2009: 133. Kissing The Gunner’s Daughter

“The thirteenth of May is the unluckiest day of the year.”

Kissing the Gunner’s Daughter, Ruth Rendell

        A bloody Wexford, this one opens up with a police officer being shot as he attempts to stop a bank robbery, and then turns, six months later to a family being slaughtered in their home by masked intruders (shades of both In Cold Blood, and Rendell’s own A Judgment in Stone).  Davina Flory is a famous writer and formidable figure (shades of Claudia, in Moon Tiger), living on a huge estate in the middle of a forest that she herself has dedicated her life to cultivating.  One night, intruders break in and murder her, her husband and her daughter, and shoot her granddaughter, leaving her for dead.  The granddaughter survives, and becomes Wexford’s link to solving the case (and his emotional substitute for the daughter he is feuding with).  

       It’s funny, because for once, I actually identified the murderer very early on (something I am notoriously terrible at), but nonetheless I very much enjoyed this book - the atmosphere of the big house, and the dark woods, and the strange and eccentric family really worked nicely, especially contrasted with Wexford’s own family troubles.  


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

Categories: Fiction; Ruth Rendell Project

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017