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

(Inspector Wexford #15)

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  3,312 ratings  ·  118 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 subtle character studies" (SF Chronicle).
Paperback, 378 pages
Published May 1993 by Mysterious Press (first published January 1st 1991)
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Read by.................. Robin Bailey
Total Runtime......... 12 Hours 3 Mins

Description: 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).

'Kissing The Gunner's Daughter' is an old Naval expression from the by gone days of sailing ships. Whenever an able bodied seaman violated the Captain's shipboard rules the punishment was cruel and severe. The guilty
Aug 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 14, 2011 rated it liked it

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
Kiwi Begs2Differ  ✎
Dec 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I really enjoyed this police procedural that progresses slowly, it analyses the characters very well, both the police officers and the interviewees; you get the sense of the people involved in the case, their personalities and way of life. The novel is on the longish side, having a number of leads that results in a few dead ends, the conclusion effectively is a quite abrupt revelation (even if not a total surprise).
IMO this novel it’s worth the read by Ruth Rendell writing alone, which it is
Stef Rozitis
I've certainly read worse. The mystery itself was quite good although it was strange to me that Wexford did not consider the possibility earlier (there was a credible effort put in to distract him to make it almost plausible).

To me reading 410 pages of a mystery, the last thing I want is so much stuff about his family, his psychological problems and all of that. It seems like at some point someone decided that Agatha Christie's 2 dimensional detectives were flawed writing and we needed the
Oct 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I haven't read one of Ruth Rendell's Wexford novels in a couple years. It felt great to be back in the Olive and Dove with Wexford and Burden again. This one is complex and satisfying, with Rendell's perfect prose and pacing. If you are familiar with the series, you will love it. If you are not, you may not fully understand and enjoy the issues Wexford has with his daughters and family in this one. In that case, one of the earlier books may be a better place to start. Either way, read it now or ...more
Pamela Mclaren
A police officer takes away a copy of a gun from his son while taking him to work, only to be shot in a bank hold up. Then there is a horrific murder in a country estate leaving only a wounded young woman to tell the tale.

When Chief Inspector Wexford arrives at the estate of celebrity Devina Flory, he has to make sense out of the bloody murder seen, the evidence and the jumbled statements of the lone witness and those who may have seen something ... or not. Statements are not helpful; too many
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 ...more
Sep 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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.
Laila (BigReadingLife)
Pretty good - a little long for my taste, but still enjoyable, if only because Reg Wexford is so appealing and human. Plus, I kind of thought I knew who one of the killers was before he figured it out - a first for me!
Kate White
Aug 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
From my #MysteryMonday review:

The plot in a nutshell: Tancred House—a stately manor set in a strange and artificial forest in England—is home to Davina Flory, aging celebrity writer. Until, that is, the night of March twelfth, when person or persons unknown enter the house and brutally slaughter Flory along with husband and daughter, leaving alive only her beautiful granddaughter Daisy, bleeding copiously from a gunshot wound near her heart.
Detective Chief Inspector Reginald Wexford enters into
Sadly, just did not like this one. Knew who did it from the first. Wasn't attracted to the characters. Perhaps my failing rather than the book's....
Clare Snow
So that was nasty. What did I expect?
Philippa Dowding
Sep 21, 2015 rated it it was ok
Here's another book that I inherited from my father. He loved this story and he loved Ruth Rendell, so I thought I'd give it a go before passing it along. It's #15 in a series about Inspector Wexford, an interesting and competent English detective with a group of very smart co-workers. I don't think you have to read the previous 14 books to get his character or understand his relationships with his wife, family and the other detectives since Rendell handles that really well (and it's not easy to ...more
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

Apr 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
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.
Jun 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery, listened-to
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.
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.

Amanda Patterson
May 20, 2011 rated it liked it
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.
Judith Teggelaar
Nov 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
WOW! I am so sorry that I came to the end of this book -- it was a thoroughly enjoyable mystery and one that I certainly will read again. A dastardly murder occurs at the beginning of the story and brings Inspector Wexford on the scene. He solves this crime and another and also deals with concerns about his daughter.
Jul 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
I did not give this book the attention it deserved -- reading it only in bits and pieces as I was falling asleep each night -- so perhaps my rating is a bit skewed.

I tried to think of who was "too present" in the novel for unknown reasons, and ended up suspecting several minor characters wrongly.

I like Inspector Wexford quite a bit and will continue reading this series.
Oct 30, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery, series, u-k
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.
May 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Truly excellent - perhaps the best novel in the series.
Dec 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The last time I read an Inspector Wexford procedural, I figured out "whodunnit" but not way; this time I figured out who and why, but missed another detail. Maybe I'm reading and/or watching too many murder mysteries. (No, that can't be.)

A grisly murder of three people and wounding of a fourth in an estate is the centerpiece of this chilling puzzler, whose solution eludes our friend the inspector. He chases clues and leads, and works hard to understand what's going on...but he doesn't, at least
Louise Thorup Mundt
Feb 13, 2019 rated it liked it
I’ve been a fan of Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine from the time when I first left the children’s section at the library and started to browse the grown ups’ shelves. I listened to a lot of her books on audiotape back then and I’ve had a lot of great experiences when her tight plot, cool logic and very real characters came together in the end to reveal the mystery or the twist that you should have seen coming but never did. The best part is that the twist is always earned and consistent with the plot ...more
Ann Aldrich
Sep 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
This volume is on the more traditional murder mystery side of Rendell's writing, rather than the plots which border on perversion --- thus, more to my liking than some others I've read. However, after 370 pages of complex and convoluted development, the case is resolved in the last 5 pages, solely from the detective's recitation of "this is how it happened," all based on things not presented in the previous narration. From a reader's perspective, the conclusion is plausible but not satisfying.
This was significantly longer than the prior books and it feels it in a good way, allowing more breathing space, characterisation and plot development. The central premise is captivating with a mass murder in a country estate and the procedural approach as Wexford and Burden slowly pick apart the truth is nicely handled. I'd pretty much figured out the gist of it but it didn't detract from the ending or the impact. Good Wexford story.
Gill Nichols
Sep 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed this. I kind of guessed whodunnit early on, but there was still a twist. There were one or two points I thought didn't work - for instance, what policeman wouldn't think of trying the back door if there had been a break-in? Instead they broke a window to gain access!
David Knadler
Jul 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Kind of an odd, abrupt ending for a book so labyrinthine, but getting there is classic Rendell: meticulously conceived characters, flawless plotting and a vast assortment of perfectly plausible red herrings.
Jul 20, 2018 rated it liked it
An enjoyable read, although I did get mixed up with some of the characters, about who was who. The police solved the murder, but I wondered was there really enough proof, for if those guilty never admit their guilt, would there be enough?
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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)
  • 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)