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Harm Done (Inspector Wexford, #18)
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Harm Done (Inspector Wexford #18)

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  1,649 ratings  ·  86 reviews
A young girl disappears, then another.

A notorious paedophile is released back into the community. The residents of the Muriel Campden Estate are up in arms, and even prepared to take the law into their own hands...

Chief Inspector Wexford is not only concerned very personally with the effects of violence and prejudice, but is involved with a new programme to help victims of
Paperback, 467 pages
Published September 7th 2000 by Arrow Books (first published 1999)
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Rendell never seems to deplete her source of mystifying topics. It amazes me that she has written so very many books with fine detail and freshness. It seems to me that most prolific authors tend to adhere to a formula in some measure. Nevertheless, she has served my appetite well. Although I prefer Rendell/Vine stand-alone novels, Inspector Wexford has become endearing to me.

In brief, this book deals with mysterious kidnappings, pedophiles and spousal abuse. My biggest criticism was the difficu
Another first read for an established author; I'm not sure if the series needs to be read in order (somehow I doubt it) but luckily I'm not that compulsive! There are several mysteries here, with one or two fading in importance as others come to the forefront during the year or so the book covers. The question of what to do with released pedophiles is covered, but not answered fully, as I suspect there is no real answer to this (can they be rehabilitated? can they truly pay their debt to society ...more
This entry in Rendell's Inspector Wexford series, from 1999, is typical of these mysteries. It interweaves several related contemporary social themes--missing children, the return to the neighborhood of a convicted child molester and the reaction of residents, spousal abuse--along with several lesser mysteries and one larger, more serious one. Rendell is a very experienced craftsperson and the book goes down smoothly. She's a fine stylist, she draws excellent portraits of the major and many of t ...more
It's Rendell, so it's well written. It gives a lot of food for thought about relationships. She keeps a person guessing and second guessing and doubting about who dunnit.
My complain is that there were so many characters, all interrelated and involved with each other in assorted ways. It was difficult to keep the people on the council estate straight. I think they're all either married to each other or part of some vast family, or both. I spent much time trying to work it out and kept losing the
Bruce Beckham

For me Ruth Rendell is Britain’s #1 psychological mystery author – the likes of The Bridesmaid and The Crocodile Bird I’ve found almost impossible to put down.

With Wexford, however, I have occasionally toiled. And never more so than with Harm Done which – reluctantly – I have put down, permanently, despite labouring to page 50 (of a mountainous 467).

So why give up the struggle?

Story, subject and style. These are my 3 measures – core elements, any one of which can please me with a thr
Pmalcpoet Pat Malcolm
This book was a very difficult one for me to read, for it covered some issues to which I have a very visceral response. The first is domestic violence, which it approaches from the point of view of a character suffering torture at the hands of her sadistic husband and also from the viewpoint of Wexford's daughter Sheila, who is a volunteer on a domestic abuse hotline. Second is child abuse, ranging from a father teaching his young daughter to assist him with robberies to a man taking sexual adva ...more
Two young girls are kidnapped and shortly returned home with no harm save to their dignity. Then a toddler is kidnapped and the case takes a more serious turn.

Few writers today can compete with Rendell for intricate plotting, characterization and psychological insight.

You can read my full review on Amazon.
Jill Hutchinson
I am a real fan of Rendell books and especially the Wexford series. She does not disappoint with this entry which is #18 of the Wexford tales. It is a complex plot which contains events that are independent of each other; the kidnapping and return of young women and a small child which is not what it appears; the release of a pedophile from prison and the reaction of the neighborhood to which he returns; and domestic violence which is an underlying theme throughout the book.
Rendell is a master o
Barbara ★
I'm not really sure what this book is ultimately about. I'd gotten halfway through it before the cassette broke and still haven't a clue which direction it was headed. It starts out with a missing teenage girl who returns unharmed three days later with no memory of her adventure. The police question her and question her with no result. When the next teenage girl goes missing, they assume she'll be back as well and she is. Again unharmed and with little recollection of what happened. The police i ...more
Since this is my third Rendell book, maybe I'm now getting hooked on her style with a tendency to give higher ratings. I really like her Inspector Wexford mysteries. They remind me of Donna Leon's Commissario Brunnetti books although they seem just a tad slower to build but it's all in the enjoyable details. This is another great mystery that focuses on psychology rather than pictorial blood and guts (which I no longer enjoy). There are three themes in this book. The overall story involves myste ...more
First four sentences:

"The Children's Crusade," he called it after it was all over, because children played such a big part in it. Yet it wasn't really about children at all. Not one of them was physically injured, not one of them suffered bodily pain or was even made to cry beyond the common lot of people their age. The mental pain they endured, the emotional traumas and psychological damage - well, those were another thing."

HARM DONE centers around a shelter for battered women, an estate for fa
Sep 10, 2012 RJ rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: mystery
A decent Inspector Wexford book. There is a bizarre series of kidnappings, with the young women returning without being helpful to the police. An elderly molester is released from prison into a housing project where the mob mentality takes effect. Rendell digs into the mentality of the masses, as rumour rules the day in this neighbourhood. Bed hopping, single motherhood, all the social ills are here. On the other hand Insp. Wexford encounters a strange couple of the landed gentry; the husband be ...more
From start to finish I was amazed at Rendell's craft -- this book successfully and disturbingly covers a range of tragic social problems along with an impressive number of crimes and mysteries ... and well-painted characters out the wazoo! It's astounding to me that I've read 18 books in a mystery series without the slightest hint of fatigue. Long live Wexford and Dora and Sylvia and Sheila and Burden and ...
Just not enough interest to hold my attention, May 12, 2013
By Ellen Rappaport (Florida)
This review is from: Harm Done: A New Inspector Wexford Mystery (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard) (Kindle Edition)
Sorry to say but this is another Inspector Wexford story that just didn't hold my attention. It seems as if R.R. intends putting political agenda in with her books. Hopefully this will not be an option for her in any future Inspector Wexford books that I read.

