The Best Man to Die (Inspector Wexford, #4)
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The Best Man to Die (Inspector Wexford #4)

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  1,194 ratings  ·  41 reviews
Who could have suspected that the exciting stag party for the groom would be the prelude to the murder of his close friend Charlie Hatton? And Charlie's death was only the first in a string of puzzling murders involving small-time gangsters, cheating husbands, and loose women. Now Chief Inspector Wexford and his assistant join forces with the groom to track down a killer ....more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published May 12th 1987 by Fawcett (first published 1969)
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Jerry
Somewhat "Sourpuss" Characters Spoil Classic 1969 Police Procedural

No one can complain that award winning Brit mystery author Ruth Rendell is anything but prolific - her some fifty novels span a career launched in the early 1960's now into our new millennium. About one-third of the stories, as herein with "Best Man", feature Chief Inspector Reg Wexford, who heads the Kingsmarkham district, which seems to correspond to maybe a county sheriff-type jurisdiction. In this tale, a fairly mild, tavern...more
Bea Alden
I think this might have been the first Ruth Rendell mystery that I discovered, and from then on, I was hooked. This early one, written in 1969, begins with a stag party for a groom, the late arrival of the generally unpopular best man, and his subsequent murder. Chief Inspector Wexford, who turns up again in many later books, unwinds the complex series of events that led up to the murder.

I adore all of Ruth Rendell's novels, as she skillfully draws the reader into the mind of her protagonists, a...more
Pam
This book was written 40 years ago, but it's still a great read. I love Rendell's Inspector Wexford series. Her mysteries are so well written, they practically read themselves. She knows just how to hook the reader and keep him/her turning the pages. In the past, many of the older books in the Wexford series haven't been available at the library, so I was thrilled to find this reissued paperback in the "new books" section. This is a short one (just 200 pages), but you actually get two mysteries...more
Laila
Wexford's wry humor is delightful. I'm seriously addicted to these mysteries.
Allan Nail
What a nice surprise. This was a series I'd started, then stopped for reasons I've already written about and won't go into again. Don't know what prompted me to pick it up again except that I suspected that she would get better. And she does.

Wexford is an interesting twist to the kind of inspector I usually read. He's competent, successfully married, adjusted. He's a bit grumpy, but generally likable. My complaints really had to do with the quality of the plots, sorta important, but lacking in...more
Marita
Whilst I've really enjoyed some of the author's books, this wasn't one of them. The plot was OK rather than gripping, and both Wexford and Burden were tiresomely pompous.
Hal
One of the weaker entries in the Inspector Wexford series. Slow to get started. I feel that her editor was overly deferential and could easily have made this book more readable with a few judicious cuts.

One thing I do like about this series is that Rendell truly makes her characters individuals. Too often in cozies there is only a protagonist and a bunch of stick figures to flesh out the plot. In the Wexford novels, we get to know all of the characters as people. I particularly enjoyed the atten...more
Tony
Rendell, Ruth. THE BEST MAN TO DIE. (1969; this ed. 1975). ****. Rendell writes some of the most literate and dryly humorous mysteries ever written. This is an Inspector Wexford mystery, with all the usual players present, including his favorite sidekick, Detective Burden. In this installment, we meet the principal players at one of the local pubs, where a stag party is going on for Jack Pertwee, a local electrician who is about to be married the next day. All his friends from the local darts cl...more
Ellen
The early Wexfords always seem to be available for Kindle from my local library/Overdrive. And if there's one thing I like about the Kindle (besides how easy it is to hold when your hands are wonky due to a Mystery Ailment) it's the dictionary. In this book, I looked up (and chatted with the kid about the roots of): orrery, tussore, pleached, bedizened, jabot, philoprogenitive (Just to double check. Of course.)

