It was suggested to me some time ago that I might enjoy some of Ruth Rendell’s works (thanks, Bill), but it took me a while to get around to acting on the suggestion. Rendell has been writing for years (she was first published in 1964), so I’ve probably been under a rock not to have read any of her work before now. Be that as it may, I find that, as I age, I am become more “picky” about what I like to read. Having now caught up with her, I find that her character Chief Inspector Reg Wexford is the sort of detective that I can relate to, and the 2009 detective/mystery, The Monster in the Box is carefully constructed with a couple of plots that come together only at the end. There are also some sub-themes, one being attitudes to race in modern Britain, particularly in the context of “political correctness” versus patronisation.
I had a couple of minor issues with the book. To be candid, perhaps there were slightly too many digressions, which had me struggling to maintain interest for a while. However, I persisted because the issues were intriguing.
The ending – albeit quite unexpected – is slightly anti-climatic. Partly this is due to the fact that the final “clue” that enables the mystery surrounding 16 year old Tamima to be cleared up isn’t given to us until close to the end. Sure, readers rarely accurately predict the outcome of these stories, but we all like to think that we were provided with all the necessary information by an appropriate point so that, in theory, we could have done so.
However, Rendell’s style of writing appeals, and I’ll look out for other books by her (of which there are many!).