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The Vault (Inspector Wexford #23)

3.53 of 5 stars 3.53  ·  rating details  ·  1,823 ratings  ·  322 reviews
Wessex is retired -- or would be, if murder and danger would only leave him alone.

The impossible has happened. Chief Inspector Reg Wexford has retired. He and his wife now divide their time between Kingsmarkham and a coachhouse in Hampstead belonging to their actress daughter, Sheila. For all the benefits of a more relaxed way of life, Wexford misses being the law. But a c
Paperback, 272 pages
Published November 22nd 2011 by Doubleday Canada (first published August 1st 2011)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,705)
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Wexford returns!

For the first time, Ruth Rendell has written a sequel to a previous stand-alone novel (A SIGHT FOR SORE EYES), and added now-retired, former Chief-Inspector Wexford (now living part-time in London) to the proceedings as an 'adviser.' At the end of A SIGHT FOR SORE EYES there were three bodies - one living, two dead - trapped in an unused 'coal-hole' - now, more than a dozen years later, a gruesome discovery has been made: in addition to the three bodies, there is a fourth, placed
1.5 s
This book represents the epitome of mediocrity. There was a time, in the 1980s and 1990s, when Ruth Rendell was one of the Grandes Dames of British crime writing. Alas, no more.
Wexford has lost all his influence now that he is retired, and must constantly beg permission from others to do any detecting. It becomes tedious.
There is a really weird sub-plot with his daughter Sylvia and her family, whose home becomes the scene of a suicide. There's just no rhyme or reason to this minor diversion
I have great affection for Inspector Wexford, and the way his personal life intertwines with his professional life, and his patient sorting of facts and following procedures. This is the newest Inspector Wexford story, and now that he's retired he has some restrictions on his ability to interview people at will -- he is now a volunteer consultant for this case. I didn't read the book, Sight for Sore Eyes, that this book is a sort of sequel to. It wasn't a Wexford novel, but one of Rendell's more ...more
I don't think those who gave this a 5 star rating really read it or have read her earlier books. The story line is convoluted, the many, many characters are confusing though the writing, for the most part, is fine.

However, I spotted 3 mistakes in the first few chapters which is offputting:

1. Wexford has to buy a bus ticket from a machine on his way to a meeting but a hour later uses his senior pass on the return trip.
2. A neighbor, when initially interviewed about a 'murder house' talks quite
Bonnie Fazio
I so hate to give anything by Ruth Rendell such a bad rating, but this book has several problems. First: It's not Rendell's fault, but I prefer her dark and twisty non-Wexford books (although I love the character), so I was not predisposed to like this book as much as one of those.

Second: This novel seems to have more than the usual questioning of (almost always) truculent potential witnesses; several times, I had to try to find first references when Wexford and Tom Ede would pay a character a f
Louise Wilson
My low rating for this book made me pause to consider the notional 'duties' owed by an author to a fellow author. We're often told that it's etiquette to avoid rating a book you did not enjoy - 'only rate the books you like'. On this basis, every book would be rated as 4 or 5 stars, which rather defeats the purpose of a rating system. So I resolutely pressed the 2-star button.

Seduced by the blurb on the back cover, I bought 'The Vault' at Hong Kong airport, keen to read it on an overnight flight
I was a huge Ruth Rendell fan, a few years back. I read several of the Inspector Wexford books, and many more of her stand-alone thrillers. But I haven't read one in a long time. So it was fun to get back into the Rendell mindset: darkly quirky characters, the slow layers of evidence and blind allies, the very Britishness of it all.

I'm fairly certain I read "Sight for Sore Eyes," the prequel to this book; about halfway through, characters and scenes from that story began to feel familiar. But I
I've always been a fan of Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine's books...probably preferring the latter darker, more psychological stories. Ruth Rendell is over 80 now but still writes very well. However, this 'return' of Wexford, now in a role of private detective helping out his cousin Tom, who is still in the Met, isn't quite up to her usual standard. I became tired of Wexford constantly reminding us that he is no longer in the police force and found that there was too much tedious and un-neccessary det ...more
Jul 03, 2014 Maxine rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mystery fans, Inspector Wexford fans
This book is a sequel to the author's "A Sight For Sore Eyes". Having just finished that, I snapped up The Vault next.

