A female vicar named Sarah Hussain is discovered strangled in her Kingsmarkham vicarage. Read more...
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A female vicar named Sarah Hussain is discovered strangled in her Kingsmarkham vicarage. Maxine, the gossipy cleaning woman who finds the body, happens to also be in the employ of former Chief Inspector Reginald Wexford and his wife. When called on by his old deputy, Wexford, who has taken to reading "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" as a retirement project, leaps at the chance to tag along with the investigators. Wexford is intrigued by the unusual circumstances of the murder, but he's also desperate to escape the chatty Maxine.
A single mother to a teenage girl, Hussain was a woman working in a male-dominated profession. Of mixed race and an outspoken church reformer, she had turned some in her congregation against her, including the conservative vicar's warden. Could one of her enemies in the church have gone so far as to kill her? Or could it have been the elderly next-door gardener with a muddled alibi?
As Wexford searches the vicar's house alongside the police, he sees a book, Newman's "Apologia Pro Vita Sua," lying on Hussain's bedside table. Inside it is a letter serving as a bookmark. Without thinking much, Wexford puts it into his pocket. Wexford soon realizes he has made a grave error--he's removed a piece of evidence from the crime scene. Yet what he finds inside begins to illuminate the murky past of Sarah Hussain. Is there more to her than meets the eye?
"No Man's Nightingale" is Ruth Rendell's masterful twenty-fourth installment in one of the great crime series of all time.
- ISBN-13: 9781476744483
- ISBN-10: 1476744483
- Publisher: Scribner Book Company
- Publish Date: November 2013
- Page Count: 288
Series: Chief Inspector Wexford Mysteries (Hardcover)
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-09-02
- Reviewer: Staff
In Rendell’s absorbing 24th Inspector Wexford novel (after 2011’s The Vault), the Kingsmarkham, England, sleuth tries to find out who strangled the Rev. Sarah Hussain in the vicarage of St. Peter’s Church, and why. The fact that Hussain was biracial and a single mother had galvanized bigots near and far, who resented her very existence as well as her modernizing the liturgy. When Wexford’s grandson, Robin, begins dating Sarah’s daughter, Clarissa, Robin gets entangled in identifying Clarissa’s sperm-donor father—further upping the ante for Wexford. Is a white power group responsible for killing Sarah, or had a personal relationship curdled into fury? Suspects abound: the shiftless depressive Jeremy Legg; the Anglican traditionalist Dennis Cuthbert; and Gerald Watson, a stuffy old flame of the murdered woman. Wexford’s strengths as a man and as a detective are his calmness and resilience. A serene atheist, he looks to the conscience of humanity and Britain’s flawed but well-intended laws to glean whatever justice can exist today. Agent: Peter Matson, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Nov.)