The political agendas in this story were
While I did enjoy this a lot more than No More Dying Then I still found some of the characters a little stilted and awkward, particularly Wexford and Burden at times which as two of the main characters is not ideal. The story itself was quite engrossing although the numerous interlinking story lines did detract from each other a little as the book had moments when it didn't seem to be going anywhere in particular and had lost a bit of direction. The rest of the characters were quite mixed with s ...more
Harm Done was my first book by Ruth Rendell. I liked it, and definitely wanted to finish it, but it didn't make me jump up and down. The characters were interesting, but the language was nothing magical. This was a nice detective novel that took on some important themes: domestic violence, family relationships, mob psychology and its dangers. I won't race out to get another Ruth Rendell novel, but if need a book and a Ruth Rendell is handy I would probably pick it up.
Alex Howard
Four and a half for this one. If you think you know where this is going with the first case, think again. There's a lot of good social commentary with very recognisable characters in the book, and for once in a book the parallel cases don't fall over each other or feel like a half forgotten add-on. All this is through the gentle meandering of a Wexford case, so it's something of a hidden gem. If you stand back at the end of the book and add up what's happened, you wouldn't think there was the ro ...more
Les Wilson
As a Rendell / Wexford avid reader, I feel biased in giving it 4*. However, I don't think you will be disappointed in reading same.
I seem to be on a Ruth Rendell kick these days, but I actually liked this one more than the others. Perhaps, that's because there's no sign of Hannah in this one? (Poor Hannah, maybe I'll warm up to her some day)

I figured out part of the mystery mid-way through, but there were a few twists that I hadn't anticipated.

So far, all the Rendell books I've read have a theme to them and this one concerned abused women. She handled the subject well, illustrating not only the despair the women feel but t
Always enjoy Rendell, my one complaint with this story is too many characters to follow.
I want to read more of Rendell, although not because of this book. She has a great reputation as a mystery writer, but this novel is mainly social commentary, astute though it is. She tackles several issues using different sub-plots, and they don't mesh very well, but her characters are affecting and will wrench your heart, or make you laugh. Other reviewers have condemned this book as too "PC," but I found Rendell quite harsh on her lower-class characters.

The story of the abused wife is heartb
This was an interesting book, with several tales all intertwined. Some of it seemed to have little to do with the rest, and it got a bit confusing. It starts out with two teenage girls disappearing a week apart, but showing up unharmed. Why this has happened to them is strange, and a little offcenter. One of Inspector Wexford's daughter's has a small part. One character is a woman who has been physically abused by her husband since their honeymoon. It is hard to believe that there are such women ...more
Martha Fiorentini
Skipping around in series based on what I can find at the library
Jayne Charles
There was a lot happening in this book, which slightly made up for the fact that the 'main mystery' was quite poor. It was unravelled as usual by Wexford and I found myself thinking, 'Eh? So that's it, is it?'. Other strands of the plot dealt with the (at the time) rather topical issue of vigilantes tracking down suspected paedophiles. The novel takes a good look at both sides of this issue, and whilst I had no children when I read this book, I have now and I suspect I would see things different ...more
Ok…but a bit dismal. Battered wives and pedophiles.
Melissa Andrews
I've only read one other Rendell book, but I seem to recall it being likable; this one also held my attention as well. In addition to the main murder mystery, there were other sub-stories thrown in, and while interesting, they weren't related to the main plot. She also dealt with some interesting themes - how folk deal with pedophiles who re-enter society after serving their jail time, the nuances of communities and class; spousal abuse was definitely the main these of this one. A good read if y ...more
My first read of Ruth Rendell. She writes very well; I'll read more of her.
Rendell is always a solid read -- a competent, capable author who rarely disappoints. Even though I figured out the main mystery half-way through, there were plenty of secondary and tertiary mysteries to keep me interested.

One of the themes in Harm Done> spousal abuse. I had to turn to the flyleaf to check the publication date (early 90s) because I thought that some of the characters acted naively. Perhaps 15 - 20 years ago, it wouldn't have struck me so.
Another winner by Rendell. I had gotten away from the Inspector Wexford until a co-worker mentioned them.

In this one Inspector Wexford and Mike investigate several things. There is much unrest in a neighborhood where a pedophile has just been moved into. Rex's daughter begins helping on an abuse hotline and he investigates several kidnappings, one might be related to abuse.
Rendell keeps each story moving and when she ties them together it isn't too unlikely.
Thomas Strömquist
"Very nice new acquaintance for me. The best kind of detective novel I think, when the story lines are a bit more random and lifelike and not everything falls neatly into place on the final pages. On the contrary, I was left wondering why there were so many pages left after the apparent end, but was very pleasantly surprised that the story not only continued, but continued while still avoiding strange twists and incoherent turns. Good characters and locations. "
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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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