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The Babes in the Wood

Cover of The Babes in the Wood

The Babes in the Wood

Chief Inspector Wexford Mystery Series, Book 19
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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 of kidnapping, perhaps connected with an unusual sect called the Church of the Good Gospel. But when the sitter's smashed-up car is found at the bottom of a local quarry--occupied by a battered corpse--the investigation takes on a very different hue.

The Babes in the Wood is Ruth Rendell at her very best, a scintillating, precise and troubling story of seduction and religious fanaticism--and murder.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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 of kidnapping, perhaps connected with an unusual sect called the Church of the Good Gospel. But when the sitter's smashed-up car is found at the bottom of a local quarry--occupied by a battered corpse--the investigation takes on a very different hue.

The Babes in the Wood is Ruth Rendell at her very best, a scintillating, precise and troubling story of seduction and religious fanaticism--and murder.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Awards-
About the Author-
  • Ruth Rendell has won numerous awards, including three Edgars and the Grand Master Award from Mystery Writers of America, and four Gold Daggers, one Silver Dagger, and a Cartier Diamond Dagger for outstanding contribution to the genre from Britain' s prestigious Crime Writers' Association. She lives in London where she is a Life Peer in the House of Lords.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    September 29, 2003
    Wexford fans may be disappointed by the shortage of memorable characters in Rendell's latest mystery to feature the chief inspector, a solid, if not spectacular, entry in the series. As in her previous Wexford, Harm Done (1999), the author explores issues of spousal abuse and focuses on a troubled married couple. The children of Katrina and Roger Dale disappear just as the city of Kingsmarkham is inundated with a flood of quasi-Biblical proportions. Both parents' reactions are somewhat bizarre, with Roger curiously antsy to be done with police questioning to get back to his job and Katrina quite certain her children have already drowned. When the children's babysitter, Joanna Troy, is found dead in a car dumped into a quarry, suspicion points to some icy fundamentalists. These people, from the Church of the Good Gospel, worship at the secluded country estate of Peter Buxton, a media tycoon. Buxton and his high-maintenance wife, the fashion model Sharonne, are among the most interesting fish in this rather bland school. The story becomes progressively more interesting after a slow start, and, as always, Chief Inspector Wexford remains a comfortable companion, with taut, thoughtful and imaginative observations about small-city England and the wider world. (Oct. 28)FYI: Rendell has won three Edgars, as well as three Gold Daggers and a Diamond Dagger from Britain's Crime Writers' Association.

  • -The Washington Post Book World "Spectacular. . . . Rendell writes with a chill poetic precision."
  • Los Angeles Times "Hard to put down. . . . Ruth Rendell is a master of the genre."
  • The New York Times Book Review "Subtle, mysterious. . . . Through flawless character work, Rendell transforms what could be a conventional suspense story into a close, and at times cruelly funny, psychological study of domestic disorder."
  • Pittsburgh Post Gazette "Wonderful. . . . Rendell, as usual, gives us more than a mere mystery here. Her novel is a multilayered construction in which a case acts itself out amid nature's dark forces and the even darker forces that shape the psyches of the village inhabitants."
  • San Diego Union-Tribune "When it comes to the classic mystery . . . nobody does it better than Ruth Rendell. To her mastery of the traditional form, she adds a contemporary spin that places her above most of her peers and makes her Chief Inspector Wexford novels notable as much for their insights as for their puzzles. . . . [She is] a beguiling storyteller."
  • The New Yorker "Fans will be pleased. . . . The plot . . . marches efficiently to its unguessable d?nouement while demonstrating Rendell's grasp of the psychological dynamics of seduction."
  • The Boston Globe "It is the merging of the personal, political, and procedural where Rendell shines. . . . [The Babes in the Wood is] a good yarn, which Rendell spins with her customary casual elegance."
  • Entertainment Weekly "Rendell's gift for intelligent, coolheaded storytelling remains undiminished."
  • The Washington Times "This veteran writer does not disappoint with The Babes in the Wood. . . . Miss Rendell is a master of the psychological twist, and she throws in several before Wexford finds all the answers. . . . If you are not [already] a fan, read this and you will be."
  • Boston Herald "Rendell grabs readers' attention in the first scene . . . [and] with a mix of the sinister and the mundane, she retains her hold throughout."
  • San Jose Mercury News "The greatest charm of Ruth Rendell's The Babes in the Wood is in her characterizations. . . . [She paints] vivid pictures at every level with sharp dialogue and observation."
  • Dayton Daily News "The Babes in the Wood is more than just another mystery, count on it. To Rendell fans, it's a respite from waiting; to everybody else, it's an introduction to a vast, dark world and hours upon hours of reading well spent."
  • The Roanoke Times "A heart-wrenching tale. . . . Leaves the reader wondering whodunit until the final pages."
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    Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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Chief Inspector Wexford Mystery Series, Book 19
Ruth Rendell
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