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An Unkindness of Ravens (Inspector Wexford #13)

3.72  ·  Rating Details ·  2,249 Ratings  ·  138 Reviews
Rodney Williams's disappearance seems typical to Chief Inspector Wexford -- a simple case of a man running off with a woman other than his wife. But when another woman reports that her husband is missing, the case turns unpleasantly complex.
Paperback, 352 pages
Published September 12th 1986 by Fawcett (first published 1985)
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Bettie☯


Read by.................. Michael Bryant
Total Runtime......... 8 Hours 9 Mins

Description: Rodney Williams's disappearance seems typical to Chief Inspector Wexford -- a simple case of a man running off with a woman other than his wife. But when another woman reports that her husband is missing, the case turns unpleasantly complex.

This is somewhat similar to getting back onto a horse after a fall as the last book in this otherwise solid series was a dut-doh.

A feminist-toned tome with added knives
...more
Liz
Feb 03, 2008 Liz rated it did not like it
The absurd, insulting ending to this book completely mitigates the decent novel that came before. I would not recommend this book to anyone.
Leslie
Oct 02, 2016 Leslie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Aaaah...a much better Rendell experience than the last Wexford! A plot that's close to home--perhaps even too close--and full of the concise descriptions of characters that make you know them, this entry in the series is perfect in every way, right down to the too-real problems of Wexford's partner, whose wife is pregnant with their first child--and doesn't want it. The psychological twists and turns of that relationship are a fascinating story alone, but so much more is happening.

At the request
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Francis
Sep 10, 2015 Francis rated it liked it
This was my least liked of the Rendell books I have read to date and Ruth Rendell has been one of my favorite mystery authors. So... what was the problem exactly? I would break it down to three separate complaints.

1) The cold, unemotional mother figure and her subsequently damaged or dysfunctional offspring. While this leads to an interesting puzzle - is it the mother or the damaged child - who committed the crime? It can begin to feel a little repetitious after awhile.

2) The young radical adult
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Heather
Apr 12, 2008 Heather rated it it was amazing
I think this is one of Rendell's most interesting books with regard to images of women, assumptions about feminine character, and feminism. She keeps setting up and knocking down feminine stereotypes, playing with our assumptions about the nature of women -- ugly/pretty, old/young, sophisticated/naive, strong/weak. Characters and readers are duped/led astray by the strong emotions produced by the very idea of abusive/exploitative men and vulnerable girls.
I enjoy the rather comic depiction of th
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Lyn Elliott
Jul 27, 2016 Lyn Elliott rated it liked it
You can't help liking Inspector Reg Wexford. He might be a bit rough and grumpy, but he's kind, loves his family, reads plays and can spend a lot of time on wrong tracks. Here the tracks get pretty muddy and the motive resolve not very convincing, most of the characters overdrawn, but it was ideal for another day shut inside with bronchitis.
Roman Clodia
Ok, this is the third 'vintage' Rendell I've listened to on audiobook and I think I'm done: they're clearly wildly popular in my local library but I can't get over how dated and old-fashioned they are. This book was originally published in 1985 but what we have is a story of young feminists who are also knife-wielding man-haters ('cos, 'feminist' is a synonym for 'psychopath', obvs!).

Alongside all the misogyny and dodgy gender politics, is a horribly patronising approach to the readership: very
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Deborah Gray
Apr 10, 2012 Deborah Gray rated it liked it
Ruth can be guaranteed to write a well-crafted story, an easy read. I enjoy Inspector Wexford and his dogged pursuit of the truth, a man with his own brand of intuition who would rather follow up leads himself than send a subordinate. In this case, there were sufficient plot twists to hold interest, although I did start to guess the murderer about 2/3 of the way in. And it kept me entertained on recent long walks as I listened to the book on an MP3.

However, this story particular choice of subje
...more
Laura
Mar 17, 2015 Laura rated it it was amazing
Ruth Rendell's intrepid Chief Inspector Reg Wexford skillfully maneuvers his way through another murder in Kingsmarkam. This one, however, is a bigger tangle than most of his cases, involving not just murder but incest, unimaginable duplicity, bigamy and, ultimately, revenge of a type that leaves no room for easy answers or absolute justification.

