Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Not In The Flesh” as Want to Read:
Not In The Flesh
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Not In The Flesh (Inspector Wexford #21)

3.59 of 5 stars 3.59  ·  rating details  ·  1,741 ratings  ·  193 reviews
Searching for truffles in a wood, a man and his dog unearth something less savoury - a human hand. The body, as Chief Inspector Wexford is informed later, has lain buried for ten years or so, wrapped in a purple cotton shroud.
Paperback, 266 pages
Published 2007 by Hutchinson
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Not In The Flesh, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Not In The Flesh

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,614)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Rose
This book was dire. The main problem is not the basic plot, although I found that a bit confused, it's the "issues" the book goes on about in a stupid and sometimes offensive way.

"His taste ran to the colours which suited black skin, those which perhaps only a black man could successfully wear: red, orange, yellow, bright green. Black was a no-no." Funny, I'm sure I've seen more black people wearing black clothes than bright green. I've also seen plenty of non-black people wearing those colours
...more
Judy
Reading a book starring Chief Inspector Reginald Wexford (this is the 21st in the series) is like a long visit with an old friend. Like the rest of us, Wexford is aging and the process has turned him into a grumpy older man. He is forever frustrating his adult daughter and his wife, he hates anything to do with computers and the internet, and thinks that the world has become overfamiliar. In this latest adventure, a truffle sniffing dog (who is trespassing with his master) finds a dead body inst ...more
Kasey Jueds
My life has become so much better since I accepted Ruth Rendell as my personal savior.
Sophie
Ruth Rendell is a very good writer. She creates three-dimensional characters, brings her settings and scenarios to life, and pulls the reader into her stories. Unfortunately, though, Not in the Flesh is not a very intriguing mystery. There were too many disparate story lines, too many giant coincidences, too much time between the murder and the discovery of the body (eleven years) for witness recollections to be believable. (Who remembers seeing a stranger wearing a particular T-shirt after elev ...more
Jayne Charles
It's a long time since my last rendezvous with Wexford and his chums, and I have missed some of his more recent outings. It's interesting to note the way he reacts to changes in the world around him over the years. Now he's forced to drink wine the poor love, and all his staff have taken to calling him 'Guv' because that's what happens on 'The Bill'. Rather less blood and gore than your average murder mystery, though the (slightly incongruous) subplot involving the Somali family is calculated to ...more
Hol
It was a little jarring to go right from Dickens to Ruth Rendell, because her mysteries are kind of the opposite of a Victorian picaresque, but I did enjoy this one once I acclimated to the velocity of it and got focused on keeping track of the details, e.g.: Which one is Vivian and which one is Vera? What’s the inscription in Hexham’s ring again? There really is no one better than Rendell when it comes to casting out and then tying up a million loose ends. Speaking of velocity, however, this bo ...more
Edward

It’s difficult to review a mystery without giving too much away. In this case, all I need to say is that Ruth Rendell has written her typically good Chief Inspector Wexford mystery. The characters are familiar, they’re older, but they act as they always have.

A relatively new character, Detective Sergeant Hannah Goldsmith, makes an interesting foil for Wexford’s reflections on age and a changing society.

A familiar character, Inspector Mike Burden, “...had at last, regretfully, discarded his desi
...more
Bea Alden
Oct 08, 2008 Bea Alden rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all women
Shelves: mystery
Another of Ruth Rendell's tours de force - a magnificent murder mystery with a complicated plot, driven by sinister psychological motivations, told in a day to day narrative that puzzles the reader while seeming to bring it all down to earth.

