2009: 65. End in Tears

“When he lifted it off the seat the backpack felt heavier than when he had first put it in the car.”

End in Tears, Ruth Rendell

One thing I’ve really enjoyed about the last few Wexford mysteries that I’ve read, is that it seems more and more they aren’t just about one crime, but rather about a slice of life in the police force.  While there is usually one large crime that gets the story started, as it were, other parts of life in the community drift into the story.  This not only keeps the books more realistic, but to me it makes the crime seem more real - less causal, as if to remind us that even as we are enjoying ourselves with crime fiction we should remember how devastating crime is in real life.  Not that they are preachy on that topic, just that the other, smaller storylines help ground the stories in reality for me.

Anyway, this novel starts with a murder committed when a chunk of cement is thrown over an overpass, and then turns to the murder of a young girl.  But its really about babies, and the lengths to which people will go to get one, and the desperation some women feel.  The story is highlighted by a subplot in which Wexford’s social worker daughter Sheila has decided to act as a surrogate to her former husband and his new girlfriend, donating the egg herself, much to her father’s dismay and her mother’s distress.  Normally I am not as interested in Wexford’s part of the story, but this particular one was well done, in that I too found myself with strong opinions about Sheila’s actions, which not only kept me reading, but helped inform my reactions to the rest of the book.  And it made me thank my stars for my little guy, and be grateful I’ve never found myself as desperate as some of the characters of this book.

Date/Place Completed: May 2009; D.C.

Categories: Fiction; Ruth Rendell Project

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017