Magazine article The Spectator

BOOKENDS - Corpses in the Coal Hole

Magazine article The Spectator

BOOKENDS - Corpses in the Coal Hole

Article excerpt

Ruth Rendell has probably pulled more surprises on her readers than any other crime writer. But the one she produces with her latest novel is a little unusual even by her standards. Set in the present, The Vault (Hutchinson, ?8.99) deals with the discovery of four corpses in the disused coal hole of a Georgian cottage in St John's Wood. The main investigator is Rendell's long-running series hero, Chief Inspector Wexford, now retired and living part-time in Hampstead.

Called in, a little implausibly, as a police adviser, he copes with what are in effect two murder cases, with different timescales, victims, motives - and killers. He and his wife Dora also find the time to sort out a potentially lethal phase in the love life of their feckless middle aged daughter. …

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