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The Babes In The Wood (Inspector Wexford #19)

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  2,748 ratings  ·  145 reviews
With floods threatening both the town of Kingsmarkham and his own home and no end to the rain in sight, Chief Inspector Wexford already has his hands full when he learns that two local teenagers have gone missing along with their sitter, Joanna Troy. Their hysterical mother is convinced that all three have drowned, and as the hours stretch into days Wexford suspects a case ...more
ebook, 336 pages
Published December 18th 2007 by Vintage (first published 2002)
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ZZZZZZZZZZZ--am I finished yet? This book was OK, the writing was excellent, but it dragged on. The story could have been shortened a bit. The plot was good, but the outcome was very predictable, at least to me. I'm going to read The Rottweiler next, also by Ruth Rendell. I've heard it is really good.

Rendell has an extremely long list of novels to her name, some famously "Inspector Wexford" ones ... but why bother reading them? For the entire 300+ pages I've just waded through, I honestly had the sense that the writer was sitting at her typewriter laughing at her readers: She clearly knew from the very beginning who killed Joanna Troy and why the Dade children went missing, as well as where they were. All the questions Wexford asks and all the investigations as to what, where and how are mer ...more
I recently read that Ruth Rendell has published her last Inspector Wexford novel (The Monster in the Box} and realized that I had a little catching up to do. In Babes in the Wood, Rendell comes closer to her standalone psychological suspense novels (some of which she publishes as Barbara Vine) than I recall her doing in past Wexford books. It seems that each family in this book is more dysfunctional than the next. Wexford and Burden must also deal with a fundamentalist church and with heavy rain ...more
Harry Connolly
Book 12 of #15in2015

Wow. This was sort of terrible.

Rendell died recently, and the way her obituaries described her work made me want to sample it. The sensible thing would have been for me to carefully select a much-lauded novel, but instead I grabbed something at random on the shelf.

The characters were cliches: an absent-minded professor, a snotty supermodel, misogynistic Christian fundamentalists, the overweight guy who can't resist a sweet cake in the most awkward of social circumstances. T
Vastine Stabler
(SPOILERS) An unfortunate misstep for the usually reliable Ruth Rendell. The book is filled with uninteresting subplots (especially one about a wealthy alcoholic and his narcissistic model wife) that constantly undermine the flow of the story. Like so many European crime novels, the story includes the usual religious boogiemen without even a hint of nuance. The solution largely comes via a plot device not the investigation we have been following(though to be fair to Rendell, pieces of the invest ...more
This book had potential, but as the plot unfolded, I found it more and more tedious. There were so many cliches it became rather laughable at times: women-hating religious fanatics, repressed spinsters, nagging women, drunken aristocrats. There was even an absent-minded professor, though the author tried to excuse it by pointing out that the character was a cliche. Wouldn't it be better to avoid such cliches altogether? Overall, the mystery was fairly well laid out and I had a good idea of who t ...more
It's raining in Kingsmarkham. And raining. And raining. There's flooding in the town, close to the home of Inspector Wexford, who is worried about his adult daughter, a divorcee with appalling taste in men, as well about his house. In the midst of the deluge, a teenage brother and sister vanish, along with the woman who has been staying with them during their parents weekend away. Wexford sees no real evidence of foul play, but is uneasy anyway. When the woman's car is spotted in a shallow gorge ...more
Pam Roberts
Ruth Rendell is a wonderful writer and I especially enjoyed this Inspector Wexford mystery. The author manages to combine a really good mystery with recurring (and progressive with each book of the series) tales of the private lives of his co-workers and his two adult daughters. His daughter Sylvia gets the attention in this book and Wexford is not happy with her. The mystery, about two teenagers and their babysitter, has many twists and turns and is brought to a satisfactory, if somewhat unlike ...more
This is my third Ruth Rendell in last couple days and I have realised I could always depend on Rendell's books whenever I want to read a solid good book. The plot might disappoint me in the end but her writing would never. Her writing style is excellent; deep but not complex, intelligent.

Two teenagers have gone missing along with their sitter, Joanna Troy. Investigation takes new turn when a body is found. Wexford has his hands full with so much happening and clues pointing in many directions.

I normally really like Ruth Rendell and her mysteries but this one fell short. For some inexplicable reason, she decided to ruin a perfectly good story with strange feminist interjections and then a blatant anti-Christianity blib. It rang false in the novel and also for her detective, Inspector Wexford.
I finished the novel because I really did want to know "who did it" but wish I hadn't.
As I have with all of the Wexford novels, I had a wonderful time reading this one. (Actually, this time round, I listened to the audiobook version on my iPhone, but I read it when it was first published.) My only complaint is with the "solution," which didn't seem as believable as Rendell's solutions usually do. The side story about Sylvia was great.
Apparently I first read this before I started using GoodReads. I kept thinking the storyline was vaguely familiar, which made the mystery fall a bit flat. Good writing.
Kim Kimselius
Syndafallet av Ruth Rendell är en mycket spännande bok. Jag tycker om kommissarie Wexford, en helt vanlig man, inte försupen och frånskild, utan lever i ett lyckligt äktenskap med två vuxna döttrar.

