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Kissing the Gunner's Daughter (Inspector Wexford #15)

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  2,222 ratings  ·  78 reviews
Investigating the murder of a socialite family, Inspector Wexford is forced to face his own deepest feelings. Called "one of Rendell's darkest and most suble character studies" (SF Chronicle).
Mass Market Paperback, 378 pages
Published May 1993 by Mysterious Press (first published January 1st 1992)
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Another great Inspector Wexford mystery by Ruth Rendell.

In this one three people are killed (slaughtered actually) while eating dinner in a great mansion located in a somewhat secluded, private wooded estate. Yes, they are wealthy. One's a famous author; the other two are her husband and daughter. There is one survivor, a granddaughter, shot in the shoulder and who nearly bleeds to death.

Wexford, with his sidekick, Burden, and various other police aides, officers, and forensics experts set up ca

Reg Wexford (described pompously on the cover of the US edition as "Inspector Reginald Wexford", f'r gawd's sake, as if they were hoping to make you think he was another goddam Brit cop-with-a-knighthood, or at least an "Hon" to put to his name) has to tackle one of the goriest cases of his career, whenan internationally renowned local author has her head blown apart by a gunman or gunmen who also slay her husband and daughter; only her granddaughter Daisy survives. Doing his usual bluff best to
A superb Rendell. Begins with a gruesome massacre so if you are squeamish, you might want to skip this one. But then, squeamish folks don't usually read Rendell...
Davina Flory turns out not to have been quite the marvelous character that many think she was, and her controlling nature turns out to have contributed to her demise.
Wexford's daughter Sheila falls in love with an appalling sort of writer, and Wexford's sense of having lost her to this character may have blinded his vision for a time.
Caroline Eising
I chose to read Kissing the Gunner's Daughter after reading another author's book that I had disliked, because I wanted to read something dependably entertaining and familiar. I was not disappointed. The observations of small town life and the intricacies surrounding a murder investigation were stock standard for this genre - interesting but rarely hugely surprising. The descriptions of the characters and surroundings are three dimensional without being overwordy. One character in particular I c ...more
My husband and I listened to this book in the car over a the course of a couple weeks. The reader, Davina Porter, was excellent. The story is complex and layered. We both got quite caught up the mystery and discussed it frequently when we were not listening. We figured out more or less who-done-it slightly before Wexford's final explanation but there were still twists in how and why right up to the end. This book is almost surely one that is better listened to slowly than read at a fast pace.
Definitely one of Rendell's best tales so far. I'd say I could do without the personal life issues, except in this case, they were needed to help Wexford move along and solve things. Or at least they entertwined with the plot well enough I didn't wonder when we were going to get away from his daughters and move on to the "real" story. It definitely had some bizarre twists. I think I need to reread the last chapter to be sure I know who did what and why.
Amanda Patterson
I have read all of Chief Inspector Wexford's investigations as penned by Ruth Rendell. I have become acquainted with his wife and daughters. And learned about the sibling rivalry between them.
Wexford is a bit of an old-fashioned plodder. He is not a rogue, rough around the edges detective. If you like old-fashioned police procedurals you will love this series.
Pmalcpoet Pat Malcolm
Having read the most recent Inspector Wexford titles, I have been making my way back through the older ones I haven't read. What I especially loved about this one was the opportunity to stop along the way and enjoy the natural surroundings as described by author Ruth Rendell. It was fun to look up unfamiliar names of plants and discover how we know them here in the US. At that point the colors and textures came alive and became a very real backdrop to the story. I puzzled along with Wexford and ...more
Thoughtful...engaging...evocative...of course, I felt it went on too long. The premise was amusing: two murders committed about a year apart, each with a gun, are immediately understood to have been committed with the same gun. Why? Because it's England and there are not that many guns floating around.

This would get two and a half stars. I liked it, but it wasn't her best. The ending left a bit to be desired.
Kathleen O'Nan
I've been reading the Inspector Wexford series in order and have enjoyed them all but this one made a leap forward in terms of style and plot complexity. It was good to see that Inspector Wexford's family life is not as idyllic as I'd earlier thought but I was sad that his daughter Sheila was so badly snookered by a jerk. Luckily, she didn't marry him! Wexford's familial infatuation with Daisy struck me as very real but I was glad he shook himself out of it before the final events or that would ...more
Truly excellent - perhaps the best novel in the series.
Alan Hughes
From Kirkus Reviews

Rendell's last few books haven't been up to her extraordinarily high standard, but Chief Inspector Wexford's first appearance since The Veiled One (1988) is cause for celebration. The crime under investigation--the murder of monstrous old novelist Davina Flory, her younger MP husband Harvey Copeland, and her daughter Naomi, along with the shooting of granddaughter Daisy--is thick with mysteries beyond whodunit: What were the two criminals looking for beyond a bit of jewelry?

