INCLUDES AN EXCERPT OF RENDELL’S FINAL NOVEL, DARK CORNERS
In the stunning climax to Rendell’s classic 1998 novel A Sight for Sore Eyes, three bodies—two dead, one living—are entombed in an underground chamber beneath a picturesque London house. Twelve years later, the house’s new owner pulls back a manhole cover, and discovers the vault—and its grisly contents. Only now, the number of bodies is four. How did somebody else end up in the chamber? And who knew of its existence?
With their own detectives at an impasse, London police call on former Kingsmarkham Chief Inspector Wexford, now retired and living with his wife in London, to advise them. Wexford, missing the thrill of a good case, jumps at the chance to sleuth once again. His dogged detective skills and knack for figuring out the criminal mind take him to London neighborhoods, posh and poor, as he follows a complex trail leading back to the original murders a decade ago.
But just as the case gets hot, a devastating family tragedy pulls Wexford back to Kingsmarkham, and he finds himself transforming from investigator into victim. Ingeniously plotted, The Vault is a “masterful” (The Seattle Times) sequel to A Sight for Sore Eyes that will satisfy both longtime Wexford fans and new Rendell readers alike.
In Rendell's fine follow-up to A Sight for Sore Eyes (1999), a non-Wexford novel in which a working-class aesthete's quest for beauty earned him an ugly, unexpected end, horror strikes the home improvement plans of Martin and Anne Rokeby. The couple are seriously disconcerted to discover multiple bodies in varying states of decay in a long-forgotten vault beneath their London garden. In the art world, the Rokebys' address is famous as the setting of a '70s-era masterpiece, Marc and Harriet in Orcadia Place, a painting depicting a rock star and his girlfriend. Though Inspector Wexford has retired, the police soon summon him to help solve this most gothic case. Has more than one killer used the vault as a body dump? Rendell's recent style can feel a bit anemic when contrasted with that of A Sight for Sore Eyes, and she populates this sequel with people who resemble sketches rather than vivid, complex characters. Still, this easily outshines most of the competition on either side of the Atlantic.