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Kissing the Gunner's Daughter: An Inspctor Wexford Novel [Mass Market Paperback]

Ruth Rendell
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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4.3 out of 5 stars
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5.0 out of 5 stars Rendell scores with a perfect hit! May 3 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"The thirteenth of May is the unluckiest day of the year. Things will be infinitely worse if it happens to fall on a Friday. That year, however, it was a Monday and quite bad enough....in the morning he ( Sergeant Martin of Kingsmarkham CID) had found a gun in the case his son took to school." And it was also to be Sergeant Martin's last day on earth!
In this absolute thriller by Ruth Rendell, the author begins "Kissing the Gunner's Daughter," and she doesn't let go of the suspense until the book is finished. A longtime fan of Rendell's Chief Inspector Wexford series, I believe this is my favorite, and I've read them all. Rendell, often called the "Queen of Crime" by the Brits (in fairness, so has P.D. James and Ellis Peters--it depends on which publisher you're reading, I suppose!) presents her lovable Wexford and assistant Mike Burden out to solve another crime in Kingsmarkham.
Police are called when three bodies are discovered shot at Tancred House; only the seventeen-year-old daughter of one of the victims survives; it is from her that the police get their initial clues. As the story develops, of course, not all the clues are what they seem. Wexford is at his best and as the list of suspects continues to grow, it is his remarkable powers of deduction and intuition that prevail.
Along the way, the chief inspector must struggle with a rift he has recently had with his daughter Sheila--this affects his abilities to see clearly, too.
The "Sunday Times" writes that "Ruth Rendell has quite simply transformed the genre of crime writing. She deploys her peerless skills in blending the mundane, commonplace aspects of life with the potent, murky impulses of desire and greed, obsession and fear." In "Kissing the Gunner's Daughter" she holds the reader spellbound to its explosive end. It is a novel that begins and ends not with a whimper but with a bang!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Think quality, not quantity... Sept. 5 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is a long novel, and while lengthiness isn't at all a bad quality, Ruth Rendell has proven repeatedly that her tight, densely structured mysteries function best in shorter, more compact versions. Contrast "Kissing the Gunner's Daughter," a massive 380-page novel with earlier Wexfords like "Shake Hands Forever" and "Death Notes," and it's clear why.
While certainly above and beyond the average murder mystery, "Kissing the Gunner's Daughter" is a seriously overblown effort, a novel that progresses slowly for the first three quarters and then moves dizzyingly fast in the final quarter. It's hard for the reader to catch interest in the beginning, and even harder to keep track of many of the plot complexities that emerge toward the end. As opposed to her earlier works, stinging little gems that didn't waste a single word, this book is filled with enough descriptions of foliage to turn off a horticulturist.
Ruth Rendell is often compared with P.D. James. Both are superior crime novelists. For ingenious plotting and dazzling surprise twists, Rendell definitely outdoes James. But for a longer, more literate read, P.D. James is still the master.
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3.0 out of 5 stars So far, so good April 29 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Of course this story could be real, (people who kill their parents for the money), the main story is interesting but some clues are taken from the hand. in the firsts chapters you read how is the woods out of the house about 3 times and that keeps you boring. It has to many characters and you have to put attention to each one so you can follow the story, nevertheless not all the characters are important.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Why Ruth Rendell is a Terrific Writer July 14 2000
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is a well-plotted, fascinating book. Rendell handles numerous characters and sub-plots with ease. Somehow she ties it all together at the end, although a few of the coincidences are beyond belief. Her descriptions of the English countryside are beautifully phrased. This is one of my favorites. The last page is truly chilling to imagine. Buy this book!
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