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Wolf to the Slaughter (Inspector Wexford #3)

3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  1,135 ratings  ·  80 reviews
It was better than a hotel, this anonymous room on a secluded side street of a small country town. No register to sign, no questions asked, and for five bucks a man could have three hours of undisturbed, illicit lovemaking.

Then one evening a man with a knife turned the love nest into a death chamber. The carpet was soaked with blood -- but where was the corpse?

Meanwhile, a
Paperback, 216 pages
Published September 30th 2008 by Ballantine Books (first published 1967)
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I can only give this three stars...

The mystery is okay, the interplay of characters, the scattering of clues that an astute reader of mystery should be able to discern, but...

It's the writing. I love Ruth Rendell: the stories, characters, settings, but the way she writes often totally confuses me. An example is when Wexford, the chief inspector, is questioning someone. He will talk; she will talk; it goes back and forth rather nicely, then...

She talks, but in the same paragraph you read, 'Wexfor
I really think, in the earlier Wexford books, Ruth Rendell may
have been gearing up Inspector Burden to be the pivotal figure
in the Kingsmarkham series. By making him an uptight policeman
she may have hoped, book by book, to humanize him but it didn't
work that way and Wexford, who initially appeared as a grumpy
eccentric, took over. But in this book it is Burden who starts
to put two and two together and drags Wexford out on a cold night
to the Olive and Dove to try to sell him his theory. It is also
Today Ruth Rendell is well known as a writer of thrillers with a fair amount of psychological tension in them. Wolf to the Slaughter is one of her earlier Inspector Wexford novels, and, while she's a competent writer and Wolf is worth reading, it lacks the edge that characterizes most of her later works. Wolf is police procedural focusing on a suspected murder, but with no body, Wexford and Burden are forced to start with no hard evidence, relying on their intuitions. A wealthy young woman fails ...more
à chacun son goût

I chanced on this book on my local library's "new books" shelves not long after its publication. It would be an understatement to say I was astonished. "Wolf to the Slaughter" remains my favorite Rendell book to this day, and I own and have re-read every one of them, several more than once. Those looking for traditional police procedurals can try the late Ed McBain's 87th Precinct series. Fans of the-end-justifies-the-means school of law enforcement have Michael Connelly's Harr
Rebecca Burke
When I am absolutely in the mood to be gripped and entertained, I usually can rely on a mystery by Ruth Rendell or her pseudonym Barbara Vine to do the job.

So I was disappointed by this novel in the Inspector Wexford series. The narrative simply never takes flight. Perhaps one of its flaws is the lack of a dead body in the beginning. This is one of the oldest "contracts" in the mystery genre, and for good reason: a corpse sets the stakes high and charges up your curiosity. Your mind starts to t
I tried ten times to get into this, but it just wouldn't work. Rendell wanted to give the investigating team some personality by adding weird personal ambitions, arrogance and romantic lust. But just as I couldn't get interested in the murdered people and the suspects, the plot line of the policemen was even more boring.

To be honest, I couldn't finish the book, so this review isn't representative. The only thing I can say is that I often read pages automatically, only to find out after after a f
The sister of artist Rupert Margolis has disappeared, probably with some man or other, it is thought at first. Then a big, unexplained patch of blood is found in a hire-by-the-hour room, after an amorous pair was seen staggering out of the same house. Anita Margolis appears to have been murdered by a Geoff Smith. But the policeman on the case has fallen hard for a young girl near the police station, and his powers of observation have deserted him.

The key to the mystery is identity -- who was doi
Clarissa Draper
The start: The start was wonderful. A man and a woman pick up another woman at her house. Something happens in the house and we begin to suspect something went wrong. What that was, we have to wait until the end.
The middle: The book slows down a lot here. Half the time I'm not sure the detectives on the case know what they're doing. Especially when they have no evidence of a murder. I can understand why other readers almost gave up.
The end: The ending (and I mean the end) was exciting. We find o
Listened to audiobook ready by Robin Bailey produced by BBC. Good plot and characters as Inspector Wexford and his department investigate the disappearance of a young socialite who they expect has been killed. Her eccentric artist brother reports her missing but is more concerned with finding a cleaning lady than with her disappearance. If not for an anonymous note saying Fred Smith has killed a young woman on the same evening as the disappearance Wexford would have ignored the case. So the poli ...more
Another excellent novel by Ruth Rendell. I am sorry it took me so many years discover this writer. I consider this book to be literary fiction of the highest quality. Yes, there is a murder, but the story really is about character development. Plenty of twists and turns in the plot with a surprise ending.

One reason that Rendell stands out in this genre is that her characters come across as real people, not the stick figures who populate so many cozies. She writes tightly. Very few extraneous wor
Phillip Oliver
A Ruth Rendell Book Club group has been set up on Facebook and it is really interesting reading her books in chronological order. This is Rendell's third Inspector Wexford novel (following From Doon With Death and Sins of the Fathers). It is easy to see the evolution of her writing style and in this book, she really seems to be coming into her own and developing her signature style. The book is taut, vivid and full of surprises at the end. Rendell's attention to detail is very evident here - her ...more

Read by............... Robin Bailey
Total Runtime......... 5 Hours 56 Mins

Description: Anita Margolis, young, beautiful, carefree, has vanished into thin air. She left her home to attend a party one wet evening, but has not been seen since. She is reported missing soon after by her brother, whom she shared a flat with, the acclaimed but eccentric artist Rupert Margolis. Inspector Burden quickly forms an impression of a wanton young girl simply gone off somewhere with a boyfriend having neglected
Anita – sister of Rupert Margolis – has disappeared. His main concern seems to be that she has left him to do all the housework and he wonders if the police can point him in the direction of some domestic help. Once Wexford and his colleagues have disabused him of this idea they are still left with a niggling feeling that there just might be something in it of interest to them.

