Sunday, January 6, 2019

The Monster In The Box by Ruth Rendell

Walking around town one day, Chief Inspector Wexford sees someone he never expected to see again.  Thirty years before, he was a raw policeman, new to everything.  When he attended his first murder, a woman who was strangled, he saw a man on the street who gazed at him with a challenge in his eyes.  That man was Eric Targo.  When Wexford was assigned to get his statement, Targo was smug and condescending and somehow Wexford knew he had done the murder.  He reported his suspicions but there was no motive or proof tying Targo to the crime and he was never charged.

Afterward Targo moved to another town but Wexford kept an eye on him over the years.  Targo didn't seem to like people very much but he loved animals and always had a dog.  He ran kennels and was involved in dog breeding.  He went through women fairly quickly.  There were several other unexplained and uncharged murders in the towns Targo lived in but no one seemed to find him a suspect.  Wexford, however, continued to think of him as the monster who got away.

Now Targo is back in his town and is again his responsibility,  When there is a new murder surrounding him, Wexford is sure Targo is back to his old crimes.    Can Wexford bring him to justice at the end of his career to come full circle from the beginning of his career? 

This is the 22nd Inspector Wexford novel.  Ruth Rendell is a master of suspense and Wexford is her most successful character.  He is a policeman who has risen through the ranks, not gifted with superpowers but an insight into human behavior and a reliance on police procedure.  He sees things in behavior that often escapes others and his deductions often prove to be true when no one else can see what he sees.  This book is recommended for mystery readers.


Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

Mysteries are always so compelling. My husband can't get enough of them. He's never read Ruth Rendell, though, and perhaps he should.

Sandie said...

He definitely should, Deb. Rendell was the successor to Agatha Christie in many ways in British mysteries. Some of my other favorites are Minette Walters and Belinda Bauer, if he hasn't read them.