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Means Of Evil & Other Stories (Inspector Wexford)

3.67  ·  Rating Details ·  237 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
Here are five classic Wexford cases that display his remarkable ingenuity — and that of his creator. Ranging from the more everyday crimes of passion and violence in quiet Kingsmarkham, to a bizarre murder in Yugoslavia, each is a case which challenges Detective Chief Inspector Wexford's considerable imagination and resourcefulness, and the patient reasoning of the long su ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published October 1st 1991 by Mysterious Press (first published January 1st 1979)
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Nigel Anthony 5 Hours 31 Mins

Description: Nigel Anthony's reading sets this recording of five short mysteries by Rendell above others in the genre. Chief inspector Wexford and inspector Burden investigate poisonings, baby-swapping, theft, and forgery in "Means of Evil," "Old Wives Tales," "Ginger and the Kingsmarkham Chalk Circle," "Achilles Heel," and "When the Wedding Was Over." The venues vary in these classic English mysteries from Kingsmarkham to the south of France and California, but the
Feb 12, 2017 Dave rated it really liked it
My first experience with Rendell. Five long Inspector Wexford short stories, all slightly different, all very traditional, all well written and thoughtful. My favorite is "Ginger and the Kingsmarkham Chalk Circle." I'm not clear on Wexford's personality yet, but I'm sure that will come in time--he obviously has one, as do all the other inhabitants of Kingsmarkham.

Anyone have a recommendation for the best Ruth Rendell or Barbara Vine books?
Feb 11, 2017 Bandit rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Needed a palate cleanser after a crappy book and Rendell never disappoints, short or long form. This collection is dedicated specifically to Reginald Wexford, her intrepid investigator and a character I very much enjoy. He may not have the magician's panache of Sherlock, but he does have superlative detecting abilities based largely on his powers of observation, really paying attention, processing the information. etc. And these abilities are tempered by genuine interest in the world around him, ...more
Five Inspector Wexford cases in short story form, and in the final one, Wexford’s deputy, Mike Burden, remarries. All terrific stories, sort of a quickie version of the fully realized novels. Ruth Rendell’s writing never stops amazing me. I have even found a word in this book – philonomatous – that I can’t find a definition for! It refers to a couple who named their children Janina, Cunegonde, and Amyas. I infer that since the prefix philo refers to having a love of something, and nomatous conta ...more
Jan 14, 2013 Margie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, u-k
Quite enjoyable. Nice little snippets of Wexford. Some of the wrap-ups seemed a bit Sherlock Holmes-ish - a neat little bow right at the end, but as these were short stories, that's not entirely inappropriate.
Apr 25, 2013 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
If this turns out to be the last Rendell I read, at least it was more time with Wexford.

I've read every novel of Ruth Rendell's, including her last written before her demise. So when I found this short story collection in Powell's in June, I was thrilled. I savored each one, using them as palate cleansers between books. Now, I'm done.

I think I'll undertake re-reading Rendell's catalog next year, a book or two a month, chronologically. That way, I may find more short stories I may have missed.

Laila (BigReadingLife)
Super fun! Delicious mini-cupcake mystery stories from the absolute master. All with Reg Wexford and Mike Burden. I gobbled this up.
Nov 03, 2013 Cheryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very nice collection of short mysteries and a good way to spend part of my weekend. I enjoy Inspector Wexford and his able assistant Burden and the mysteries are well done. The clues were usually there and I figured out whodunit and to some extent whydunit for almost all of them, but I enjoyed the unraveling scenes anyway. I have found myself trying to determine which type of ankles I have and will likely be on the lookout for that for a while, because it was such an interesting clue. ...more
Veronica Zundel
Aug 06, 2011 Veronica Zundel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Being more of a fan of Rendell's alter ego Barbara Vine, and of her non-Wexford novels and stories, I approached this set of five longer stories not expecting too much, and was pleasantly surprised. Nearly thirty years old, the stories have dated only in a few details and Rendell's ingenuity and sharp characterization are as fresh as ever. Less haunting than some of her darker stories, these mini-novels deliver a welcome shot of the traditional detective novel with a fully modern tone.
An anthology of 5 short stories starring Inspector Reg Wexford. His cases weren't all that interesting but I liked Wexford himself, an elderly inspector, happily married with children and grandchildren, a man still very much in love with his wife. I liked his humor and his slightly acerbic inner monolog. Some of his comments made me laugh out loud.
Jul 11, 2013 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gone
Liked it a lot. Short stories were just the right length to enjoy the genre without getting frustrated by the limitations. Well written and a nice impression of a real life with work, family and community all present.
Elise Baldwin
3.5 stars

Means of evil - 3
Old wives tales - 4
Ginger and the kingsmarkham chalk circle - 4
Achilles heel - 4
When the wedding was over - 3
Oct 20, 2013 Lynn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A refreshing does of Inspector Wexford, his wife Dora, and of course, Mike Burden.
Jan 03, 2013 J.R. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
Always good to re-visit Wexford and crew. It's so long ago I first read these stories I can't even put a date on them. Still good.
Dec 29, 2008 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is a little visit to Detective Wexford's world. The stories all wrap up neat and quick. Great for reading while traveling or in the waiting room.
Karen C
Don't remember but I don't think I ever read anything by Ruth Rendell that I didn't like.
Apr 01, 2011 Ann rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good mystery short stories.
Jun 14, 2010 Ellen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ruth Rendell is a goddess. I'm never disappointed in anything she's written.
Laila rated it really liked it
Jun 09, 2012
Claire Watson
Claire Watson rated it really liked it
Nov 25, 2011
Amy Hing-young
Amy Hing-young rated it really liked it
May 28, 2012
Ian Rodwell
Ian Rodwell rated it really liked it
May 09, 2013
Shana rated it really liked it
Feb 06, 2011
Kevin Parsons
Kevin Parsons rated it liked it
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Ramune rated it really liked it
Mar 28, 2012
Rhiannon rated it it was ok
Oct 10, 2009
Celeste rated it liked it
Feb 09, 2010
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A.K.A. Barbara Vine

Ruth Barbara Rendell, Baroness Rendell of Babergh, CBE, who also wrote under the pseudonym Barbara Vine, was an acclaimed English crime writer, known for her many psychological thrillers and murder mysteries and above all for Inspector Wexford.
More about Ruth Rendell...

Other Books in the Series

Inspector Wexford (1 - 10 of 25 books)
  • From Doon With Death (Inspector Wexford, #1)
  • A New Lease of Death (Inspector Wexford, #2)
  • Wolf to the Slaughter (Inspector Wexford, #3)
  • The Best Man to Die (Inspector Wexford, #4)
  • A Guilty Thing Surprised (Inspector Wexford, #5)
  • No More Dying Then (Inspector Wexford, #6)
  • Murder Being Once Done (Inspector Wexford, #7)
  • Some Lie and Some Die (Inspector Wexford, #8)
  • Shake Hands Forever (Inspector Wexford, #9)
  • A Sleeping Life (Inspector Wexford, #10)

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