However, it's the the sub-theme of female genital mutilation that makes this Rendell mystery particularly important. The Queen has honored Ruth Rendell for her lifetime of fine writing, making her a Life Peer and member of the House of Lords, with the title
...more
Jackie Jameson
I SELDOM (spoken in an British accent) don't finish any book I've started to read. But "this here one I did." (Alabama)
I read and liked the novel "13 Steps Down". I was quite prepared to enjoy this one too. I figured out "who done it" fairly early on. If there was a big ole' kaboomer of an ending, I missed it and didn't care. No likeable characters, NO one to root for. If justice was served, they pronounced it with a yawn. Love her writing..trying again with "Adam And Eve And Pinch Me". Horrible
...more
Felicity
This book probably deserves more than two stars but less than three, maybe two and a half. I did like it, but it did not have the compelling quality of Kate Atkinson's mysteries. About halfway through the book, the reader still didn't know anything (nor did the characters for that matter). It was frustrating--I think clues in a murder mystery are better scattered throughout the book to keep the reader interested rather than just bewildered or slightly bored. And the tangential storyline about FG ...more
Peggy
A body gets found in an old overgrown field by a dog walker. It is quickly established that the body has been there for around 10 years, and could not have died from natural causes. In good old fashioned detective story style, we have several suspects. There is grumpy John Grimble, owner of the field where the body was found. Grimble is your arch-typical does-not-get-on-with-authority-person. He wanted to develop the fields into housing, but this was not allowed. Indeed, he has started already t ...more
Jill
I enjoyed this book but it didn’t seem too different from the Inspector Lynley series by Elizabeth George, except for way better editing. There is the relatively well-adjusted Inspector (in this case, a family man who is even a grandfather), without an alcohol problem (although he likes a glass of red wine now and then), assisted by a number of detective constables of various races and genders, including a black male who disconcerts witnesses, and a white female who struggles with a weight probl ...more
Hal
Since discovering Ruth Rendell's Inspector Wexford series last year, I have become a huge admirer. I have read all but one of the novels -- and that is next one my list! -- but I must sadly say that "Not in the Flesh" is the weakest offering I have seen from this distinguished author. Most of her work is true literary fiction of the highest level. However, I found this book to be more of a potboiler.

There is an unpleasant and unnecessary subplot that contributes nothing to the story. I imagine
...more
Nancy
I enjoyed listening to Simon Vance read this book to me as as I rode back from visiting my new grandson in Boise. His voices for each character brought out their personalities and helped me keep track of who was who. In a change from the usual formula of murder mysteries, no one is killed in the present day. Bodies are found that have decayed to the extent that they are difficult to identify which helps make this a believable police procedural.
Margie
Rather funnier in odd ways than some of her other books.
The storyline was a bit messy. I found one of the subplots a bit of a forced distraction. The main story depended upon so many coincidences as to be completely improbable. And I kept wondering why Inspector Wexford wasn't doing some things that seemed very obviously called for.
But some fascinating (if unlikeable) characters, and Rendell's usual fine writing.
Kate
Another solid effort from Ruth Rendell in her Wexford series. The story line about Somali women and female genital mutilation, while interesting, seemed a bit "tacked on" to the story and had nothing to do with the actual case. Other than that, I enjoyed this book very much.
Margaret
A satisfying read. The man-and-his-dog who appear in the first chapter don't put in another appearance till the last one, and there is indeed a huge cast of characters.

What holds the interest in this book is that though the plot is wholly believable, it's quite impossible to guess where it's really going until well towards the end of the book. There's a plot, and a sub-plot. There are characters who look at first as though they're there to make the numbers up. They aren't. Each has an imprtant
...more
JodiP
This is #21 of the Wexford series; I think I've given up on reading them in order. This was a great one; the perpetrators are really creepy, and things get very twisted about, but of course Wexford, Burden and the rest of the team figure it all out, putting together what happened 11 years ago after two bodies are found. The death of the true author was such a tragedy; he and his family were so loving and they could have had an amzing uplifting life were his not cut short. The story-within-a stor ...more
Hazel McHaffie
'People disappear at an alarming rate - hundreds every day' the blurb said. I had to buy it. My own current novel features a disappearance so I'm exploring different aspects of this phenomenon. Then I discovered 'Not in the Flesh' also includes a story about novelists so I was doubly intrigued. And who hasn't seen the rather lovable Inspector Reg Wexford. I enjoyed the book but was surprised by the writing style - I wanted to edit it in places. But I recognise Rendell is famous and gifted and aw ...more
Anne Hawn Smith
Sep 14, 2009 Anne Hawn Smith rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Shelves: mystery
This was one of the better Inspector Wexford novels. The story centers around an old house left to fall to ruins when the owner, the son of the original owner, is not allowed by the planning commission to tear the house down and build 4 houses on the lot. He had a friend dig a trench for the water mains before he received the permission and has to fill it back in. In the few days it is unfilled, someone puts a body in it which is then buried by the backfiller. Eleven years pass before a truffle ...more
Heather
Jul 08, 2008 Heather rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Inspector Wexford fans
This is a strange one. The central mystery seems like a plot Rendell drafted back in 1975 and stuck in a drawer because it wasn't working out convincingly...then pulled out last year and tried to update the details and graft on a modern subplot.