This is a well written mystery with lots of interweaving strands which may or may not be connected to the original myste
Allan Nail
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Difficult to follow this one. Maybe it was just the Kindle version, but it was hard to tell when one section ended and another started. It would be the middle of a conversation between characters it seemed and then it would jump to other characters not in the scene speaking. I found myself rereading paragraphs to try to follow the narrative. The beginning of the novel set up a nice mystery, but then it got bogged down with too many unlikeable characters. It was hard to care whether or not Ann or ...more
There is a very subtle clue toward the end of this novel that one of the policemen misses and I caught. I was very pleased with myself. This is a very well crafted mystery full of red herrings and a wide cast of possible suspects. The setting is 1960s Britain and the contrast of generational attitudes--which wasn't a major factor in the story, just came up here and there--was an interesting element of the setting.
Excellent. A slow starter, but once I got into the subtle rhythm of British detective banter, I really enjoyed it. There's a missing woman, but no body, and lots of conflicting stories. I also like the time period - this was written in the 1960's when the young "mods" are coming into fashion, irritating the older squares - societal upheaval. I'm eager to read more in the series.
Jill Hutchinson
Another of the Wexford series by one of my favorite British mystery writers. In this short tale, a local wealthy party girl disappears, her sports car and fur coat are found by the road and it looks like foul play. Wexford and his team start digging for clues which include some pretty shady local characters' activities. One of his new team members, Detective Drayton, who is assigned to keep an eye on the daughter of a local fence who could be involved, suddenly finds himself falling in love with ...more
I have recently become a fan of Ruth Rendell. Again, this one is complex with interesting twists and turns and an ending you really didn't see coming. She's an interesting mix of a traditional British mystery and something far more contemporary. And she manages to accomplish all this without a shot being fired.
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in February 2002.

When a woman goes missing and the Kingsmarkham police receive an anonymous note alleging that she was murdered, Wexford and Burden launch an investigation into the seedier side of English market town Kingsmarkham. (Burden feels, with his conservative outlook, that an unmarried woman who sleeps around should expect trouble.) A human side to the story is provided by the romance which develops between one of their junior subordinates, hitherto s
Anita Drake
Another author I really enjoy, British murder mystery, good plot line, follow the evidence and arrive at logical conclusions. The story is circa 1960 and it's interesting to remember how investigations were handled before computers, cell phones, and databases.
I don't know if this was more a result of the narrator, or the book itself (I think both have a share in my dislike for this one), but I thought this book was incredibly confusing and the characters very unlikable.
This 3rd book in the Chief Inspector Wexford series was confusing, befuddling & enthralling. So many beautiful people as victims & suspects. I'm not sure I understood all the twists in the road, but I sure enjoyed the ride!
Murhamysteeri kävi oikein hyvästä mökkilukemisesta, mutta kirjana kierrätti niitä tylsimpiä dekkariklisheitä: kauniit nuoret naiset ovat tyhmiä ja nuoret poliisimiehet saavat potkut heidän takiaan.
Pam Kennedy
Feb 22, 2014 Pam Kennedy marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Just bought from the bookstore in Lyndon, Green Mountain Books and Prints. It is a compact paperback and I bought it to keep in my bag so I will have something to read when I am out and about.
Mar 22, 2010 Pepstrick is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Ruth Rendell is a superb writer, and how she has managed to produce so many psychological mystery novels in her lifetime of such high quality is a mystery in itself. This is an older one, from 1967, that I picked up in a used book store along with Sins of the Father, the one that just preceded it. Both are set in Sussex, the bailiwick of Chief Inspector Reginal Wexford and his Deputy Inspector, Michael Burden. These earlier books focused more on the criminals than on the police, but they are Dic ...more
A short (216 pages) Inspector Wexford mystery with lots of twists and turns, red herrings and a surprise ending. Quite a satisfying read.
Ruth Rendell is one of my very favorite writers, so I have to say that this isn't one of her best books. She is a very prolific writer. If you're only going to read one or two of her books, this shouldn't be it. I am not saying that this is a bad book, because I enjoyed it. I always enjoy her books. It's a decent Inspector Wexford book. The plot is a little convoluted and somewhat of an anti-climax. However, Rendell's writing is excellent, as usual; her descriptions of each character and of ever ...more
I found this terribly dated and pedestrian. The plot, characters and dialog were "clunky" and stilted. For me, it was the literary equivalent of those black and white films which the critics sometimes give high ratings but which are almost unwatchable as present-day entertainment.

I had to skip-read the last 50 or so pages, not because I wanted to know what was going to happen, but just because I'd invested a day of reading and I didn't want to consign it to the "abandoned" book shelf.

I didn't e
Kathleen O'Nan
The 3rd Wexford book. Liked this a little less than first 2 but still had fun reading it.
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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)
  • 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)
  • Death Notes (Inspector Wexford, #11)
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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