The Vault offers a final chapter to the events of A Sight For Sore Eyes. Orcadia Cottage is once again the scene of a mystery--twelve years after the events that took place there previously. This time, police are trying to decipher the mystery with no knowledge of who Orcadia Cottage's "secret cellar" holds or what happened to them.

I'd recommend reading the previous book before
Kasey Jueds
I've written about my adoration of Ruth Rendell before, and it's still hard to explain why I love her so much, because I get all swoony (and afraid I won't be able to do her justice). So, the swoony bit: she is by far my favorite contemporary writer in one of my favorite genres (mystery), and truly one of my favorite writers, period. I know it's a cliche to say someone's work "transcends the genre," but it's actually true about Ruth Rendell, whose books, to me, seem far more intelligent and intu ...more
Susan Johnson
ector Wexford Novel (Hardcover)
I enjoyed this Wexford novel immensely. He has been my favorite character of Rendell so I was pleased that she had written a new one. It's not a long book but hers never are and she says more in one sentence than many do in a page.
Wexford is retired now and living in London for part of the time and part of the time in Kingsmarham. Throughly enjoying his time in London, Wexford is walking, reading and playing with his grandchildren. Then an old acquaintance asks h
I should preface this by admitting I’m a hardcore Rendell fan and will read anything bearing her name (or her alternate nom de plume, Barbara Vine), though I have less liking for her Wexford series than the psychological standalones.

I hurried to pick up a copy of The Vault for two reasons—first because it was a Rendell, second because it had been dubbed a sequel to A Sight For Sore Eyes, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Rendell takes us back to the London neighborhood and house of the previous novel,
The Vault: Ruth Rendell’s sequel to A Sight for Sore Eyes

A Sight for Sore Eyes came out in 1999. It is a novel of psychological suspense, not a police procedural – Reg Wexford does not appear in the narrative. Sight features one of the most genuinely frightening characters I’ve ever encountered in a work of fiction. In the more than ten years since I read it, I have not forgotten his name: Teddy Brex.

