Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Harm Done” as Want to Read:
Harm Done
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Harm Done (Inspector Wexford #18)

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  2,134 Ratings  ·  117 Reviews
The search for the body commenced. Then the victim walked into town.

Behind the picture-postcard façade of Kingsmarkham lies a community rife with violence, betrayal, and a taste for vengeance. When sixteen-year-old Lizzie Cromwell reappears no one knows where she has been, including Lizzie herself. Inspector Wexford thinks she was with a boyfriend. But the disappearance of
ebook, 368 pages
Published December 18th 2007 by Vintage Crime/Black Lizard (first published 1999)
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 Harm Done, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Harm Done

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

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details

Read by.................. Nigel Anthony
Total Runtime........ 14 Hours 29 Mins

Description: The search for the body commenced. Then the victim walked into town.
Behind the picture-postcard facade of Kingsmarkham lies a community rife with violence, betrayal, and a taste for vengeance. When sixteen-year-old Lizzie Cromwell reappears no one knows where she has been, including Lizzie herself. Inspector Wexford thinks she was with a boyfriend. But the disappearance of a three-year-old girl casts a more
Selva Subramanian
Actual rating should be 3.5 stars. I know Ruth Rendell is a celebrated crime novelist. But I had tried to read one of her award-winning novels prior to this and it wasn't a great experience. I was bored and dropped it after some 40% into it but that one wasn't a detective story. This one had "#8 Wexford" tag attached to its name and so I bought this with a lot of expectations, I mean, the thing that it is a great (?)writer + a detective story excited me. Coming to the novel, it wasn't bad. It wa ...more
Dec 14, 2013 Barbara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, suspense
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 masterpiece of crime fiction written by the unforgettable Ruth Rendell.

4* Going Wrong
4* The Keys to the Street
3* The Fever Tree and Other Stories
4* A Judgement in Stone
3* Fall of the Coin
4* People Don't Do Such Things
3* The Girl Next Door

Inspector Wexford series
3* Shake Hands Forever (Inspector Wexford, #9)
3* The Veiled One (Inspector Wexford, #14)
4* Harm Done (Inspector Wexford, #18)
Nov 02, 2010 Don rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 03, 2012 Kyrie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
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
Apr 03, 2015 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 19, 2017 Tony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
HARM DONE. (1999). Ruth Rendell. ***1/2.
This Inspector Wexford mystery by Rendell starts off with one of the most absurd situations that the author has ever used. You have to be a master at suspending your disbelief in order to keep on with your reading. The novel includes several different crimes within its purview, including kidnapping, pedophilia, and a couple of different instances of murder. A great deal of time is also spent on the subject of battered women. Putting aside the first situati
Bruce Beckham
Feb 13, 2015 Bruce Beckham rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

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
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
Nov 17, 2009 J.R. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
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.
Jul 12, 2015 Judy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I found the writing of this book to be stilted and trying to follow a lot of characters interspersed with their stories added to a not a very enjoyable read. I'm not sure I want to read any more Wexner detective stories as I struggled to get through this one.
Mar 17, 2015 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
With a string of plots as intricate as a knotted rope, “Harm Done” has Inspector Reg Wexford trying to figure out why several young women have been kidnapped and brought to a strange house to cook and clean for a few days for a lady known only as "Vicki", and winds up mired in an horrific story of cruelty, madness, mob violence and a missing little girl.

When she goes missing, the little girl's father is strangely emotionless, charming but lacking substance, reacting to his daughter's disappeara
Sep 25, 2015 Jaksen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another Inspector Wexford mystery and a very good one indeed.

In this next chapter for the the inspector and his sidekick, Burden, there are a series of 'little mysteries' which accumulate and lead to one 'big' mystery. Things start with the disappearance of a teenage girl, but then she returns and can't - or won't - say where she's been or why. This is followed by yet another teenage girl who disappears and the same events happen. (Can't or won't say what happened.) As the police try to puzzle t
Aug 07, 2013 Liz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rendell-wexford
Wexford’s daughter Sylvia, a social worker, is fleshed out more completely in this book. Sylvia, in addition to her everyday job, volunteers a couple of nights a week answering the helpline at The Hide, a local home where victims of abuse are given shelter. Chief Inspector Wexford asks her advice several times during the course of the several cases he is dealing with that involve abusive situations. A young girl named Lizzie, who is perhaps slightly mentally impaired, is missing, and later comes ...more
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
Jul 27, 2016 Ann rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not one of her best. There were three strands to this novel, the strange abduction of young women, the murder and the killing of a police officer. There were several oddities - I really cannot believe any young woman police officer would have behaved as Lynn did, totally against any training and really quite stupid! And then there was the photograph, can anyone look at a family photo and immediately know that the husband is a wife beater? Would a trained social worker make such a claim and would ...more
Feb 21, 2013 Kay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
A Wexford novel, and rather a change of style after reading Rankin and Booth. Domestic abuse is the focus. I am rather ambivalent towards Rendell but this is a good story, well constructed and avoiding any untoward ‘shock’ twists. There’s just something in her style that grates, possibly it’s a bit old fashioned and she does resort to stereotype too readily for comfort. As with another home counties cop, PD James’s Dalgleish, Wexford is seen as the sage, old-style copper who’s views on society a ...more
Sep 10, 2012 Ron rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 22, 2016 Anne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent book, beginning with the disappearance of a girl, and then her re-appearance. Chief Inspector Wexford is on the case, and there follows a number of cases that look at first glance to be intertwined. It includes the release from prison of a convicted paedophile into the area, the Muriel Campden Estate in Kingsmarkham, and the violence that ensues. Meanwhile Wexford's daughter is living in the area again, in a battered women's refuge. His relationship with Sylvia plays an important pa ...more
Nov 17, 2013 Joy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Oct 11, 2012 Sam rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
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.
Jill Hutchinson
Mar 12, 2014 Jill Hutchinson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Monica Penthor
I decided to read one of the Ruth Rendell books because my Mom really liked this author and I happened to have a copy. This book was published in 1999 and some of the attitudes in this book reflected this time period. Three separate plots, 1) young women being abducted, but returned after a period of time, 2) a pedophile returned to a neighbourhood, and 3) a domestic abuse story. I found the story engaging enough, but there were too many characters and their relationships to each other was daunt ...more
Alex Howard
Aug 21, 2012 Alex Howard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Gallowglass
  • The Wood Beyond (Dalziel & Pascoe, #15)
  • A Certain Justice (Adam Dalgliesh, #10)
  • The Secret Hangman (Peter Diamond, #9)
  • Three By Tey: Miss Pym Disposes, The Franchise Affair, and Brat Farrar
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 and above all for Inspector Wexford.
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)

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »