From Doon with Death is the first Rendell novel to feature the ever compassionate Chief Inspector Wexford. It is about the murder of Margaret Parsons, a prim and proper house-wife which most likely the type that can’t surprise anyone with her looks and is without a doubt a woman of manners. So when her husband finds their home empty one evening, he starts to panics for never in his life had Margaret leaves his sight when he gets home. With the help of Inspector Wexford, Margaret is found in a nearby wood. Abandoned and strangled.
With this realization come to mind that maybe Margaret must have runaway with some man which his husband insists she isn’t that type. Then a series of books of poetry enters the scene with dedications from a man called Doon. Margaret Parsons and her husband had just moved back to the small village in which she grows up, but why do her childhood friends deny even having known her?
Being one of Rendell’s earlier novels, I’ll not dare say that this is one of her best but it isn’t also her weakest (for reading most of Rendell’s work, I haven’t encountered a single book of hers which disappoints me, the very reason why I considered myself as a devoted fan). But I guess this one is a bit predictable for I get to predict the culprit beforehand. Although the truth is very obvious, I was a bit shock to learn that the story still tries to go on as if I haven’t had an idea what was coming. But with Rendell’s storytelling and chilling prose doesn’t make me leave the novel with disappointments. Wexford here also gains my sympathy for his understanding about the murderer’s motives and not having to say he goes for the culprit’s side. One thing I’m sure of is the idea of the suspect’s identity will make the reader thinks of the author being clever and original that at the time of the novels’ publication causes Rendell to gain a lot of following and to be placed in the forefront rank in the mystery field. Though I suggest picking this one is not a good idea, not that its bad but I just want you to experience her chiller-killer plots that is much more obvious and effective in any of her later works.
Opening Sentences: You have broken my heart.
Ending Sentences: Then they pulled their chairs closer to the desk, spread the letters before them and began to read.