If you enjoy crime detective shows on TV or like reading about them in your favorite mystery series, I have another series to alert you to. Author Ruth Rendell first introduced the world to her detective, Inspector Reginald Wexford, in 1968. If you didn’t catch on by the name, our protagonist is very British. Since starting the series Rendell has written 24 novels starring Inspector Wexford, the latest titled No Man’s Nightingale, published in 2015 and reviewed here.
This late in the series Chief Inspector Wexford has retired, but is clearly not settled into retirement. As a retirement project he takes up reading The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, which isn’t progressing very rapidly. So when the inspector’s chatty housekeeper Maxine tells Wexford of the mysterious death of a nearby vicar, the inspector jumps at the chance to flex his investigative muscles again. The female vicar, Sarah Hussain, has been found strangled to death in the vicarage. She most likely has people she’s not popular with as a woman working in a male-dominated profession. Add her mixed race and outspoken church reformation ideas and there are plenty who have voiced their dislike, including the vicar’s warden. As Wexford tags along on the police investigation he notices a book lying on Hussain’s bedside table. As he picks it up to read, he unthinkingly slips the temporary bookmark in his pocket. After getting home Wexford realizes he’s made a grave error in removing evidence from a crime scene, but the letter turned bookmark helps to illuminate some of the hidden past of the slain vicar.
The library only has a few of the books in this series, so if you find yourself in need of more of the backstory of Inspector Wexford, be sure to ask about interlibrary loan.
You can get the book reviewed here at the Port Library at 1718 N. Hersey in Beloit. This is director Rachel Malay, saying “Thanks for checking us out!”