Meanwhile, Wexford's partner, Mike Burden, is about to become a father, but his wife has become convinced she doesn't want the baby, especially if it'
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Chris
Mar 09, 2012 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In case you missed it, Rush Limbaugh called a woman a slut simply because she had a different prespective on an issue. Of course to Limbaugh, the term feminist is a nasty word. I feel like I should send him a "Happy Women's History Month" card or something.

There is an actual point to my rambling here. Rendell's book deals with the question of what is feminism or to be more precise, can things go too far. At least in part. How she deals with it is rather interestingly and enjoyable. Nice to find
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Laila (BigReadingLife)
I've read thirteen of these Inspector Wexford mysteries now. THIRTEEN! They're not the greatest thing ever but for some reason I can't quit reading them! In spite of the whole murder aspect, these are "comfort reads" for me. I know and really like the two lead detectives, Wexford and Mike Burden. I like the setting in semi-rural England. So I guess visiting these characters is like visiting old friends.

This particular entry is odd. It involves this militant feminist organization called ARRIA. A
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Kunjila Mascillamani
First Ruth Rendell read for personal reasons. Did not like the book nor the detective. Even though i picked it up because i had been told that it was about a staunch feminist group functioning underground, the book turned out to be of nothing of the sort. There was no feminism at all. On the contrary i found it very misogynistic and patriarchal in its story, approach and even language.

The man who in the beginning of the book is reported missing had a reputation. This we get to know from the conv
...more
Ellen
An Unkindness of Ravens by Ruth Rendell.

This story was published in 1985. I wanted to go back to the start of the Inspector Wexford series after I had enjoyed so many of them that were written more recently.

Inspector Wexford is informed of a neighbors disappearance. Actually it's his wife that has requested he speak with the wife of the missing man. The inspector doesn't think too much about this situation but does go to the home of the missing person and speak with the wife, Mrs. Williams. In q
...more
Rose Mary Griffith
This book may be why I stopped reading Rendell many years ago.
By 49% (Kindle), I was in agony wondering why the story was going on and on when it was obvious who, if not why, committed the murder. By 79% I was skimming. At 85% I gave up.

There was nothing I liked about this book, especially after reading Peter Robinson's Inspector Banks' novels where I feel plunged into the settings and as if I'm forming friendships with the characters.

I couldn't get a bead on Wexford--his age, appearance, anythi
...more
Margaret Sweet
Mar 05, 2017 Margaret Sweet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Classic Rendell

An excellent mystery which holds ones interest even when the technical points are far out of date. Entertaining and absorbing.
Dorottya
Jan 24, 2013 Dorottya rated it liked it
3.5

Okay, at first I didn't really get this book, but after the investigation plot kicked in, it grew a lot on me. The investigation plot was really well-structured, interesting, smart... basically what a detective novel should be like. Dropping clues here and there, making us readers do guessing games, with an ending which was not blindingly obvious from the start yet makes sense. I also liked the psychological aspects, the reactions of the characters were most of the times really starkingly aut
...more
Simon Mcleish
Oct 30, 2012 Simon Mcleish rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
Originally published on my blog here in March 2001.

When a neighbour's husband goes missing, Rendell's detective Wexford is reluctant to investigate. But what seems initially likely to be a case of a man going off with another woman turns out to be more complex, as he is revealed to have been a bigamist and as it becomes clear that no member of either family actually liked him very much.

As a murder mystery, An Unkindness of Ravens is neither particularly memorable nor difficult to solve (though i
...more
Sandra
Ruth Rendell é, na minha opinião, um ícone literário no policial tal como Agatha Christie. Adoro as duas, e os seus livros são devorados por mim numa questão de meras horas. Este só se tratou de uma excepção por causa da letra minúscula e do amarelo torrado das páginas. Mas devo dizer que este exemplar de Maio de 1986 mostrou-se um valente e amigável companheiro em viagens e esperas. Só foi pena que a desastrada (diga-se eu mesma) tenha descolado a capa ao andar com ele dentro das carteiras.