The crime Inspector Wexford is investigating - the murder of monstrous old novelist Davina Flory, her younger MP husband Harvey Copeland, & her daughter Naomi, along w/ the shooting of granddaughter Daisy - is thick w/ mysteries beyond whodunit: What were the two criminals looking for beyond a bit of jewelry? How did they make their escape? What's happened to Naomi's business partner, Joanne Garland, & what's her connection to Daisy's father, George (Gunner) Jones? What links the killing ...more
Eine nette, etwas verrückte Dame, leiht mir regelmäßig Bücher zum Lesen, so auch ein paar Ruth Rendell Bände. Sie ist fast 80, war Bibliothekarin und hat - natürlich - einen anderen Büchergeschmack als ich. Aber was solls, alle drei gelesen. :)

Ich bin kein allzu großer Fan der Inspector Wexford Krimis... nett geschrieben, aber so furchtbar kurzlebig und beinah ein sinnloses Lese"vergnügen".

Die nächsten zwei Bücher habe ich schon in die Hand gedrückt bekommen. Hat sie geschenkt bekommen von eine
Harry Monk
I had read Ruth Rendell short stories years ago and frankly was not a fan. However, this is the first of the Wexford series I've read and was very pleasantly surprised. It's one of the best mysteries I've read in sometime from the standpoint of character and plot development. Even though I had pretty well figured out what happened, I was not disappointed by the final ride with all the little twist interns.
An Inspector Wexford novel, he is called to a horrific murder in an English mansion. Three people are murdered at the dinner table. However, there is a survivor, a fourth person. She crawls to the phone to call for help before she bleeds to death. The dead are her mother, grandmother and grandmother's husband. The only family the 17 year old has left is her father, who has not had contact with her since she was a toddler. There are suspects, more victims and a year old, unsolved murder of a poli ...more
Another great Wexford mystery. It is gradually unraveled by Inspector Wexford and his team. They come on a multiple murder of a famous author and her family. The daughter is injured, but recovers. As with all her books, she step-by-step investigates and uncovers the truth. Very well written
I finished the whole thing in one sitting. I just couldn't put it down. The character's are so well developed ... you feel like you know them or they could be someone you know. Rendell surely has a magical way of bringing the story to life and keeping the reader guessing.
Andrea Sachs
I do enjoy a good mystery - and Ruth Rendell's mysteries with Chief Inspector Wexford are among the best. This one I almost figured out - but not quite!
A good read. A policeman is murdered almost on page 1. Three family members are murdered a few pages later. They're unconnected events of course. Or are they? It's the 3 murders however which occupy most of the book. The deceased are a woman, her husband, her daughter. Her granddaughter, though injured in the massacre, survives.

Several suspects, so little to go on. Inspector Wexford follows several false trails. The characters, even minor ones, are well drawn, and so when the murderer is reveale
Kate Millin
From the back of the book
'Sergeant Caleb Martin of Kingsmarkham CID had no idea just how terminally unlucky Friday the thirteenth of May would prove. Even alive, he could have had no inkling of the chain of bloody events that would follow' he dies later that day in a bank heist, shot by a gun that is later used to kill 3 members of the same family at their home, while one member of the family survives. In a counter point to the main story Inspector Wexford does not like his daughters new partne
Kirsty Darbyshire

Ruth Rendell is so ubiquitously associated with the crime novel in the UK that it's easy to write her off as just another best selling author and forget what an excellent writer she is. Though the ending of this book was a little tangled up and the solutions to the minor mysteries got a little lost in the unveiling of the major mystery it didn't really detract from an excellent plot. There were a lot of characters to keep straight and if I'd read it at a slower pace I might have got irritated an

Denise Mitchell
Great character development and plot twists.
Les Wilson
A really good Inspector Wexford story.
Lekker spannend boek van Ruth Rendell. De uiteindelijke moordenaar is een totaal onverwacht persoon. En pas op de laatste bladzijde kom je daar achter. Dus lekker lezen maar.
Started this months ago, then put it aside, distracted by more shiny attractive books. However, after a recent Wexford which I enjoyed immensely, felt the urge to go back and finish it.
Was a good read, though at times seemed to take a longer path to get to the destination than truly necessary. Worked out half of the guilty parties quite early in the piece, though without understanding why. Thankfully all loose ends were duly tied.
Sanjay Sanghoee
So-so addition to the Inspector Wexford series. Too convoluted and egregiously long. Some good twists and turns but overall starts dragging by the second half. Would have been a great book at half the length. Rendell's prose is fantastic and descriptive as ever and her strength is in understanding her characters beneath the surface. Part psychology part murder mystery, decent book but nowhere near her best works.
Dean Morris
A good mystery.
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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)
  • 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)
From Doon With Death (Inspector Wexford, #1) A Judgement in Stone The Babes in the Wood (Inspector Wexford, #19) A Sight for Sore Eyes The Water's Lovely

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