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From Doon With Death

(Inspector Wexford #1)

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  7,880 ratings  ·  558 reviews
Dazzling psychological suspense. Razor-sharp dialogue. Plots that catch and hold like a noose. These are the hallmarks of crime legend Ruth Rendell. From Doon with Death, now in a striking new paperback edition, is her classic debut novel -- and the book that introduced one of the most popular sleuths of the twentieth century.

There is nothing extraordinary about Margaret P
Paperback, 240 pages
Published June 26th 2007 by Ballantine Books (first published 1964)
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3.67  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,880 ratings  ·  558 reviews

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Read by................ Terence Hardiman
Total Runtime......... 5 Hours 28 Mins

Description: Margaret Parsons is dead. She appeared to lead a very dull life. She had been a "good" woman. Religious, old-fashioned, and respectable, her life had been as spotless and ordinary as her home, as unexciting and dependable as her marriage. However, it was not because of her life that Chief Inspector Wexford became involved, but her death. How is it possible that a woman who had led such a quiet, respectable
Nancy Oakes
Update, May 6, 2015: I am undertaking a Ruth Rendell "key" works project -- the books The Guardian recently noted as such the day of Ruth Rendell's death. From Doon With Death is the first of these . I've just reread this novel again after six years, and while I wouldn't change my rating, I will say that it was definitely a pleasure to have taken it up again. This time through I've noticed much more than I did the first time -- back then I think I was looking much more for plot and storyline, wh ...more
Dec 01, 2016 rated it liked it
This is the 1st book in the Inspector Wexford series by author Ruth Rendell. A good read that is written in an old fashioned style that introduces the main characters and sets up the series.
In this opening mystery Inspector Wexford investigates the disappearance of Margaret Parsons, a housewife who goes missing and is later found dead in the nearby woods. Margaret Parsons appears to have no enemies and seems to live a quiet life with very little excitement. So the mystery is who has killed her a
May 16, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It must have taken fifteen years to obtain the series volume I needed and get started. I want to enjoy a lauded authoress and have the jury out for Ruth Rendell / Barbara Vine. However, it is not the names that I grade. “From Doon With Death”, 1964, was dry. I hear her solo stories and other Reginald Wexford / Mike Burden cases are better; a good thing, because I own nearly them all, courtesy of bargain bins! Higher marks for higher enjoyment will mean something.

I initially gave three stars, for
Susan Albert
My reread of the first of the Wexford series was different than my first time through the book. Back then, in the early 1990s, I was a novice mystery writer eager to learn from a master. Now, I've written quite a few mysteries myself and I know what to look for. I read, now, for deeper glimpses into Rendell's craft, and I'm not disappointed. There's an art to writing a police procedural that is also a village mystery, and Rendell is the consummate artist. Her characters--even the good-guy cops-- ...more
Aug 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First published in 1964, this is the first Chief Inspector Wexford mystery. For some reason I had never read the Wexford novels before and it is a good beginning to the series. The story begins when Inspector Mike Burdon is alerted by a neighbour that his wife is missing. Ronald Parsons almost prides himself on his dull and respectable life. He claims it is totally out of character for his wife, Margaret, to disappear without word. Burdon tends to agree and contacts the police station. When Marg ...more
Azita Rassi
Dec 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
Predictable and charmless. This was my first Ruth Rendell and I started it with high expectations but was quite disappointed. The prose and epigraphs were good, which is why I’m giving this book a second star.
I've seen other reviews that say From Doon With Death is the least of Ruth Rendell's books. That's the good thing, because it's an unfair book. It hides information from the reader, and this information is vital to the solution of the case. It is not a case of intuition, it is the answer to the mystery in so many words, in a conversation between the detective and another party, to which the reader is not privy to. And yet, it is fairly easy to guess who the murderer is (although, it probably was ...more
May 07, 2011 rated it liked it
I am a fan of classis murder mysteries yet was not familiar with Ruth Rendell's writing (nor have I seen Inspector Wexford on television). It seemed like it was time to get acquainted.

