Kingsmarkham, a sleepy little English town under the police jurisdiction of Chief Inspector Wexford, is suddenly confronted with a series of killings. To solve the crimes, Wexford must accept that Kingsmarkham is no longer free from the national ills of sexual abuse, racism, and murder, and must work through stereotypes that may keep him from catching a killer.
Ruth Rendell's Inspector Wexford books are one of my favorites. This one is satisfyingly complex and held my interest throughout.
FROM THE PUBLISHER
"It's probably nothing," says Dr. Akande to Chief Inspector Wexford, who gets his usual chill upon hearing these words. "I'm trying in vain to locate my daughter Melanie." As Wexford's investigation of this missing person continues over days and weeks, it becomes his unhappy job to counter the tenuous hopes of the doctor and his wife. It is Wexford's professional opinion that Melanie is, in all likelihood, dead. A murdered woman is found: not Melanie, but the last person known to have seen and spoken to her. A second woman's body is discovered, again not Melanie's but, like her, young and black. A third woman turns up beaten and unconscious; like the previous victim, she is of Nigerian origin. That there is a connection is obvious. Exactly what it is that links these women and their misfortunes is the vexing mystery.
Ruth Rendell Examines Race
In this excellent police procedural, Rendell examines attitudes toward race in her characters. There are only nineteen "people of color" in Kingsmarkham, and Inspector Wexford and others assume they all know each other. Rendell tries to be progressive, but it's a struggle for her, just as being non-sexist is. Still, the book is terrific, and you get the sense that she knows just how flawed her characters are.
the lady vanishes, no one admitted to seeing the dr, daughter, even after the murders began
Another great read for Ruth Rendell and Inspector Wexford fans. British mystery at it's best.
A doctor's daughter is missing and Inspector Wexford must find the missing woman. The New York Times Book Review said "One of the author's best!"