head) and the plot is intriguing and clever.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  70 reviews
67 of 67 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Who Was Margaret? March 29 2005
By Jana L. Perskie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"From Doon With Death" is Ruth Rendell's first novel, and also marks the literary debuts of protagonists Chief Inspector Reg Wexford, and his partner in crime solving, Inspector Mike Burden. At this somewhat late date in life, I thought it about time I explore Ms. Rendell's mysteries, and her psychological thrillers, which receive such rave reviews. "From Doon With Death" was my recent introduction to the author's work. I believe in starting at the beginning. Now I understand what all the fanfare is about. This is an excellent mystery - and it is only her first effort. I know she has matured greatly as a writer in the forty plus years since she published this book in 1964. I look forward to following her development as a writer as I continue to read her books, authored under the name of Barbara Vine, as well as Ruth Rendell.

Margaret Parsons and her husband of six years, Ronald, have recently moved to Kingsmarkham in Sussex. They are a happily married, rather introverted couple, and keep to themselves most of the time. Although Margaret is a lay preacher at the local Methodist Church, and has some acquaintances there, the two have not made any friends yet. They are definitely not wealthy and live a very frugal existence. Ronald works for the Southern Water Board at Stowerton and Margaret is a homemaker, a good one too. Their large, ugly house, is not well constructed, nor does it have a refrigerator, washing machine or other modern conveniences. It does contain, however, a small but very expensive collection of Victorian literature and poetry, bound in suede, scented leather and watered silk. All are inscribed, on the fly leaves, from Doon to Minna, and the messages are personal, romantic, and intense, to say the least.

At the book's beginning, a frantic Ronald Parsons telephones Inspector Mike Burden, a neighbor, to tell him that his wife hasn't come home that evening. The body of the thirty-two year-old woman, is found the next day, strangled in a near-by wood. She had left home with only her keys and purse, not even her coat. When the valuable book collection is discovered in a trunk in the attic, the investigation take on a new nature. Who are Minna and Doon? And who was Margaret Parsons?

Although the seemingly prim and proper Mrs. Parsons is dead when the story begins, the author paints a vivid portrait of the victim in retrospect, through the testimonies of those questioned in connection to the crime. Chief Inspector Wexford, with his countrified ways and off-beat humor, is a meticulous detective, if somewhat eccentric. Inspector Burden, also very competent, makes a wonderful straightman and side-kick. The narrative is taut, the characters diverse and original, and the mystery suspenseful. I couldn't figure out who did it. Ms. Rendell also writes a scathing commentary about the idle rich. This is a book that stands the test of time and continues to rivet its readers. I highly recommend it.
JANA
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Who is Doon ? Jan. 14 2000
By tuppence - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the first of Ruth Rendell's books and we are thrust into the death of Margaret Parson's. All we have are the inscriptions in books from Doon, who is Doon and what is the link to Margaret? I was so pleased to come across this novel. the first in the series of Wexford novels. This book will have you wondering who is Doon ? and you won't know till the final pages. A very good first novel and as we know the rest is history.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enter Inspector Wexford Nov. 15 2007
By Blue in Washington - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
"From Doon with Death" is Ruth Rendell's introduction of Inspector Reg Wexford, sidekick Sgt. Burden and the town of Kingsmarkam. All in all, it's a very good detective story with indications of the darker directions that Rendell would take the Wexford series and other books in subsequent years. For Rendell fans, there's a terrific essay on all of her work--almost to date--by critic Daniel Mallory that is almost worth the price of the book by itself.
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Wexford's First, Not His Best Jan. 11 2005
By David Cady - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Actually this is not Inspector Wexford's first case, but the first that Rendell wrote with him as the main character. In fact, if I'm not mistaken, this was her first mystery, period. And it's surprisingly dull, as far as I'm concerned. The "shocking" conclusion to me was obvious from the first few chapters -- I can't tell you why without giving it away -- and now, 30 years later, not so shocking. In fact, by today's standards, it's pretty tame, even quaint. The caliber of Rendell's work soars with her next mystery "Wolf to the Slaughter" and from there she just gets better and better. But this first effort didn't do it for me. Don't base your opinion of Rendell on this book -- unless you love it, of course! -- but do check out the rest of the Wexford mysteries, which are sublimely written and -- yes, truly -- shocking in their conclusions!
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kept me guessing from first page to the last July 12 2007
By Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is the first in the Wexford series and, I understand, Rendell's first novel. From the first page, the reader is dying to know who Doon and Minna are and how they relate to the murder of a reportedly plain and uninteresting woman. It wasn't until I neared the end that I was able to guess at any part of the solution. The tension and pace of this novel is just right -- amazing, especially for a first novel. One of the things I like best is that it hasn't been padded with the filler to which most writers resort in order to produce a 300-page book. In this shorter novel, every word counts and is worth reading. Now how often can you say that?
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