The resolution of the mystery turns on at least one COMPLETELY implausible coincidence.
The depiction of the village and its residents seems very very dated.

Even the best-selling novel that's at the heart of the mystery seems like something that would hav
...more
Tony
Rendell, Ruth. NOT IN THE FLESH. (2007). ****. Ruth Rendell is certainly not a slacker when it comes to writing intelligent police procedurals. This is another in her series featuring Chief Inspector Wexford. One day, a long-time resident of Kingsmarkham – obviously one of the most criminous towns in England – was working with his dog hunting for truffles. The trained dog had found quite a few when he was suddenly working on a spot under a tree and turned up what turned out to be a skeletal huma ...more
Robert
This is an interesting story and the plot moves along well. Like other Rendell/Vine novels, the plot is complex and the characters are interesting. Even though the writing is excellent overall, however, I have noticed that either the author's writing is becoming somewhat sloppy or my judgments are becoming harsher. It is obvious that publishers don't spend money on editors these days and that is most apparent in the writing of masters such as Rendell. The lapses in construction and style stand o ...more
J.
Nov 18, 2008 J. rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: .. all mysterians ...
Shelves: mystery, rendell
The policier is a realistic accounting of crime and investigation, also known as a 'police procedural'. At it's most literal and direct it can be a satisfying and powerful narrative that sets out it's conflict early and then slowly but inevitably winds around to the resolution.

At a more evolved level, as in this Ruth Rendell title, it's a symphonic exploration of the way the world balances; a haphazard universe relentlessly realigning iself as the case unfolds, with events, characters, locales,
...more
Amanda Patterson
I have read every Ruth Rendell and Barbara Vine (her darker alias) novel. I may be prejudiced.
I enjoy her Wexford novels. Not in the Flesh is one of the best for a long time. Some of Ms Vine's dark thoughts have crept into this book and it works well. It gives one of my favourite old school detectives the edge he needs to fight another few books.
Rendell excels in uncovering our darkest fears and she is the mistress of turning the mundane into the monstrous. A Sight for Sore Eyes still haunts me.
...more
Kevin Shoop
This is the first Rendell novel that truly disappointed me. The plot was not very believable, and she seems to have a new obsession with the phrase "political correctness." There are some compelling (if over-the-top) suspects, but the mystery wasn't at all interesting until about half-way through. Not a total disaster, because I did read it quickly and to the end. Sadly, it brings to mind Agatha Christie's steep dive in quality in her final novels. Hoping this book is just an aberration.
Jodi
Was not very patient with the Inspector in this book. Since I was listening to it on my commute, I must cover length in time rather than pages--about 3 ½ hours left, I had it figured out. Have never read this author before so not sure if it is one where you are supposed to figure it out well before him and then ‘enjoy’ him trying to figure it out—was a bit frustrating. Yet, did enjoy the use of the double mystery plot line—pulled that together well.
The side story about female genital mutilation
...more
Ellen

Not in the Flesh (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)
by Ruth Rendell


Not in the Flesh, May 8, 2013


This review is from: Not in the Flesh (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)
"Not in the Flesh"

I usually have a more interesting title for a review other than just the title, but this book does not qualify in my opinion for anything more interesting.

I listened to this book on CD which I usually enjoy and was looking forward to it. This did not deliver the goods for me.

I've read a small number of Inspector Wexford
...more
Roma
Ruth Rendell used to be one of my favourite authors, and I've read quite few of her novels. However, maybe I have outgrown them, as I was quite disappointed by this one.

Apart from including an irrelevant storyline about FGM, it's a confused and confusing tale of two different (about a decade old) dead bodies and the weird household of a mediocre writer. It was hard to feel any sympathy for any of the characters, even Wexford himself.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 87 88 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Minotaur
  • The Summons (Peter Diamond, #3)
  • Death Comes for the Fat Man (Dalziel & Pascoe, #22)
  • Now May You Weep (Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James, #9)
  • Death Is Now My Neighbor (Inspector Morse, #12)
  • All The Colours Of Darkness (Inspector Banks, #18)
  • The Private Patient (Adam Dalgliesh, #14)
10890
A.K.A. Barbara Vine

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...
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)

Share This Book