Liane's Reviews > The Vault

The Vault by Ruth Rendell
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's review
Oct 10, 2011

it was ok

I don't think those who gave this a 5 star rating really read it or have read her earlier books. The story line is convoluted, the many, many characters are confusing though the writing, for the most part, is fine.

However, I spotted 3 mistakes in the first few chapters which is offputting:

1. Wexford has to buy a bus ticket from a machine on his way to a meeting but a hour later uses his senior pass on the return trip.
2. A neighbor, when initially interviewed about a 'murder house' talks quite clearly about the wet leaves that someone slipped on during her initial interview, then when Wexford & the Scotland Yard Supt. return to talk to her a few days later she repeats the same information and they receive it as news.
3. The Superintendent takes a crumpled red and blue tie out of his pocket and puts it on when he and Wexford arrive at the murder house. A hour or so later, they go to visit the first witness and as they arrive at her house the Supt does the exact same thing to the very same crumpled tie.

I suspect in #3 that the first time was supposed to be deleted because Rendell preferred the placement of the second - why put on his tie to tromp around the house - whereas you would for an interview. The same could be said for #2.

Heavens, does she have any editors or proofreaders? Other story line oddities include Wexford's daughter getting stabbed by her dumped young lover then going home [alone] to her house when he was loose somewhere in the country. Don't think so, I doubt the police would allow it.

All in all, Wexford has become rather dull himself, always criticizing for the sake of criticizing, and not a particularly interesting character. Even the house, which is often the focus of her books, is described in a contradictory fashion. Only 2 bedrooms yet called large - with a patio in the back - a patio, in England? The wife of the current owner morphs into a really nasty woman for absolutely no reason.

All of this reflects an older writer whose skills aren't what they used to be and who really needs a better editor. With some attention to detail and a few gentle suggestions, the book could be so much better.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
October 10, 2011 – Shelved

Comments (showing 1-10 of 10) (10 new)

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message 1: by Bettie☯ (last edited Oct 14, 2011 06:31AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Bettie☯ a patio, in England?

There are many, many properties with patios in England and I am rather shocked at your disbelief.

message 2: by Brenda (new)

Brenda I agree with Betty. Many, many houses have patios (although most have back gardens) in England. How very odd and puzzling that you can't believe it!
As for no. 3, I haven't read the book yet, but I can't see a problem with putting on his tie, taking it off and putting it on again. Both times he was working and had to wear a tie.

Judy If Teddy Brex died as Wexford suggested, by slipping on the wet leaves and falling into the vault, then who put the manhole cover back on? DId I miss something?

message 4: by Plch (new) - added it

Plch if I remember well 'A Sight for Sore Eyes', there were people working around the manhole, they were unaware of Teddy and they put the cover back.

message 5: by Linda (new)

Linda When Tom put the tie on a second time, I had to close the book and picture two ties hanging around his neck. Do love Inspector Wexford. Will have to keep reading just to spend time with him.

message 6: by corrina (new)

corrina Actually, Teddy fell asleep in the coal hole and, coming home to an apparently abandoned Orcadia Cottage, Franklin Merton replaced he manhole cover. Since Teddy was silent Franklin could have had no inkling there was anyone inside.

message 7: by John (new) - rated it 1 star

John The murderer bricks up a door in THE KITCHEN which the owner doesn't notice ?
A builder plans to renovate the cellar (first murder) but the owner doesn't know ?
In the second murder, a worker EMPLOYED TO RENOVATE THE CELLAR puts a body in there ?
Wexford doesn't know what a Ford Edsel is ? or how to use an email (they've had computers in CID since the 1960s !) or that the DMV records engine and chassis numbers ?

The novel is just rubbish.

message 8: by Plch (new) - added it

Plch John:
About the first two points: the owner did not live in the house and visited occasionally, his mistress lived there rent-free, so it's not completely impossible if far-fetched. This is from the first book, I haven't read the Vault (the sequel) so I cannot comment on your further points.

Heather I assume he had to buy a ticket because he was "twirlie". The odd London contraction of too early. Freedom passes used to only be valid on buses after 9:30am the rule has now changed. This meant people often had to buy a ticket one way.

Heather I assume he had to buy a ticket because he was "twirlie". The odd London contraction of too early. Freedom passes used to only be valid on buses after 9:30am the rule has now changed. This meant people often had to buy a ticket one way.

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