The Best Man To Die : (A Wexford Case), Paperback Book

The Best Man To Die : (A Wexford Case) Paperback

Part of the Wexford series

4 out of 5 (2 ratings)


The fourth book to feature the classic crime-solving detective, Chief Inspector Wexford. Nothing is ever quite what it seems... A man and his daughter lie dead after a car accident.

Strangely, no other car was involved and no cause has been found.

Wexford's only option is to wait and hope that the one surviving victim - the mother, Mrs Fanshawe - regains consciousness.

But when she finally awakens six weeks later, Wexford's attention has already been distracted by a new and very violent case.

Walking by the canal that same morning, Wexford discovered the bloody body of Charlie Hatton. The two cases are obviously unrelated, although something is bothering Wexford and he can't work out why or what.

But just as he begins to wonder whether there could in fact be a connection, the unexpected occurs: the Fanshawe daughter, believed to be killed in the accident, appears at her mother's beside very much alive...


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Cornerstone
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Crime & mystery
  • ISBN: 9780099534839

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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

I'm never quite sure whether I have read an earlier Wexford or not. With 23 titles in the series I guess I can be forgiven. Anyway, I have no memory of this story.I was taken by the description of Wexford in the early pages, because it is so unlike my George Baker (TV) image. I've never thought of Reg Wexford as ugly. All he needed, he sometimes thought, was a trunk to make him look exactly like an elephant. His body was huge and ponderous, his skin pachydermatous, wrinkled and grey, and his three-cornered ears stuck out absurdly under the sparse fringe of colourless hair. When he went to the zoo he passed the elephant house quickly lest some irreverent onlooker should make comparisons.This is early in the Wexford series and I think Ruth Rendell is still finding her way, establishing her style. There are passages in THE BEST MAN TO DIE that are a bit floral, over-descriptive, and she still hasn't got to that economy of words that characterises her later books. There's a wry humour though, and what will become a typical ambiguity in the meaning of the title.Wexford is in his fifties, and already working with Mike Burden. His elder daughter is married and his younger one living at home, still happy to pass her dental bills and other responsibilities on to Pop. There are nice snippets of the tensions of family life.A lift is installed in the Kingsmarkham police station and Wexford, ever mistrustful of new gadgets, and very conscious of his weight, is of course in it on his own when it gets stuck between floors. Two hours in an airless lift nearly cuts short his career, but typically he sits on the floor and comes up with the solution to the crime.In this novel Rendell seems to be toying with the idea of expanding the detective duo. Wexford's doctor, Dr. Crocker is a childhood friend, although six years his junior, and Wexford makes use of him a couple of times. I don't remember Crocker having much of a role in other books.Altogether a nice read, proving for me that the early Rendell novels still have great appeal.

Review by

An early Wexford. Viewing and listening to Rendell's works is a different experience than reading them. Glad that I am finally doing the latter. Certainly Wexford is much different here than I had imagined him. I am not sure I like him as much as I did in the later books but still The Best Man to Die managed to keep my interest throughout.

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