26 November 2013

Review: No Man's Nightingale by Ruth Rendell

No Man's Nightingale by Ruth RendellI guess I've come a long way in getting over my phobia about reading a series out of order. When I was given the chance to listen to Ruth Rendell's latest Reginald Wexford novel, I didn't hesitate to say yes.

I have heard only good things about the Wexford books, and my only regret at meeting the chief inspector in his twenty-fourth adventure, No Man's Nightingale, is that I now need to find the time to read the earlier installments. I'm sure Rendell's fans are cringing at all the character development and background I've missed, but I truly didn't notice any gaps.

This review includes no spoilers for No Man's Nightingale, but I don't know what I might be giving away from earlier novels in the series.

  • What's the mystery? When his housekeeper discovers the dead body of the local female vicar, Reginald Wexford is called out of retirement to act as a consultant. It appears that, for a number of reasons (she's a woman, she's modern, she's biracial, she's a single mom), the Reverend Sarah Hussain was not universally liked in her parish. As Wexford interviews suspects and digs into the vicar's life, he discovers a complicated mesh of petty crime, secret pasts, and hidden relationships.
  • The chief investigator: I liked Wexford's personality: He seems very grounded and has a kind streak, but at the same time, he's no pushover. He also seemed to be at peace with his retirement, but when asked to take a look at the crime scene, he was more than happy to oblige. Rendell did a great job conveying Wexford's struggle with remembering that he is now a civilian, with no real authority.
  • The other characters: I liked that we get a glimpse of Wexford's wife, daughter, and grandson because it allows us to see the man in his different roles. The witnesses, suspects, and red herrings are all convincingly developed, and I was unable to work out the murderer on my own.
  • The audiobook: The unabridged audiobook was produced by Simon & Schuster Audio (8 hr, 44 min). Although my full audiobook review will be published by AudioFile magazine, I'll give you a hint now: I loved narrator Nigel Anthony's characterizations. This is my first experience with Anthony, and I was impressed.
Simon & Schuster / Scribner, 2013
ISBN-13: 9781476744483
Source: Review (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)

9 comments:

bermudaonion 11/26/13, 8:06 AM  

Yeah, I gave up on reading a series in order a long time ago. This sounds like a series I'd love!

rhapsodyinbooks 11/26/13, 8:33 AM  

Many people have recommended this author to me as well.

Beth Hoffman 11/26/13, 8:53 AM  

This is the first time I've heard about this book, and I suspect I'd like it a lot! Glad to know that it's not necessary to read the series in order. Yet another title I'm adding to my list!

Hattie Norman 11/26/13, 11:49 AM  

I have heard so much about this author. Never read one of her books.

Barbara 11/26/13, 7:30 PM  

I used to read her books but for some reason (too many others to read) I stopped. Must keep her in mind since I'm cutting down on book tour commitments.

The Solitary Cook 11/26/13, 7:45 PM  

I love Ruth Rendell! Thank you; I didn't realize there was a new one out.

JoAnn 11/26/13, 8:46 PM  

It's been too long since I last read Ruth Rendell. If you can read a series out of order, then surely I can try , too ;-)

Nise' 11/26/13, 9:27 PM  

I am proud of you for reading a book out of the series order. I am doing it with Killer Ambition too.

Charlie (The Worm Hole) 11/27/13, 12:56 PM  

I've a book so far through a series that I doubt I'll ever read it if I don't accept the fact I'd be spending at least half a year reading one series in order to read it at the 'right' time. 24 books is a lot to wait for, too.

I heard of this author the other day, and I like that you couldn't work out the mystery - those are the best.

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