A New Lease of Death Audio Cassette – Jun 1998
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|Audio Cassette, Jun 1998||
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"One of the best novelists writing today" -- P.D. James "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 "Rendell never fails to come up trumps, and her millions of admirers will eagerly consume this offering as they have all the others" The Irish Times "Ruth Rendell's mesmerising capacity to shock, chill and disturb is unmatched" The Times "A firm grasp of social concerns ensure that her novels are reflective of our own times, as well as hugely absorbing" -- Louise Welsh The Times --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 UKs 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.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
As the novel begins, Chief Inspector Wexford recalls his first murder case: the ax murder of an elderly woman. Fortunately for the then-inexperienced Wexford, the case was remarkably straight-forward; the woman's handyman was obviously guilty. But now, some fifteen years later, a Vicar named Archery has requested an interview with Wexford about the case, and when he arrives he wants to know if there was even a remote possibility that the man convicted was innocent after all. When Wexford negates the idea, Archery sets off on his own to interview the various people connected with the case, hoping to prove Wexford wrong.
The premise is much more interesting than the novel itself. The book opens with no less than two full chapters of exposition--and then Rendell's oddities take over, knocking herself out to expose the psychology of her characters, whether such has any bearing on the story or not. As for the mystery itself... Rendell writes and presents the story exactly as if she were creating a murder mystery, but there is no mystery, none at all, just a series of revelations that arise through pure coincidence and lead every one to some very obvious conclusions about everything from the crime itself to the way in which their lives have been affected by it.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This is the second in the Wexford series and very good it is too. There is little overt violence and a great deal of interesting insights into all the characters. The psychological aspects of the murder and its effects on the people concerned are very well done and convincing. I like the police characters and the way Wexford and Burden interact.
I first read this series more than twenty years ago and it has stood the test of time very well indeed and the books bear re-reading.
The story vacillates around who killed Mrs. Primero. Did Painter do it or not? If not, who could have and who did?
This book delivers what I think of as a traditional English murder mystery featuring small country towns, walks down High Street, drives in the country, and decrepit houses. Elements exist of honor and morality; where sex is subtle - a touch of a hand, an innocent kiss and adultery is all in the mind.
The story is compelling because we view it from the fears and concerns of a father for his son who, as an adult, has become intimately involved in the ramifications of the murder even though the son was a young child at the time of the murder.
At the end of the story a twist comes into view that I did not see coming but helps to resolve the dilemma of the impact of the murder all these years later.
His motivation is rather fanciful, that the child of a notorious murderer is somehow tainted either morally or biologically(!) by her parent’s crime even though she was a pre-schooler when the murder happened. This is the “bad blood” theory in full flower that I guess it was still prevalent in Britain into the 1960s (I believe there are some Agatha Christie novels that hinge on a similar assumption).
Anyway, the mystery is kind of interesting, though the good reverend’s amateur sleuthing gets rather irritating, especially when he gets tangled up with a local beauty and doesn’t know how to handle his feelings. I would have much preferred the professional approach of Wexford on the case.
At this point in her career, Rendell seemed fixated on amateurs doing semi-competent detective work. Her two previous novels, Vanity Dies Hard and To Fear a Painted Devil, both had largely out-of-their-league snoopers as the focus, but at least those were standalones. New Lease is supposed to be a Wexford novel, but at this point I guess she wasn’t thinking of a long term series. Here, he is merely a recurring character.
Fortunately, I believe she did begin to focus on Wexford with a second book she published in 1967, Wolf to the Slaughter, which I will be reviewing in due course. Meanwhile, I think New Lease of Death is more for Rendell completists who want to see how Wexford’s character was developed in the early books in which he’s featured.
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