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Wolf to the Slaughter Mass Market Paperback – Jan 1 1987


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Fawcett; later printing edition (1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345345207
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345345202
  • Product Dimensions: 1.6 x 10 x 16.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #897,346 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of my favourite mystery writers, and I love this book. It was a great price and I will reread it again.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By frumiousb on Jan. 12 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ruth Rendell is a talented writer, but I often have problems with elements of her plots being a little bit predictable-- this is definitely not the case with _Wolf to the Slaughter_. The book constantly suprises and manages to do so without any deus ex machina tricks that might make it unconvincing.
A mysterious note that claims someone was murdered, a stain on a carpet that may or may not be blood, and a gold lighter with a leading inscription-- these are the only clues that Wexford and his crew have to what might not even be a crime. Mix in a slightly mad painter, three women who gave their hearts unwisely, and a young policeman in love for the first time and you've got a compelling mystery novel which is one of the best Rendells I've read to date.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 5 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Fans of Ruth Rendell who await each new Chief Inspector Wexford mystery from Ruth Rendell may wish to go back to her early works. Wolf to the Slaughter was her second Wexford mystery, written 33 years ago but with no loss of appeal for today's readers. Unworldly artist Rupert Margolis goes to the Kingsmarkham police, not to report that his younger sister Ann is missing, but to seek help finding someone to manage his household since Ann hasn't come home for several days. At the same time, Wexford receives an anonymous note reporting that a young woman named Ann was murdered by a small dark young man named Geoff Smith.
The book has the elements we have come to appreciate in Ruth Rendell mysteries, including the slow steady unraveling of the mystery by Wexford and his chief assistant Mike Burden, methodically tracking down the few leads, when they don't even have the victim's body; and an array of real human characters, such as the aging Ruby Branch, who supports the man she loves, Monkey Matthews, an ex-con well known to the Kingsmarkham police, by renting out a room for the evening no questions asked; Noreen Anstey, abandoned by her second husband, now regretting the wrong she did to her first, living alone and having to sell off her remaining valuables; and Mark Drayton, the young police officer who never lets himself get seriously involved with any young women while he works hard to advance in the police force. It's Wexford's and Burden's keen understanding of human nature that helps put the pieces of this mystery together and leads them to the victim and the killer. The two play off each other well: Burden coming up with an important insight into the identity of the predator in the case, and Wexford pulling the sequence of events all together in a surprise finish.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Billy J. Hobbs on Jan. 3 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ruth Rendell's Chief Inspector Wexford mysteries are important entries to the police procedural genre. This, the second of the series, is probably the book that cemented Rendell's decision to continue. The daughter of local artist Rupert Margolis hasn't been home in a few days, but her father isn't reporting her disappearance. No, instead, he is filling out inquirings for someone to help him manage his household in his daughter's stead! And then Wexford receives a note that says daughter Ann has been murdered, and the suspects name given. With his ever-present second in command Mike Burden, Wexford begins his investigation, characterized by methodical thinking and well-paced moving! The plot becomes ever so convoluted--but don't give up. Rendell is in complete charge (it's one of her longer Wexfords) and by the conclusion her logial thinking, clever plot execution, and expert character development have won the day.
"Wolf to the Slaughter" is also perhaps one of Rendell's most suspense-filled books (of the Wexford series). A local hotel has been letting one of its rooms as a love nest, but when a man with a knife one evening gets through with it, it is a room of blood, violence, and death. But whose? There's no corpse to be found! Wexford and Burden take over and the pages turn automatically after this, as Rendell's heros leave no stone unturned--nor sheet unfurled! Rendell has published many other books that are not in the series (she also writes under the name of Barbara Vine) and, with each, she clearly knows what she's writing about--she's a master here. And the surprise ending is handled masterly, too! (Billyjhobbs@tyler.net)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 30 reviews
56 of 56 people found the following review helpful
An Early Chief Inspector Wexford Mystery April 5 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Fans of Ruth Rendell who await each new Chief Inspector Wexford mystery from Ruth Rendell may wish to go back to her early works. Wolf to the Slaughter was her second Wexford mystery, written 33 years ago but with no loss of appeal for today's readers. Unworldly artist Rupert Margolis goes to the Kingsmarkham police, not to report that his younger sister Ann is missing, but to seek help finding someone to manage his household since Ann hasn't come home for several days. At the same time, Wexford receives an anonymous note reporting that a young woman named Ann was murdered by a small dark young man named Geoff Smith.
The book has the elements we have come to appreciate in Ruth Rendell mysteries, including the slow steady unraveling of the mystery by Wexford and his chief assistant Mike Burden, methodically tracking down the few leads, when they don't even have the victim's body; and an array of real human characters, such as the aging Ruby Branch, who supports the man she loves, Monkey Matthews, an ex-con well known to the Kingsmarkham police, by renting out a room for the evening no questions asked; Noreen Anstey, abandoned by her second husband, now regretting the wrong she did to her first, living alone and having to sell off her remaining valuables; and Mark Drayton, the young police officer who never lets himself get seriously involved with any young women while he works hard to advance in the police force. It's Wexford's and Burden's keen understanding of human nature that helps put the pieces of this mystery together and leads them to the victim and the killer. The two play off each other well: Burden coming up with an important insight into the identity of the predator in the case, and Wexford pulling the sequence of events all together in a surprise finish.
