An Unkindness Of Ravens
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An Unkindness Of Ravens (Inspector Wexford #13)

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  1,381 ratings  ·  73 reviews
The thirteenth book to feature the classic crime-solving detective, Chief Inspector Wexford.





The raven: not a particularly predatory bird, but far from soft and submissive, adopted as the symbol of a militant feminist group...





Detective Chief Inspector Wexford thought he was merely doing a neighbourly good deed when he agreed to talk to Joy Williams about her missing husband...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published June 27th 2000 by Arrow (first published 1985)
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Deborah Gray
Ruth can be guaranteed to write a well-crafted story, an easy read. I enjoy Inspector Wexford and his dogged pursuit of the truth, a man with his own brand of intuition who would rather follow up leads himself than send a subordinate. In this case, there were sufficient plot twists to hold interest, although I did start to guess the murderer about 2/3 of the way in. And it kept me entertained on recent long walks as I listened to the book on an MP3.

However, this story particular choice of subje...more
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in March 2001.

When a neighbour's husband goes missing, Rendell's detective Wexford is reluctant to investigate. But what seems initially likely to be a case of a man going off with another woman turns out to be more complex, as he is revealed to have been a bigamist and as it becomes clear that no member of either family actually liked him very much.

As a murder mystery, An Unkindness of Ravens is neither particularly memorable nor difficult to solve (though i...more
Sandra
Ruth Rendell é, na minha opinião, um ícone literário no policial tal como Agatha Christie. Adoro as duas, e os seus livros são devorados por mim numa questão de meras horas. Este só se tratou de uma excepção por causa da letra minúscula e do amarelo torrado das páginas. Mas devo dizer que este exemplar de Maio de 1986 mostrou-se um valente e amigável companheiro em viagens e esperas. Só foi pena que a desastrada (diga-se eu mesma) tenha descolado a capa ao andar com ele dentro das carteiras.


Quan...more
Dorottya Bacsi
3.5

Okay, at first I didn't really get this book, but after the investigation plot kicked in, it grew a lot on me. The investigation plot was really well-structured, interesting, smart... basically what a detective novel should be like. Dropping clues here and there, making us readers do guessing games, with an ending which was not blindingly obvious from the start yet makes sense. I also liked the psychological aspects, the reactions of the characters were most of the times really starkingly aut...more
Filipa
2,5 stars
Este livro foi uma chatice. Ainda bem que o livro é pequenino, porque não sei se aguentava muito mais do que 200 páginas disto. É um enredo moderadamente engraçado, misterioso, mas a história simplesmente não foi cativante o suficiente para me entusiasmar. Confesso que quando cheguei a meio, já pensava que nunca mais ia chegar ao fim. A minha personagem favorita foi o Wexford e talvez também o Burden, agora que penso nisso.
O final apanhou-me mais ou menos de surpresa. Consegui adivin...more
Heather
I think this is one of Rendell's most interesting books with regard to images of women, assumptions about feminine character, and feminism. She keeps setting up and knocking down feminine stereotypes, playing with our assumptions about the nature of women -- ugly/pretty, old/young, sophisticated/naive, strong/weak. Characters and readers are duped/led astray by the strong emotions produced by the very idea of abusive/exploitative men and vulnerable girls.
I enjoy the rather comic depiction of th...more
Chris
In case you missed it, Rush Limbaugh called a woman a slut simply because she had a different prespective on an issue. Of course to Limbaugh, the term feminist is a nasty word. I feel like I should send him a "Happy Women's History Month" card or something.

