Ruth Rendell’s Wexford series of novels have been going since 1964, and many have been filmed by the BBC. Rendell is still producing Wexford novels and even the older ones are still a great read. Wexford is getting on a bit, he’s a bit overweight and entrenched in old-fashioned policing methods. But, he’s still more than insightful enough to solve modern day crimes.
‘End in Tears’ begins with a man dropping a lump of concrete from a bridge onto a car. His intended victim is 19 year old Amber Marshalson, but the concrete hits the wrong car causing the death of another lady. Not long afterwards, the mistake is rectified when Amber is bludgeoned to death. And, a short time after this, a friend of Amber’s is also murdered.
Amber’s unlikely friendship with the other girl, and the £1000 found on Amber’s body, lead Wexford and his team to suspect the girls of being involved in illegal activity that has led to their murders.
At the same time, Wexford is facing his own family crisis. His daughter Sylvia is going through a surrogate pregnancy. The idea of their grandchild being given away is tearing Wexford and his wife, Dora apart.
Meanwhile, two of Wexford’s team members have started a relationship. Sergeant Hannah Goldsmith is politically correct to the point of spurning any traditional values, while Detective Constable Bal Bhattacharya is trying to slow the relationship down and progress in a more traditional manner.
Through good solid policing methods on the part of Wexford and his side-kick Burden, and Hannah Goldsmith placing her own life on the line, Wexford’s team eventually solve the crime and a few other problems as well.
In this novel, Ruth Rendell explores relationships, motherhood and surrogacy in the modern world and the issues that arise from people having different expectations.
Ruth Rendell has produced 23 Wexford novels. She has also written and continues to write stand-alone mystery novels (which I find very clever and very creepy). In addition to this she has written psychological thrillers under the pen name Barbara Vine.
Book Published 2005