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Murder Being Once Doneby Ruth Rendell
Synopses & Reviews
The sick . . . they see to with great affection, and let nothing at all pass concerning either physic or good diet whereby they may be restored again to their health.
When Wexford came downstairs in the morning his nephew had already left for work and the women, with the fiendish gusto of amateur dieticians, were preparing a convalescent's breakfast. It had been like that every day since he arrived in London. They kept him in bed till ten; they ran his bath for him; one of them waited for him at the foot of the stairs, holding out a hand in case he fell, a lunatic smile of encouragement on her face.
The other--this morning it was his nephew's wife, Denise--presided over the meagre spread on the dining-room table. Wexford viewed it grimly: two circular biscuits apparently composed of sawdust and glue, a pat of unsaturated fat, half a sugarless grapefruit, black coffee and, crowning horror, a glass dish of wobbly pallid substance he took to be yoghourt. His own wife, trotting behind him from her post as staircase attendant, proffered two white pills and a glass of water.
"This diet," he said, "is going to be the death of me."
"Oh, it's not so bad. Imagine if you were diabetic as well."
'Who," quoted Wexford, "can hold a fire in his hand by thinking on the frosty Caucasus?"
He swallowed the pills and, having shown his contempt for the yoghourt by covering it with his napkin, began to eat sour grapefruit under their solicitous eyes.
"Where are you going for your walk this morning, Uncle Reg?"
He had been to look at Carlyle's house; he had explored the King's Road, eyeing with equal amazement the shops and the people who shopped in them; he had stood at the entrance to Stamford Bridge football ground and actually seen Alan Hudson; he had traversed every exquisite little Chelsea Square, admired the grandeur of the Boltons and the quaint corners of Walham Green; on aching feet he had tramped through the Chenil Galleries and the antique market. They liked him to walk. In the afternoons they encouraged him to go with them in taxis and tube trains to the Natural History Museum and Brompton Oratory and Harrods. As long as he didn't think too much or tax his brain by asking a lot of questions or stay up late or try to go into pubs, they jollied him along with a kind of humouring indulgence.
'Where am I going this morning?" he said. "Maybe down to the Embankment."
"Oh, yes, do. What a good idea "
"I thought I'd have a look at that statue."
"Saint Thomas More," said Denise who was a Catholic.
"Sir Thomas," said Wexford who wasn't.
"Saint Thomas, Uncle Reg." Denise whisked away the unsaturated fat before Wexford could eat too much of it. "And this afternoon, if it isn't too cold, we'll all go and look at Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens."
But it was cold, bitingly cold and rather foggy. He was glad of the scarf his wife had wrapped round his neck, although he would have preferred her not to have gazed so piteously into his eyes while doing so as if she feared the next time she saw him he would be on a mortuary slab. He didn't feel ill, only bored. There weren't even very many people about this morning to divert him with their flowing hair, beads, me
Inspector Wexford is called in when the body of a young woman, strangled with her own silk scarf, turns up in the Montfort family vault in a London cemetery
A young girl is murdered in a cemetery.And Wexford's doctor has prescribed no alcohol, no rich food and, above all, no police work.When a young girl's body is found in a London cemetery and the local police, under the command of Wexford's nephew, are baffled, Wexford decides to brave his doctor's wrath and the condescension of the London police by doing a little investigating of his own. A compelling story of mysterious identity and untimely death, Murder Being Once Done is Rendell at her most sublime.
With her Inspector Wexford novels, Ruth Rendell, winner of the Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Award, has added layers of depth, realism and unease to the classic English mystery. For the canny, tireless, and unflappable policeman is an unblinking observer of human nature, whose study has taught him that under certain circumstances the most unlikely people are capable of the most appalling crimes.
About the Author
Ruth Rendell is the author of Road Rage, The Keys to the Street, Bloodlines, Simisola, and The Crocodile Bird. She is the winner of the Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Award. She is also the recipient of three Edgars from the Mystery Writers of America and four Gold Daggers from Great Britain’s Crime Writers Association. In 1997, she was named a life peer in the House of Lords. Ruth Rendell also writes mysteries under the name of Barbara Vine, of which A Dark Adapted Eye is the most famous. She lives in England.
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