There is an actual point to my rambling here. Rendell's book deals with the question of what is feminism or to be more precise, can things go too far. At least in part. How she deals with it is rather interestingly and enjoyable. Nice to find...more
Joe V
This is the 13th Inspector Wexford adventure, who with his side-kick Inspector Mike Burden, solve crimes - usually murders - and keep the citizenry of Sussex, England safe. Although these books are murder mysteries at their core, the author excels - and where she differentiates herself from the "pack" - in painting psychological dramas. The term thriller is a bit overblown, as Rendell's tales proceed much too slowly for that label. (Not a knock just a description, and enjoyment of this series wi...more
Liz
The absurd, insulting ending to this book completely mitigates the decent novel that came before. I would not recommend this book to anyone.
Margie
Interesting social commentary of a sort, tossed in with the mystery.
Priti
There seemed to run a disapproval of the feminist ideology in the book. I noticed it in a couple of earlier books also but it was more open in this. It sort of put me off, even though it is a supposed to be a mystery story and it is a decent one at that. But if the author can serve her own agenda, so can the reader.
Denise Mitchell
This was the first Inspector Wexford book I read, and I was hooked on Ruth Rendell and Barbara Vine from then on. I've read and loved them all, and I look forward to more by the author.
Theryn Fleming
This was my first Ruth Rendell writing as Ruth Rendell book, but I've previously read several of her Barbara Vine books. An Unkindness of Ravens was a standard police procedural, featuring a bunch of characters who are apparently regulars, including the main detective, Chief Inspector Wexford. The Barbara Vine books are more dark, psychological thrillers. I think I prefer those, but this was an entertaining mystery nonetheless. The plot involves a husband who's vanished and a group of militant f...more
Cath
It was a very long time since I'd read the last Inspector Wexford, so this book finds him retired and not coping that well with retirement (as you can imagine). He gets invited to be an 'expert' on a case in London (does that really happen? well who cares) and it begins again. It's hard to see how this format could continue, but I do hope it does. I, for one, promise to turn a blind eye to the improbability of it all. It was another brilliantly characterised crime novel, and left you wanting mor...more
Kay
Another great Wexford mystery. Complex, full of twists and English lifestyles. Not full of gore and violence. Simply put - a good read.
Marti
This was just a very enjoyable book to read. There was only one time that Inspector Wexford said something unkind to a suspect. His associate, Mike BUrden, has a wife who is going through a very uncomfortable pregnancy. At first it seems that Rodney Williams has disappeared, then his body is found, and it turns out that he was a bigamist, with to families--one daughter with the legal wife, and a son and younger daughter with the other one. Do the families know each other, who killed him, and why...more
Prosenjit Paul
My first Inspector Wexford book! Came highly recommended- and it will not be the last :-)
Aileen
An Inspector Wexford tale, where Dora asks him to speak to a neighbour whose husband had gone missing. Within a few days the man's car is found and it turns into a murder hunt. He has been leading a double-life and has secrets that Wexford and Burden slowly uncover. The ravens come into it as a schoolgirl feminist group, their logo a raven with the face of a woman. Not one of the better Rendell tales, I was heading towards guessing the outcome before I was halfway through and it all seemed a lit...more
Lynne
I found this at a used book sale. I have read other Rendell mysteries and find them too dark some times. I do like the Inspector Wexford character, and he is the investigator in this novel. It is a crime investigation story with several possible choices for the murderer. There are some surprises, and the story resolves satisfactorily. It is an added bonus that the inspector is working with Burden again, and there is a side story there. Tennis plays a role, as does a militant feminist group. Ther...more
Nancy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kyrie
I like to read her Inspector Wexford books because they don't just have a mystery, they also have insights into the times when the story takes place. It's interesting to compare the UK and the US attitudes about women's rights, children, and crime.
Since I read this book on vacation, it took me awhile to get into it. Too many characters with similar names, so many related in one way or another, made it hard to keep things straight.
Still, Rendell writes well and I finally got it sorted out.
Beth666ann
Wow, this is an unpleasant book. Set during the mid-1980s right about the time when the fear of lesbian separatism and feminism had coalesced to produce hysteria, this book features a crazy separatist/feminist man-hating group; a woman who is despairing because she's found out the baby she's going to have is a girl and not a boy; and a bigamist guy who--well I won't say more. This book features mostly unsympathetic portrayals of its female characters. It's a nasty piece of work.
Sara
This was a good read and I didn't predict the murderer, but I did suss out the essential plot element long before Wexford did - then maybe we are supposed to guess that. Characters were interesting, but I found the whole raven angle a bit dated and over-the-top - in fact, I'm not sure feminists were EVER really quite that rabid. It did make a good story however and the contrast of the two mothers' characters was interesting and effective. Poor old bald Rodney...
Janice
This book was a quick read, and well-written, but I was a bit turned off by the "scary feminists" who were the main suspects. The book jacket and title emphasize the connection to ravens, but the actual logo of this group was a raven with a human face--in other words, a harpy. I may have been reading too much into this, but I couldn't help feeling like the story and characterizations of the novel were an attack on feminism. Boo.
Wilde Sky
A neighbour goes missing and Detective Chief Inspector Wexford is asked by his wife to go and talk to the man’s wife. So begins a murder mystery.

This is the only Ruth Rendell book I have read. The writing was laboured and convoluted, the characters were developed but the plot was just about OK. If you are a fan of the author you may enjoy this book, but for the general crime reader there are much better books around.
Biblio Files
This one has put me off Ruth Rendell, and that's saying something. I'll just have to keep in mind that it was written in 1985 and attitudes have changed a lot since then, but her caricature of a militant feminist group is way over the top and apparently just for her own amusement, since it had little to do with the murder. And I'm not too crazy about the fact that Rendell seems to be a Freudian as well. How tiresome.
Joy
I started this 20-some years ago and didn't continue it because the families involved are so dark. This time I did get all the way through - couldn't put it down for the last half, in fact. The plot and people follow a varied path, from the infelicitously named Joy and her daughter to the activist and possibly dangerous feminist group. I thought at the end Rendell lost hold of her psychological threads.
Trish McCormack
well the great thing about middle age is that you've forgotten all the books you read in your 20s and get the surprise a second time round. Loved this book. Got a bit bored with the girl (sorry women) feminists and wondered if Ruth was getting a bit dated but I was so wrong! A great twist, clever plotting and a motive you can relate to ... What more can you ask of a crime novel?
Sharon
I've read excellent books by Ruth Rendell, but this isn't one of them. It was even too annoying to be a good airplane book, which is unfortunate since I had it with me on two long flights. The murder mystery might have been quite intriguing if (a) Chief Inspector Wexford were not such an insufferable prig, and (b) key interviews weren't concealed until the resolution.
Ray
This was my first Ruth Rendell, and I certainly liked it enough to read more. I liked reading about 1980's England--certainly has increased the depths of my understanding re: the same kind of Agatha Christie country characters in her 1930's fiction.

The end was a bit of a stretch, and the "radical feminism" sub-plot was at times puzzling.
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Ruth Barbara Rendell, Baroness Rendell of Babergh, CBE, who also writes under the pseudonym Barbara Vine, is an acclaimed English crime writer, known for her many psychological thrillers and murder mysteries.
More about Ruth Rendell...
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