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End in Tears

If Hannah Goldsmith has appeared in earlier Inspector Wexford mysteries, I haven't registered it; nor can I recall an instance of such dry comedy as this fully-developed character affords. A sergeant with the Kingsmarkham police force in the latest intallment, End in Tears, Hannah is stridently politically correct. She is shocked when a nasty old man whom she is interrogating talks of an illegitimate baby.

She, who could hear of any perversion, incest, bestiality, extreme sadism, with equanimity, as deeply shocked by hearing the word "illegitimate" on anyone's lips. Even more, perhaps, on these wrinkled lips, surrounded by white stubble. Illegitimate! It was unbelievable.

In the course of investigating the murders of Amber Marshalson and Megan Bartlow, Hannah falls in love with her junior officer, DC Baljinder Bhattacharya. The course of true love does not run smooth. The pair are strongly attracted to one another, but perhaps for this very reason Bal holds back on the sex, wanting to get to know Hannah first. Which drives Hannah crazy. They have - a misunderstanding. But by the time Bal gets to come to Hannah's rescue, their romance has completely overshadowed the murder mystery. You never know when Ruth Rendell is going to try something a little different, even if it is in her twentieth Wexford!


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