Plot is perfectly fine.
Julie
Another great Wexford novel!! The best man is murdered. As the story unravels, again it's not the person you expect. I really like how this author gives us glimpses into different characters in her writing.
Dot
With a writer as prolific as Ruth Rendall, it is inevitable that some books are better than others. I think the Wexford series is my least favourite. I find the characters of Wexford and Burden rather shallow...the author sometimes treats the reader to having Wexford pontificate on some subject while solving a crime...but there are no real insights forthcoming. In this one, the plot is turgid and the characters one-dimensional.
Ann
Jun 24, 2013 Ann rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: mystery
This must be one of the earliest Inspector Wexford mysteries. A lorry driver with too much money is murdered. Why was he so flush? And what's the connection with a case of mistaken identity in a car accident? In this book, his daughter Sheila is young drama student, but already fully capable of twisting her father around her little finger. In later Wexford novels Ruth Rendell usually also tackles a social ill (extreme environmentalists, domestic violence) but this is a straightforward mystery. E...more
Kay
Another typically good Rendell mystery with Inspector Wexford.Love these books and this deserves more of a 3.5 rating. It is one of her earlier books. It is well done and worth reading, it's just that some of her later books are more complex. Great character and plot development into true mysteries with none of the violence, nasty language and gory fluff of some American writers with which I'm familiar (not that all American writers are bad - I'm sure there are plenty of writers around the world...more
Vickie
A good British mystery is a joy to find. This is my first Ruth Rendell book and it won't be my last.

Inspector Wexford is the main character in this series and he is investigating the murder of Charlie Hatton, a lorrie driver and thug. Wexford also finds himself investigating the accident that kills a wealthy man and puts the man's wife in a coma.


It's a very well done mystery, with some very good twists, fab characters. Davina Porter is the perfect narrator for this.
Mary
Great story! When I start one of these I absolutely HAVE TO know what happens and why. In this outing, a man who is to be in a wedding party is killed the night before the wedding (right after the bachelor party). Was he killed for the cash he carried? Did he double-cross the criminal element he was involved with? And what is up with the lady in the hospital whose supposedly dead daughter turns up to visit? Very satisfying.
Kyrie
I like Rendell's stories and I liked Wexford in this one. It just didn't feel like the ends were quite tied up at the end of this one. Maybe I've watched too much CSI? So, it's not my favorite, but it's still a good mystery. It's also an interesting look at class and at male/female relationships in the 60s in England.
Sharon Holford

The mystery in this book is a fair to middling one. Some of these people you actually feel sorry for, weather they did wrong or not.

One thing that bothered me in this book is that the author spent a lot of time describing the scenery and the weather, it having nothing to do with the story this time.
lytteltonwitch
Charlie Hatton is found murdered on the day he is to be best man at his friend's wedding. Where does Charlie get all his money from as his job doesn't pay that much. As a sideline to the murder there is the mysterious car crash which has nothing to do with the murder or does it.
Melissa Larkin
Pretty good book for the most part. Wexford is an interesting character for sure, and the murder mystery part was good too, I didn't see that coming in the end. Definitely need to read more novels by Rendell and get a better feel.
Jz
Feb 22, 2014 Jz rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: mystery, own
4th in series It's been decades since I've read much Ruth Rendell. Her Wexford series books are much tamer than her Barbara Vine books, and I'd forgotten that.
Still, an enjoyable book. Not a rereader.
Florence Wetzel
This was my first Rendell book, and it was great. I love her characters and it was fun reading her descriptions of England in the late 1960s. She reminds me of Agatha Christie, and that's always a good thing!
Janet
I have decided to read the Inspector Wexford series, and this was the first one I could find. Ruth Rendell is good at depicting both darkness and humor, and I look forward to reading more of these.
Cindy
Sep 08, 2007 Cindy rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: English mystery fans
Shelves: mysteries
The bachelor party ends with the best man dead. Features Chief Inspector Wexford. Not one of her darkest books, but still not exactly light.
Joe O'c
Good; Continuing character: Inspector Wexford; British mystery revolving around murdered truck driver, auto accident, and missing girl.
Lili
I have yet to read a poor Ruth Rendell mystery. in fact I have enjoyed reading them all. Not all at once but over the years.
Linda Rowland
Not sure why this is only four stars. I am a huge fan of Rendell and love Wexford. This one even had a dog.
Bruce
Fascinating characters and a good mystery, but the resolution comes out of left field and is a little hard to buy.
Sharon Eudy Neufeld
I read to be entertained and to learn. This book barely entertained and did not teach me anything.
Mo

Not one of her best - felt it was a bit all over the place without clear plot.
Paula
Another wonderful performance by Davina Porter (I listened to the audio book).
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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)

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