2009: 114. Wolf to the Slaughter

“They might have been going to kill someone”

Wolf to the Slaughter, Ruth Rendell

       This is an early Wexford mystery, and a particularly twisty and turny one (at least with respect to the other early Wexfords).  It opens in medias res, with us following a couple that is renting a room for illicit activity, only to be faced with a (unnamed) scene of horror.  We then cut to Wexford, living an ordinary day, getting assigned a case of a missing woman.  He tries to determine what happened to the local artist’s sister - and we wonder if this was the horror we saw in the first pages.  Layered over this is the romance of his young social climbing sergeant with a young lady of less than aspirational background, and you have the makings of a reasonably interesting mystery, especially, as I’ve said, compared to some of the other older Rendell’s.*

*It’s not that they aren’t good, they are, but they are dated, and her later stuff is so much better that they sometimes clunk a bit.  I mean, they are better than much of the mystery fiction out there, but not compared to her best stuff.


Date/Place Completed: September 2009; D.C.

Categories: Fiction; Ruth Rendell Project

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017