The Veiled One by Ruth Rendell

‘The Veiled One’ is the 14th Inspector Wexford novel and probably the first time in the series that we have moved beyond old-fashioned stereotypes. This story is an excellent psychological thriller and kept the suspense going till the last page.

Chief Inspector Wexford is shopping for his wife’s birthday present and doesn’t notice the dead body lying in the car park. He does, however, notice Dorothy Saunders returning to her car. She was the one to discover the body.

Wexford and DI Mike Burden have just started to investigate the murder when Wexford finds himself unable to continue. He was moving a car owned by his famous actress daughter Sheila when he triggered a car bomb. Wexford had a narrow escape but now finds himself in hospital. Burden is left to continue the investigation on his own and is keen to show Wexford that he is up to the challenge.

Burden quickly identifies a likely suspect and starts his questioning. But, once the suspect opens up to Burden he can’t stop and Burden finds himself pulled deeper and deeper into a very damaged life. Has Burden even focused on the right person?

There are plenty of suspects and red herrings in this story. Several of the characters had ulterior motives for some of their actions and a few times through the story I thought I had worked out who the murderer was.

Despite his injuries, Wexford just can’t leave the case alone – especially when he realises that Burden is totally focused on a single suspect. He re-enters the case and tries to get things back in order but it is too late to reverse some of the damage that has already been done.

It is only after a disastrous event that the murderer is finally identified. I don’t know if Burden will ever recover from the consequences of this case.


This story had me guessing from beginning to end. I loved some of the dark and damaged characters in this story, most of whom would have been good candidates for the murderer.

I can’t wait to read the next in the Wexford series – ‘Kissing the Gunner’s Daughter’.


Book Published 1988


See a full list of books by Ruth Rendell

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