The Vault opens with Franklin Merton commenting that although he could afford to buy a particu
This entire review is a spoiler, so don't read on if you haven't finished the book. I found this book to be oddly incomplete, almost as if Rendell got tired in the telling. And maybe it was because I was reading it at 3 am when I was unable to sleep, but it seems like there are a few plot mistakes. For example, when Sylvia is stabbed, how did anyone know to come? It made sense when Mary was there and she supposedly ran to get help, but take away Mary and I think Sylvia is left to bleed out. Also ...more
Ron Chicaferro
For fans of Ruth Rendell's Inspector Wexford, The Vault is the first Wexford mystery with the Inspector as a retired cop. Being retired hasn't dulled his thinking, however. He's as sharp as ever as he works as a police consultant on a very cold case. As usual, Wexford's wife and daughters are worked into the story - sometimes not too pleansantly. This is a great story line with lots of possible villians. This one isn't the usual police procedural. Its a Wexford procedural. Watching Wexford, as a ...more
I loved this book. It felt comfortable, like a conversation with an old friend. I've read all of the previous Wexford books, and liked some more than others, but I really liked this one. I didn't think it was convoluted at all. I enjoyed reading about Wexford in his semi-retirement, and enjoyed the story. I kind of resent other reviewers saying that those who rated the book highly must not have read it. People have different likes and dislikes and different ways of judging books. I rate books hi ...more
Wexford is back, with Dora, Sheila, and Sylvia in tow. Lately Rendell has been trying to incorporate pressing social issues into her novels, and this one is no exception. They are often a distraction (even as they are also clearly part of the mystery); in this one, at least, the social issue doesn't appear till late and she doesn't hit you over the head with it. As always, Rendell is especially good at characters: what makes them tick, what they'd rather no one know about. Well worth reading.
Alison C
Ruth Rendell's latest, The Vault, is a sequel of sorts to 1998's A Sight for Sore Eyes, but it isn't necessary to have read the latter before enjoying the former. Here, Chief Inspector Wexford has retired at long last, and he and Dora are splitting their time between staying in the London carriage house owned by actress daugher Sheila and their own home in Kingsmarkham, near their social worker daughter Sylvia. Although he has much to fill his time, Wexford finds that he misses police work, and ...more
One of the best by this justly celebrated author.
What I really like about Rendell is the way the characters grow and evolve over the decades.
In this book, Inspector Wexford is retired but still gets involved in solving a crime.
One weakness of the cozy genre, is that the author often pays too much attention to the protagonist and makes the other actors mere accessories. Rendell, to her credit, gives us nuanced, fleshed-out characters with true problems and challenges.
As the father of a daughter
Well this is my 2nd Ruth Rendell Wexford book.
I listened to it on disc & I think I would have done better actually reading it. Because sometimes I was lost, confused. Maybe there were jumps due to a scratch & I didn't realize (it's a library book on disc). I could have reread something to make more sense but... Oh well.
I do have to say though I LOVED the narrator! He got the accents so perfect county to county. Working class to upper. I will never read Wexford again without hearing his S
Rena George
Chief Inspector Reg Wexford has retired from the force, but misses his police work.
Although he and wife, Dora, still have their home in Kingsmarkham, they spend a lot of time at the old coach house property, owned by one of his two daughters in London.
Three bodies had been discovered in an old coal hole under Orcadia Cottage, a desirable residence in St John's Wood. Two have been there
A chance meeting with former acquaintance detective Superintendent, Tom Ede leads to Wexford acting as an unpaid
For some reason as I read this book I had to reread sentences and paragraphs for them to make sense. The story was convoluted with so many characters. I've pretty much decided that Ms Rendell is anti-religion which comes out in her writing.
Pamela Mclaren
Chief Inspector Wexford is now retired but that doesn't mean that he doesn't have a few mysteries left to solve and in this, the 23rd in the Rendell series, Wexford finds himself serving as a sort of police consultant trying to solve the mystery of four bodies found in a coatroom of a historic building. Who are the victims and why were they killed and how is it that three of them were not discovered for 20 years? In his usual round about way, Wexford filters, the truth, the lies, the shades of m ...more
Marjorie Kubacki
An Inspector Wexford novel. Ruth Rendell never disappoints when writing this series. A tightly written mystery concerning bodies found in the coal bin of an historic home in London.
Ben Aaronovitch
I enjoyed the mystery but my enjoyment was spoiled by the fact that both the Sussex and Metropolitan Police seemed incapable of running the most basic murder (attempted murder) inquiry.
Intriguing premise, but not an entirely satisfying conclusion since the solution to half of the mystery is purely speculative. Once again, Wexford's daughter Sylvia is given a spectacularly sordid story line, which is ultimately set aside as though it's no big deal. The first time Rendell did this, the point seemed to be domestic violence can happen to anyone. Ok fine. This time I think Rendell just really hates this character and whatever she's meant to represent--narcissism running rampant as ...more
Linda Rowland
In trying to clear out shelves of books I don't read and can't get rid of I decided that I would allow myself to buy books from series that I have enjoyed. Great idea. I am going back and filling in the Inspector Wexford series that I have not read. Also collecting copies of the ones I have read. This one was marked read on some list I had so it was first to read but late in series.
Love, love, love Wexford, and wonderful to find they are still enjoyable even later in the series.
You will see more
Jackie Jameson
Had not realized this was a semi-sequel to another book of hers that's name escapes me now....the one with "Orcada Cottage"..."Marc and Harriet" painting...? Oh well, no matter. That novel did not need a sequel, nor this one a prequel, but that wouldn't keep anyone from reading "The Vault". Inspector Wexford NOT my favorite English detective, but his character has an ability to laugh at himself, (secretly) and a lovely, doubting, self deprecating manor. I've only read a few of his post-retiremen ...more
Linda Howe Steiger
I rather liked this one even though I haven't yet read A Sight for Sore Eyes, which sets this one up, or so says the jacket flap. It's a cold case anyway when Inspector Wexford of the London police, now retired, becomes involved. Nicely written as one might expect, not particularly grisley. Loved Wexford who walks a lot! through the streets of St. John's Wood, which I visited last year. Also loved the trouble Wexford had bending his mind around being a retired policemen, having to start intervie ...more
The mystery was not totally resolved in a satisfying way but I liked this book better than some others of Rendell's Inspector Wexford series. It was not as preachy as some have been about one social issue or another. And Wexford is always a delight as he loves his wife and colleagues and struggles with his free-spirited and self-centered daughter. I was interested in the various comments about the religious faith of a new colleague. Intriguing to have it mentioned--not put down--but stated in a ...more
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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.
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)
From Doon With Death (Inspector Wexford, #1) A Judgement in Stone The Babes in the Wood (Inspector Wexford, #19) A Sight for Sore Eyes Kissing the Gunner's Daughter (Inspector Wexford, #15)

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