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Summary

The body found under the hedge was that of a middle-aged woman. With nothing more to go on than what appeared to be a sardonic gleam in the wide and staring eyes of the victim, It’s time for Wexford and his team to get pro-active. From a seemingly unremarkable death comes an intricate web of lies and deception. A wallet found in the victim’s handbag leads our hero, Inspector Wexford to a Mr. Grenville West, a writer whose plots revel in the blood, thunder, and passion of dramas of old; whose current whereabouts are unclear; and whose curious secretary--the plain Polly Flinders--provides the Inspector with more questions than answers. And when a second Grenville West comes to light, Wexford faces a dizzying array of possible scenarios--and suspects--behind the Comfrey murder.

©1978 Ruth Rendell (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about A Sleeping Life

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Dated, but still enjoyable

I like Inspector Wexford and I enjoy returning to the Wexford series, but they are now very dated. The plot was very interesting but some of the language and attitudes in the book are a bit uncomfortable for a modern reader. The narrator was excellent and I enjoyed listening to this book.

1 person found this helpful

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Dated but still captivating

Yes this is written in the 70s I believe and the attitudes and language are dated and distasteful. I also guessed part of the plot as a consequence. But I kept reading because Rendell’s characters and social tensions are fascinating. You couldn’t change the words in the book because she portrays where attitudes are changing and so had to show where the tensions are. She shows courage in doing this and it’s easy for us to judge from here. This is something she continued to do and you can see how she changes through the years. Probably ahead of the contemporary trend. On the other hand she’s often unreasonably occupied with a woman’s looks - or at least her characters are, and I wish that wasn’t so.

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Of it’s time

I believe this was written in the late 70s. Another reviewer wanted the very dated and inappropriate language edited out which seems strange. We wouldn’t ask that of Agatha Christie! It’s because it was a time of great social change and it’s important to be able to look back and groan at the dreadful expressions and attitudes of the time.

As far as the performance went, I love Nigel Anthony’s voice although his women are a bit sappy. The story was ok, although Rendell does seem fixated on women’s looks in all her books, never mind this one. Although I like Wexford as a character I think Rendell can’t help showing her middle class discomfort with race and class, and her efforts to appear liberal seem patronising. It does drag after a bit.

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Problematic

Be warned, casual racism and misogyny. I hadn’t realised this was written in 1978, but the language to me is quite wince worthy.

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Ending

Again another book I thoroughly enjoyed .

Thought I had solved the murder know to find out I was completely wrong . Keeps you guessing .

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I guessed the plot!

Working my way through the Inspector Wexford mysteries and this is the first one where I managed to guess the root of the plot and the murderer at an early stage. It didn't make it any less enjoyable however.
I do like Nigel Anthony's narration, except for that of Inspector Burden, who sounds a bit limp, in comparison to the voice used by earlier narrators.

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Intriguing

A very intriguing story keeping you guessing till the end. And the end has a twist to it.

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Beautiful written

Brilliantly written and very insightful storyline. I was hooked from the beginning and what a surprising twist plot it had. Definitely recommend it

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Finally made it to the end.

I almost returned this book as the female narrator has an irritating way of expressing the voices of female characters and her male voices are laughable. Fortunately, Daniel Weyman’s narration of the central male character was superb. He brought this complex, controlling, twisted, character to life and I was hooked to the end.
A well written book. I particularly liked the dual narrative, which was out of sync time wise throughout. Listening to the two perspectives was at times chilling. However, it has completely changed my attitude towards audiobooks and it’s back to paper for me. I want to go back to imagining the characters voice not feel irritated by it.

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Glad I didn’t pay for this

I use to love the TV inspector Wexford played by George Baker. Ruth Randell was a great writer of that there is no doubt.
However this story, like a couple of others I downloaded for free, was gruesome for its stereo typed characters and views of what is ‘attractive’ and ‘unattractive’ women looks took a hammering and the men portrayed as at the mercy of an attractive woman’s power.
Read very well though and I will look up the readers work again…..just hope he isn’t limited to Ruth Rendell’s books 😀

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  • Linda
  • 19-08-10

chapters are repeated

This is a good book, but each chapter has been put on twice, 1, 1, 2, 2, etc. This is annoying

6 people found this helpful

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  • Nicole
  • 12-11-12

Another great tale of Inspector Wexford.

I particularly enjoyed this one, despite quickly uncovering the solution, and having to wait for the Inspector and his team to catch up - but it was a fun ride all the same.

Other highlights were the descriptions of 1970s London - oh, if only we could visit Hampstead in that day instead of today!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Elizabeth
  • 16-04-22

Dated Conceptions of Sex and Gender

Dated conceptions of sex and gender make this Chief Inspector Wexford mystery unpersuasive and actually distasteful.

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  • Thrones for ever
  • 28-04-20

Loved it

the characters in this book are awesome I fell in love with it and have listened to many more I recommend this listen you won't be disappointed

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • 611
  • 06-12-16

quirky and cool!

as always... Rendell manages to keep you guessing.. Narration pretty good also. a good read!

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  • Kaye Sena
  • 28-05-15

Twists and turns

Inspector Wexford seems to be stumped on this one, with many digressions I certainly didn't expect. Excellent narration. I only wish the book had been longer.