I just finished, back-to-back, two Inspector Wexford mysteries by Ruth Rendell, both in my beloved Black Lizard imprint. I had previously read two Rendell books, but none in the Wexford series. These are: “No More Dying Then” and “Some Lie and Some Die.”
I find Rendell ponderous to read. She’s not particularly wordy, and her plots are very good; in neither book did I figure things out until the final revelations. But she’s–well, she’s British. And the Brit mystery writers take it slow and serious and very literate. And there’s virtually no action. The initial murder happens off-screen. Then Wexford goes about his work, never drawing a gun or clenching a fist or hardly even raising his voice. Makes me long for Jack Bauer.
Rendell is a gifted writer. Her style just doesn’t connect well with me. I found myself looking to see how many pages were left, wanting to get the book done, even while wondering who done it. And that’s never a good thing.