Inspector Wexford is a recurring character in the Inspector Wexford series of novels by English crime fiction author Ruth Rendell. Wexford made his first appearance in Rendell’s debut novel “From Doon With Death”, and has been the lead protagonist in 23 more titles in the series. The series of novels are best classified as detective crime fiction.
Order of Inspector Wexford Series
|1||From Doon With Death||1964|
|2||A New Lease of Death||1967|
|3||Wolf to the Slaughter||1967|
|4||Sins of the Fathers||1967|
|5||The Best Man to Die||1969|
|6||A Guilty Thing Surprised||1970|
|7||No More Dying Then||1971|
|8||Murder Being Once Done||1972|
|9||Some Lie and Some Die||1973|
|10||Shake Hands Forever||1975|
|11||A Sleeping Life||1978|
|13||Put on by Cunning||1981|
|14||Speaker of Mandarin||1983|
|15||The Speaker Of Mandarin||1983|
|16||An Unkindness of Ravens||1985|
|17||The Veiled One||1988|
|19||Ginger and the Kingsmarkham Chalk Circle (Short Story)||1992|
|20||Kissing the Gunner's Daughter||1992|
|23||The Babes in the Wood||2002|
|24||End in Tears||2005|
|25||Not in the Flesh||2007|
|26||The Monster in the Box||2009|
|28||No Man's Nightingale||2013|
Order of Inspector Wexford Collections Series
|1||Means of Evil and Other Stories||1979|
The British author Ruth Rendell created the character of Inspector Wexford in 1964, with the publication of the first book in the Inspector Wexford series, From Doon with Death. While being the debut novel of Inspector Wexford, it was also the first book that Rendell herself had published. It features the murder of Margaret Parsons, who was seen by locals as an unassuming, old-fashioned woman, until the time of her death, which was a brutal yet passionate murder. It is up to Inspector Wexford to get to the bottom of the murder of Margaret Parsons, and also work out just who Doon is, after finding letters written by Doon to the victim. From Doon with Death was a huge hit, and set Rendell on her way to becoming a mainstay in the international crime fiction scene until her death in 2015.
The follow up to From Doon with Death, A New Lease of Death, was published in 1967, and Rendell then published a new Inspector Wexford book every year until 1973, with the publication of Some Lie and Some Die. After Some Life and Some Die, Rendell spaced out the publication of the Inspector Wexford series, with Snake Hands Forever being released in 1975, and then A Sleeping Life in 1978.
Put on By Cunning, the 11th book in the Inspector Wexford series was published in 1981, which was followed by The Speaker of Mandarin in 1983. The Speaker of Mandarin, as the title alludes to, is set in China, and features the usual sites you would expected Inspector Wexford to take in, including the Great Wall and also the Forbidden Palace. However, when one of the tourists that was holidaying with Wexford turns up dead shortly after returning home from China, Wexford is sent to investigate what originally looks like a burglary gone wrong.
Rendell continued writing the Inspector Wexford series, until the publication of the last book, in 2013, No Man’s Nightingale. By the stage, almost 50 years on from the first book in the Inspector Wexford series, Reginald Wexford has retired, but is still being called in to consult on crimes, this time by his good friend Mike Burden. The initial investigation focuses on the death of a female vicar who is found strangled in her vicarage. However, as fans of the Inspector Wexford series will expect, things take an unexpected turn, and the investigation goes down a different route.
Wexford is a sensitive and intelligent man who is married to Dora with whom they have two daughters Sylvia and Sheila. Sheila is his favorite daughter, while Sylvia is the difficult one who always feels slighted by her parents even when that is not entirely the case. Reginald Wexford is a Chief Inspector in Sussex who works in consort with friend and colleague DI Mike Burden.
The first novel in the series From Doon With Death introduces Inspector Wexford as a formidable chief of police faced with a baffling case involving a housewife. Margaret Parsons is a soft-spoken housewife with little going on in her life except for her husband, her kitchen, and garden. As such, it is very strange that Margaret is found brutally murdered by strangulation, her body left in the nearby woods.
His bafflement only lasts until he stumbles upon Margaret’s secret stash of rare novels that have one thing in common – an inscription by a passionate lover that goes by the name Doon. Digging into the reclusive woman’s past, he builds up the case with relentless momentum that culminates in an explosive surprising finale, which shows why Ruth Rendell is one of the best detective crime fiction authors to ever come from England.
INSPECTOR WEXFORD AWARDS
The series of novels has won several awards over the years, including an Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America for “A Sleeping Life”, and “An Unkindness of Ravens”. The 2007 novel “End in Tears” was nominated for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award, while “A Guilty Thing Surprised” made the long list for the Lost Man Booker Prize.
INSPECTOR WEXFORD BOOKS INTO TV/MOVIES
The Inspector Wexford series of novels have been adapted into TV series and movies over the years. The most popular and successful of these was the adaptation of the entire series of books into a TV series known as the Ruth Rendell Mysteries. The series had 48 episodes and was televised between 1987 and 200. It starred Christopher Ravenscroft as DI Mike Burden, while George Baker played the lead role of Inspector Wexford.
BEST INSPECTOR WEXFORD BOOKS
The first novel in the series, which introduced the lead character and spawned twenty-three more titles, is deemed one of the best titles in the Inspector Wexford series of novels.
Kissing the Gunners Daughter: The fifteenth novel in the Inspector Wexford series of novels is one of the most highly regarded novels by Ruth Rendell. Wexford finds himself having to face up to his deepest emotions as he investigates the brutal killing of a socialite family, while they were having dinner. Only Daisy, the teenage granddaughter of popular writer Davina Flory survives the attack. Having never met her father, Wexford now protects the girl just like he does with Sheila his own daughter. The title of the novel is derived from the fact that Daisy’s father used to be an Arsenal Football Club Player, hence the nickname “Gunner”.
Murder Being Once Done: This is another classic crime solving detective novel featuring the inimitable Chief Inspector Wexford. A graveyard turns out to be the brutal murder scene of a girl. Despite his doctor forbidding him from getting involved in the exertions of an investigation Wexford cannot help himself. Upon learning that Howard his nephew is heading up the investigations, he muscles in and soon uncovers a trail that leads to a religious cult leader in prison for sex crimes.
OTHER BOOK SERIES YOU MAY LIKE
Many fans of the Inspector Wexford series of novels also liked the “Peter Diamond” series of novels by Peter Lovesey. The novels feature Detective Inspector Peter Diamond of the Bath homicide squad with a knack for solving the most difficult of murder cases. Inspector Wexford fans will also love the “Inspector Morse” series by Colin Dexter. These are detective crime fiction novels featuring Inspector Morse a shrewd detective with the Thames Valley Police Criminal Investigation Department, with a love for solving jigsaw puzzle murder mysteries.
Inspector Wexford FAQs
Q: Who wrote the Inspector Wexford series of books?
A: The British author Ruth Rendell wrote the Inspector Wexford series of books, 24 in total, until her death in 2015.
Q: What is the first book in the Inspector Wexford series of books?
A: The first book in the Inspector Wexford series of books is From Doon with Death, which was published in 1964.
Q: What is the last book in the Inspector Wexford series of books?
A: The last book in the Inspector Wexford series of books is No Man’s Nightmare, which was published in 2013.