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Affecting and tautly-plotted mystery Jan. 12 2001
By frumiousb - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ruth Rendell is a talented writer, but I often have problems with elements of her plots being a little bit predictable-- this is definitely not the case with _Wolf to the Slaughter_. The book constantly suprises and manages to do so without any deus ex machina tricks that might make it unconvincing.
A mysterious note that claims someone was murdered, a stain on a carpet that may or may not be blood, and a gold lighter with a leading inscription-- these are the only clues that Wexford and his crew have to what might not even be a crime. Mix in a slightly mad painter, three women who gave their hearts unwisely, and a young policeman in love for the first time and you've got a compelling mystery novel which is one of the best Rendells I've read to date.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Rendell cements her reputation with this one! Jan. 3 2001
By Billy J. Hobbs - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ruth Rendell's Chief Inspector Wexford mysteries are important entries to the police procedural genre. This, the second of the series, is probably the book that cemented Rendell's decision to continue. The daughter of local artist Rupert Margolis hasn't been home in a few days, but her father isn't reporting her disappearance. No, instead, he is filling out inquirings for someone to help him manage his household in his daughter's stead! And then Wexford receives a note that says daughter Ann has been murdered, and the suspects name given. With his ever-present second in command Mike Burden, Wexford begins his investigation, characterized by methodical thinking and well-paced moving! The plot becomes ever so convoluted--but don't give up. Rendell is in complete charge (it's one of her longer Wexfords) and by the conclusion her logial thinking, clever plot execution, and expert character development have won the day.
"Wolf to the Slaughter" is also perhaps one of Rendell's most suspense-filled books (of the Wexford series). A local hotel has been letting one of its rooms as a love nest, but when a man with a knife one evening gets through with it, it is a room of blood, violence, and death. But whose? There's no corpse to be found! Wexford and Burden take over and the pages turn automatically after this, as Rendell's heros leave no stone unturned--nor sheet unfurled! Rendell has published many other books that are not in the series (she also writes under the name of Barbara Vine) and, with each, she clearly knows what she's writing about--she's a master here. And the surprise ending is handled masterly, too! (Billyjhobbs@tyler.net)
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Absolutely stunning Aug. 6 2003
By RachelWalker - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Anita Margolis, young, beautiful, carefree, has vanished into thin air. She left her home to attend a party one wet evening, but has not been seen since. She is reported missing soon after by her brother, whom she shared a flat with, the acclaimed but eccentric artist Rupert Margolis. Inspector Burden quickly forms an impression of a wanton young girl simply gone off somewhere with a boyfriend having neglected to let anyone know. After all, she was that sort of woman, in Burden's opinion. However, Wexford has his doubts, and those doubts will soon be confirmed, and they will soon find themselves enmeshed in a case that will throw every assumption they make into doubt.
This is an early Wexford book, and it is brilliant. A simple notion, but true. One of the best of the entire series, actually, the fact of its quality equally matches that of the novels she is still producing and marks her out clearly as possibly the most reliable and captivating novelist of her generation, such is her constant unfailing ability. She writes absolutely brilliantly, with an emotional detachedness that makes it so much more powerful when she decides that now is the time to probe in the darkness of a particular characters mind and motivations. And those characters are unendingly fascinating, completely human yet with a shadowy darkness to them, and flawlessly depicted.
But it is not just her characters that mark her books out as special. Setting and story meld in equally with character in the most successful books to create a compelling whole, and Rendell accomplishes this with ease. The fictional Kingsmarkham is almost as tangible and atmospheric as the London she uses as the setting for some of her other non-Wexford novels. The reader feels they could easily be supplanted into the story, onto the streets of this fictional town, and yet already know its environs intimately.
And then, of course, the story too is near-perfect. It is dark, it is clever, it is affecting, it is psychologically acute, it is realistic (despite the false idea that these kind of traditional procedural novels tend not to be), it is engrossing, as well as being a plethora of other laudable adjectives as well. It shifts and moves and surprises and has excellent pace, carrying the reader through on a breathless ride - secured in by the mesmeric hand-at-your-throat grip of the prose - until a tension-filled conclusion, which leaves more than one character irredeemably altered for life.
Wolf to the Slaughter is simply yet another excellent novel from the woman who is, in my mind, the best writer in the world today. And that is all there is to it.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Early Wexford with focus on Burden, but a good read~ June 5 2009
By Barbie Fan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
As a Ruth Rendell fan, I can say that you can't go wrong with adding this to your RR mystery collection. It appears to be a reprint, and is an interesting experience to find the focus not on Wexford, but on Burden. The plot is wonderful and intricate.

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