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The Monster In the Box
The Monster In the Box by Ruth Rendell
by Ruth Rendell

Rich and thought provoking

Inspector Wexford has long been haunted by a case from his early days, by a man who he knew got away with murder.  Over time, the number of murders without an apparent murder have increased.  When Wexford sees that same man, Eric Targo, many years later.  Finally, he shares his thoughts and regrets with his partner of many years, Mike Burden.  Like Wexford, Burden's wife, Jenny, has suspicions that haunt her.  For some reason she cannot explain, she feels the Pakistani immigrant family, the Rahmans, might be forcing their daughter Tamina into marriage or perhaps something worse.  Jenny has always thought of herself as open-minded with respect to other cultures, so that in trying to find answers, she runs face to face with the troubling thoughts she has behind her appearance of political correctness.  Meanwhile, as Wexford shares  with his partner and investigates Eric Targo, a nagging thought that troubled him takes on even more urgency as he uncovers the kind of man who could have committed such crimes.  As Wexford seeks justice, a turn of events even he would never expect, takes him face to face with unexpected crimes.

THE MONSTER IN THE BOX, the 22nd in the Inspector Wexford novels, gives readers a glace into the detective at the start of his career as he looks back at the past.  Indeed, one of the richest aspects of this book for long-time crime novel lovers is the look at the culture of the past and the investigative methods of the past as compared to the world we all know through experience and recent novels.  Jenny's relentless pursuit of the truth about the Rahman family annoys as the obviousness of her biases are unmasked and yet, the mystery has all the more powerful effect at the end as events unravel in such an unexpected resolution.  Likewise, certain elements of Eric Targo's life may appear odd at first glance but all add up to a chilling portrait of the mindset of the murderer.  The contrasts between Jenny's search and the Rahman family to Wexford's case and Eric targo create an emotional effect by novel's end, leaving the reader with questions about the nature of crime itself, criminals and justice.  THE MONSTER IN THE BOX is more than a mystery thanks to the richness of Ruth Rendell's writing.  THE MONSTER IN THE BOX is more than a trail excluding red herrings one by one or a methodical collection of clues, more than a chilling suspense novel thanks to the narrative layers and reflections on society.  Whether you are a long time Ruth Rendell fan or new to this author, MONSTER IN THE BOX is wonderful for the uniqueness of its voice within the genre.  Fans of Ruth Rendell may appreciate THE MONSTER IN THE BOX most for the variety within the series, appreciating  will the author's ability to grow and evolve throughout the series rather than churning out pale reminiscences of previous novels.  Above all, Ruth Renell writes a thought-provoking mystery with a stunning unexpected twist at the end.

Scribner (October 13, 2009)
An Inspector Wexford Novel

Other  Inspector Wexford Novels: From Doon wih Death, The Sins of the Fathers, Wolf to the Slaughter, The Best Man to Die, A Guilty Thing Surprised, No More Dying Then, Murder Being Done Once, Some Lie and Some Die, Shake Hands Forever, A Sleeping Life, Death Notes, The Speaker of Mandarin, An Unkindness of Ravens, The Veiled One, Kissing the Gunner's Daughter, Simisola, Road Rage, Harm Done, The Babes in the Wood, End in Tears, Not in the Flesh

Reviewed by Merrimon, Merrimon Book Reviews
Review Courtesy of Amazon Vine
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