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Publisher's Summary

Wexford had almost made up his mind that he would never again set eyes on Eric Targo. And yet there he was, back in Kingsmarkham, still with that cocky, strutting walk. Years earlier, when Wexford was a young police officer, a woman called Elsie Carroll had been found strangled in her bedroom. Although many still had their suspicions that her husband was guilty, no one was convicted. Another woman was strangled shortly afterwards, and every instinct told Wexford that the killer was still at large. And that it was Eric Targo; a psychopath who would kill again. As the Chief Inspector investigates a new case, Ruth Rendell looks back to the beginning of Wexford's career, even to his courtship of the woman who would become his wife. The past is a haunted place, with clues and passions that leave an indelible imprint on the here and now.
©2009 Kingsmarkham Enterprises Ltd; (P)2009 BBC Audiobooks Ltd
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By Kirstine on 05-02-10

Provides background to Wexford's earlier career

I enjoyed this well-constructed story with several strands that come together by the end. The book has a more unusual format than some others by Ruth Rendell in that a large part is Wexford speaking to Inspector Burden about his strange encounters over many years with Eric Targo: a man he believed, intuitively, has committed murder. Woven into Wexford's reminiscences we learn of his early career and love-life and how he met his wife, Dora. The more contemporary part of the story comes later when Wexford sees Targo again. As is often the case of Ruth Rendell she weaves in issues about human relations and society in general with a fair bit of psychology.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful


By Christopher on 10-21-09

The Monster in the Box

Excellent movement between past and present. A gripping, if anti-climactic end. One of her best as far as we are concerned.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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