Regnet vräker ned över Sussex, floden Kingsbrook har svämmat över sina bräddar och åtskilliga hus står under vatten. Kommissarie Wexford har fullt upp med att hålla ett öga på floden som sakta men säkert äter sig in i hans egen trädgård, när en Katrina Dade ringer och berättar att hon tror att hennes
Pat Kahn
Ruth Rendell wrote her first Inspector Wexford book in 1964. I read several in the lat 60's early 70's and decided I didn't like her, but can't remember why. I picked up "Babes in the Woods" published in 2002 free and decided to give her another try. Her writing is excellent, her plots are inventive, her characters have life, but I simply did not like the book. All of her characters are unpleasant people. Even Inspector Wexford, for all his dry humor, comes across as unlikeable. Probably this is ...more
The over-riding constant in this book was rain--so much rain that 'there hadn't been anything like it in Sussex in living memory'.
When two teenage siblings go missing along with their weekend chaperone, their rather unstable mother is convinced that they have drowned. Inspector Wexford feels certain that is not the case, but is at a loss as to what has actually happened to them. Eventually the woman who was supposed to be looking out for them, is found dead in her car in a ravine, but the weeks
Ruth Rendell is always good value. But this is even better value than most. Life isn't good anywhere in Inspector Wexford's community as the book begins: the area is dangerously flooded and the rain continues. Two teenagers and their 'babysitter' disappear when their parents are away for the weekend. Did they drown in the floods? Then the babysitter's dead body is found - some 3 months after the event. The landowner on whose property the decomposed crpse is found had actaully sen it significantl ...more
I had thought that I'd read every Wexford novel that Ruth Rendell has written, but I hadn't read this! It was a lovely surprise!

The central mystery in the book were three missing persons. They have just vanished. Little by little, the mystery gets solved and the solution is not straightforward. I could not guess what had happened, so that too was satisfying.

I would have given this five stars - almost because having found an unread Wexford novel was so nice - but for the very ending of the book,
Inspector Wexford is called to the home of missing children. The parents had left their teenage children with a babysitter to return after the weekend to find all three missing. Meanwhile the town is facing flooding. Through some bizarre events, the babysitter is discovered dead in a car. But not for several weeks. Through the long investigation, three marriages fall apart while the children are being searched for. Ties to a fundamental church are also pursued.
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This book was definitely not the Ruth Rendell I have come to enjoy. The story/case is not revealed piece by piece as you go along so that you see how things fit together. All of the sudden, the last bit is Inspector Wexford explaining how the crime was committed and why. Very disappointing storytelling. It made me wonder if the plot was pulled out of a pile of story ideas and then hastily put together to meet a publisher deadline. Thankfully this Rendell novel is not my first, so I can easily ch ...more
Definitely one of Rendell's best. I find I am enjoying her more recent books more than the early ones.
She shows a remarkable ability to grow and evolve with the times. Not only have her characters evolved over the decades, but also the technologies. iPhones and computers are popping in her most recent novels, not as superfluous details but as integral -- though small -- details that help limn her characters.
Rendell sometimes goes overboard to show off her learning and erudition, but not here.
This book dragged on and on. As another reviewer mentioned, the author "clearly knew from the very beginning who killed Joanna Troy and why the Dade children went missing, as well as where they were". The reader begins to figure things out WAY ahead of the police detectives, which creates a sense of impatience. I don't want to read a murder mystery and figure out whodunnit and why, chapters ahead of the protagonist.

This could have been an interesting story. Ruth Rendell needs to allow a good edi
Very satisfying to get reacquainted with Inspector Wexford after a long hiatus. Rendell writes characters so well that the whodunnit is almost a secondary consideration.

Despite the drama of 3 missing people, two of them children, there are moments when Rendell achieves a note of grim black comedy just by letting her more obnoxious/addled/nasty characters open their mouths to speak. She's a master at dialogue--interior and exterior.
Jerry Sattin
David McCullough, in a New York Times interview, named Ruth Rendell as a favorite author. So I read this novel and was sorely disappointed. Among English mystery writers, she doesn't, based on this one book, hold a candle to Agatha Chistie, P.D. James, or Dorothy Sayers. But I should read another one. Note that there are a lot of characters. I recommend keeping a scorecard.
This is my 1st Ruth Rendell detective Wexford mystery & am now hooked. I loved the thought process of the detectives, how they are human and falable and not perfect. I had guessed some of the out come but not all. I really liked the ending. How it was rounded up together.
I also liked that I picked up the 19th book of Wexford series & it was perfectly ok. There was no confusion as they could all be picked up & read individually.
Good story as usual, but some just very strange things that I have no idea why her editor didn't pick up on. They just grated.

For instance, in one section there was a comment made by Wexford that all three of the supposed victims' passports were at their (own)homes, so somehow that was supposed to mean that the abductor/murderer must be foreign and had left the country.

Lynn Pribus
Although I'm a great fan of Rendell, I think this suffered from being read right after 5-star LEFT EARLY TOOK MY DOG. The latter so deftly wove many points of view (all in 3rd person) and various story threads with flashbacks and the present all intertwined.

BABES is such a straight line. There are the usual red herrings and at the end you can see that the evidence was all there to see. So, not bad at all, but not great either.

I downloaded this one and although I realized prett
Kacy Danek
I love Ruth Rendell's mysteries because Inspector Wexford is such a likeable fellow, and there are fun twists. I was totally immersed in this tale, pun intended, since one of the characters seemed to be the rain and the floods it caused, which just added to the gloominess of the whole tale-brilliant!
Police procedurals are my favorite mystery genre, and I think I've read all of Rendell's Inspector Wexford series. I like that he's kind of grumpy and behind the times, irritated with weather reports in metric figures. However, he's a great judge of people and his point of view is always satisfying. This is a rattling good mystery of two teenagers and their babysitter gone missing during a record rainstorm and flood. As usual Rendell give quick character sketches of everybody interviewed by the ...more
Classic Rendell and interestingly observed of a family tearing itself apart when two children go missing, multi-layered bringing in religious cult, a browbeaten media man from London and also an interesting angle too on the Wexford family. Thoroughly enjoyed 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)
  • 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 A Sight for Sore Eyes Kissing the Gunner's Daughter (Inspector Wexford, #15) The Water's Lovely

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