Quan
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Suzanne
Dec 02, 2013 Suzanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this within a year or two of its 1985 publication, I think, and I'm surprised on this reread to find it's become something of a period piece. It may have been the last procedural in which forensic evidence turned on matching a writing sample to a typewriter, and was late enough to note that golfball/daisywheel type stocks for electric office machines were easily disposable and even a few primitive computers of the Apple I/Commodore generation were not completely out of reach of the typist ...more
Filipa
2,5 stars
Este livro foi uma chatice. Ainda bem que o livro é pequenino, porque não sei se aguentava muito mais do que 200 páginas disto. É um enredo moderadamente engraçado, misterioso, mas a história simplesmente não foi cativante o suficiente para me entusiasmar. Confesso que quando cheguei a meio, já pensava que nunca mais ia chegar ao fim. A minha personagem favorita foi o Wexford e talvez também o Burden, agora que penso nisso.
O final apanhou-me mais ou menos de surpresa. Consegui adivin
...more
Joanne Kelleher
Dec 30, 2016 Joanne Kelleher rated it really liked it
Detective stories are not my usual genre (aside from the Cormoran Strike series), but I read this for the Great Books Discussion Group at my library. I think in order to enjoy a detective series, you have to like the detective, and I did like Chief Inspector Wexford. He is an older family man with a younger male partner who, in this book, is agonizing over the impending birth of his first child (this was a over dramatic story line in my opinion, but it tied in to the story line). What was most i ...more
Peggy
Dec 28, 2016 Peggy rated it it was amazing
Inspector Wexford is told by a neighbor that her husband is missing, but she doesn't want to file an official police report. So, Wexford doesn't take it too seriously. The husband has run off probably. But, when his car is found stripped and abandoned it adds some urgency to finding him. When he is found dead, now it is a big case. What Wexford didn't expect was to find out the missing man had two wives, two families, two homes. This is a complicated case. A radical feminist group, one repressed ...more
Melissa
Aug 15, 2016 Melissa rated it it was ok
Shelves: detective
It was okay. I figured out the killer pretty early on. All the references to paint colors was annoying, pointless, and seemed highly unlikely. Why would this detective in the mid-80's have a working knowledge of the esoteric names of paint chips? It was bizarre and added nothing to the story. Also, the side story with his partner's wife hating her unborn baby also added very little and she ended it with a total cop out. I've read two Barbara Vine novels and now this Ruth Rendell and I definitely ...more
Pan Alchemist
Nov 20, 2016 Pan Alchemist rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, 2016
A decent crime novel.

To be honest, I think the constant run of crime shows in tv has done a lot towards taking the thrill out of books like these. Because of all the exposure we constantly get, plots that could have been quite thrilling and leave one guessing to the end, now seem very obvious. I guessed who was guilty before they had found the body.

But, even though that was the case, I still enjoyed this.
Biblio Files
May 08, 2013 Biblio Files rated it did not like it
This one has put me off Ruth Rendell, and that's saying something. I'll just have to keep in mind that it was written in 1985 and attitudes have changed a lot since then, but her caricature of a militant feminist group is way over the top and apparently just for her own amusement, since it had little to do with the murder. And I'm not too crazy about the fact that Rendell seems to be a Freudian as well. How tiresome.
Margie
Mar 23, 2012 Margie rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, series, u-k
Interesting social commentary of a sort, tossed in with the mystery.
Tita
May 18, 2017 Tita rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Este livro foi a minha estreia com a autora e infelizmente não me cativou tanto como gostaria.

A premissa do livro é relativamente simples. O nosso protagonista é o detective-inspector Wexford que vai falar com Joy Williams a respeito do desaparecimento do seu marido. Temos ainda alguns homens atacados por umas jovens mulheres. E assim, vamos acompanhando duas linhas de investigação que, poderão ou não, estar ligadas.
Confesso que não tinha grandes expectativas com o livro mas esperava encontrar u
...more
Paula
Mar 07, 2017 Paula rated it liked it
Inspector Wexford a bit slow on the up take in this one.
Whistlers Mom
Sep 19, 2016 Whistlers Mom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This may not be Rendell's best, but it's still better than most writers could achieve.

I like this author's earlier books, which are shorter and stick to the plot more than her longer, later books. This one appeared twenty years after her first Inspector Wexford, so it could hardly be called early. Let's call it "on the cusp." Like most of Rendell's fans, I have enjoyed following the continuing story lines involving the Wexford and Burden families, although the drama here mostly centers around Mi
...more
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10890
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.
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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)

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“Burden thought irrelevantly that Wendy Williams must be attracted by bald men, first Rodney with his exaggerated forehead, naked as an apple, then this pebble-head.” 1 likes
“the case of her following his directions and taking the footpath” 1 likes
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