Since this was the initial novel featuring Inspector Wexford, I suspect that as her series expanded, her detective grew more interesting to readers. I generally feel that when I've read three or more books featuring one character I enjoy each successive book a little bit more. That is an unnecessarily complicated w
Lewis Weinstein
May 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is the first book by Ruth Rendell I've read (I know, shame on me). I was about 2/3 through, thinking it was well written, interesting, but not yet sensing it was truly special. My feeling, however, was that I should wait to see how she resolved it before reaching a conclusion. WOW! I have become a fan.
Feb 15, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 stars
I hadn't read a Ruth Rendell in many years, though I remembered that I liked what I had read.

This book was published in 1964, the year I was born. (Which is why I read it now, to fulfill a book bingo square :)

For the most part, I thought this mystery was rather ordinary. A man reports his wife missing, and the police don't take him very seriously because she's only been missing a few hours. The husband describes their banal marriage and life, full of routine and absent of extravagances,
From IMBd:
Margaret Parsons, a fairly ordinary housewife who, with her water board official husband Ron, has recently moved to Kingsmarkham, is found murdered in a field. Mrs. Parsons led an extremely uneventful life, being a lay preacher, but Inspector Wexford is intrigued when he is looking through her belongings and fine a number of expensive antique books all inscribed 'From Doon to Minna'.Who is Doon?

4* Going Wrong
4* The Keys to the Street
3* The Fever Tree and Other Stories
4* A Judgement in
Scott K
I wished I could say I like it but truth is it was a boring read. Being one who always gives everything more then one try, I imagine I'll read another of Rendell's books but will not be in a hurry to do so.

I could never really get into any of the characters especially Inspector Wexford. The ending was good but all the events leading to it never reached a level of suspense where it was hard to put down. In fact it was quite easy to put down and almost became a chore to finish. A short book of onl
Oct 31, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
I will definitely read more of the series. This one wasn't marvelous but I could see a lot of potential for her to develop the inspector into a great character.
Mar 03, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio, top-author
A very enjoyable cosy mystery - the first in the Inspector Wexford series
Feb 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first of the Inspector Wexford series with the faithful sidekick Burden. A good read and a story written in 1964 that was out there in its plot. The town of Kingsmarkham (Midhurst in Sussex) has a murder of a seemingly ordinary person. The crux of the story is who is Doon?

The people In the story like Quadrant and Fabia his wife are all snobby and not very nice. The setting is familiar to Sussex people and the formulaic procedural detective story easy to read. I already have got my next Wexf
Jun 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
FROM DOON WITH DEATH. (1964). Ruth Rendell. ****.
This is a must read book – if only because it was the first Chief Inspector Wexford novel written by Ms. Rendell. It is a little weak in plot, and, typical of first novels, full of too many characters, but the underlying talent of the author is apparent. It addresses a principal social concern in addition to telling a complex story of murder and passion. Rendell’s books – at least those involving Inspector Wexford – always manage to revolve aroun
Nov 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
I dislike detective series, I find it to be lazy writing more often than not and generally stay away from them. However, no one would accuse a career as prolific as Rendell's as lazy and there is something very appealing about her work. I think this book was a terrific example of it. Seemingly a classic British murder mystery, much like Christie, whom Rendell apparently disliked and strived to get away from comparisons to, and yet in retrospect very different. Rendell's England is less than quai ...more
Jun 09, 2015 rated it liked it
When I learned that Ruth Rendell had passed away recently, I was reminded that I have been wanting to give her mysteries a try for some time and immediately requested this book, the first featuring Inspector Wexford, and her first stand-alone mystery, To Fear a Painted Devil, from the library. Both were first published in the 60s and seem a bit dated, especially the moral issue at the heart of this story, which probably seemed terribly shocking in 1964 but not so much fifty years later.

This was
Mar 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014, serial-mystery
If you love classic and timeless British mysteries, you'll love the first one in the Wexford series by Ruth Rendell. In From Doon With Death, it's up to Inspector Wexford and Detective Burden to discover who killed Margaret Parsons. They dissected and examined every piece of her life that went back to her childhood. The closer they get to the truth, the more puzzling it appears to them on who's lying and who's telling the truth. It all stemmed from that ancient book collection and the inscriptio ...more
Pamela Shropshire
I’ve read the Inspector Wexford novels that my library had, all of which were later in the series. I recently found books 1, 2, 3 & 5 at my favorite UBS.

