2009: 28. From Doon With Death

“‘I think you’re getting things a bit out of proportion, Mr. Parsons,’ Burden said.”

From Doon With Death, Ruth Rendell


This is the first Inspector Wexford mystery  (though I didn’t realize that until I went to blog about it).  Margaret Parsons, a young, prim and proper married woman goes missing, and then is found dead.  The only clues are the uncharacteristically gaudy lipstick found near her body, and mysterious love letters from someone named “Doon” that are in her possession.  Who could have killed her, and who is this Doon??

The novel is a little dated - particularly in the character of the wife, who had such an old-fashioned pre-woman’s lib life (this comes up in the context of trying to figure out who on earth could have ever killed her, since she had so little in her life).  The dated aspect stands out more that with, say a Christie novel, because Rendell still writes, and so I think of Wexford and Burden as modern characters.  But I guess it’s not fair to blame Rendell for career longevity, but it stands out a bit.  

The other, more positive, thing that stood out for me with this book was the way that the victim’s husband was written.  In the beginning of the novel, his wife has been missing for a few hours, and the detective (his neighbor) sort of pooh-poohs his worry.  But in my life, if Jon was missing for a few hours, I would be freaked out - and so I liked how a character in a mystery acted like a normal reasonable person (or rather, like me!)


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

Categories: Fiction; Ruth Rendell Project

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017