This one involves the disappearance and murder of one Margaret Godfrey Parsons; she appears to be a dull, nondescript housewife, married to a dull, nondescript man. Of course, a spouse is the primary suspect, but Inspector Wexford doesn’t think Mr. Parsons is anything but exactly as he appears.

So he begins to look into Margaret’s past - and
Gabi Coatsworth
Apr 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: british, crime
Dated, but fascinating

This book was published in 1964, and is well worth reading for those who like crime fiction, and for people interested in seeing how social mores and attitudes have changed since then. Characters are stereotyped very often, housewives must all be polishing their front doorsteps on their knees, the police force is all male, Inspector Wexford walks to work. It's a different world, but the novelist's eye isn't judgmental. Not a great novel, but a very promising debut in its t
Aug 23, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, mc
Me ha gustado. Entretenido y rápido de leer. Una cosa que me ha gustado es que el inspector, que es quien lleva el caso, no lo lleva él solito, como ocurre en la mayoría de novelas de detectives, sino que cuenta con un equipo que hace algo productivo. En ese sentido, me parece que le añade una nota de realismo. También me gusta el final, da un giro interesante, inesperado prácticamente hasta ese momento. Libro recomendable, creo que en algún momento leeré más de esta serie.
Deb Jones
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: series
The first of the Inspector Wexford series -- but not the last for me -- was a pleasant introduction to Chief Inspector Wexford and his police-detecting methods.

Oct 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ruth Rendall, Con la morte nel cuore, giallo classico. Primo giallo con protagonista l'Ispettore Wexford.
Giallista poco conosciuta in Italia, ma dello stesso calibro della Christie; ambiente provincia inglese.
Se non amate i gialli splatter questo è per voi
Shom Biswas
Dec 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2015
Ruth Rendell is the high-priestess of the country police procedural, and one of the most important names in detective fiction. Her Inspector Wexford is an important mention in the canon of detective fiction. Perhaps what is the most impressive about Ruth Rendell is her exemplary consistency. She has written volumes and volumes of mysteries, but rarely has her standards fallen — one can pick up an Inspector Wexford novel, and be fairly certain of a jolly good ride. And she was not repetitive eith ...more
Alexander Inglis
This year Chief Inspector Reg Wexford celebrated his 23rd novel (The Vault), if one may put it that way for a fictional character; and he was "born" in Ruth Rendell's 1964 published From Doon With Death. It was also, more remarkably, Rendell's first novel which emerged full shaped, well plotted, with believable (and memorable) characters.

Margaret Parsons is the rather non-descript wife of a rather non-descript employee of a small English town hardware store who is barely able to make ends meet.
Oct 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
I had never read Ruth Rendell and had only vaguely heard of her when Scott Throw, in an interview, said she was the one mystery writer he always read. I love British mysteries, they're so civilized. Rarely are people shot, they are usually killed quite discreetly, the detectives go around asking polite questions over tea, nothing blows up and at the end they sit down and explain it all clearly in case you dozed through an important clue. This is Rendell's first mystery, written in the '60s, and ...more
Mike Gabor
Jan 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: british-mystery
Margaret Parsons is a quiet young English housewife. She is found strangled to death in the woods one day and Inspector Wexford is looking into the case. Margaret and her husband lived a very quiet life and really had no friends to speak of. There aren't many clues until Wexford discovers some books in the attic of the Parson's home that are inscriped to Margaret by someone named Doon. Wexford then starts investigating Margaret's past hoping it will lead tom her killer.

This is the first Inspecto
Apr 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read one other Inspector Wexford mystery but this is the first in the series. I enjoyed the style and the characters; Wexford can be a grumpy, frustrated inspector at times, but also sympathetic as the case needs. The story isn't a cozy mystery, but also not graphically violent. Basically it involves a missing wife and the later discovery of her body and the follow-on investigation. But the story is crafted very well and a enjoyable to read, flowing nicely from situation to situation. I w ...more
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Crime, Mysteries ...: From Doon with Death - November 2015 23 77 Dec 14, 2015 07:26AM  
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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 and above all for Inspector Wexford.

Other books in the series

Inspector Wexford (1 - 10 of 25 books)
  • 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)
  • Death Notes (Inspector Wexford, #11)