For her 19th Chief Inspector Wexford mystery, Ruth Rendell tells a story that is as taut and atmospheric as anything she has ever written.
"I've just heard a crazy thing, thought it might amuse you. You look as though you need cheering up." Burden seated himself on the corner of the desk, a favourite perch. Wexford thought he was thinner than ever. "Woman phoned to say she and her husband went to Paris tor the weekend, leaving their children with a - well, teen-sitter, I suppose, got back last night to find the lot gone and naturally she assumes they've all drowned."
"It's pretty bizarre, isn't it? The teenagers are fifteen and thirteen, the sitter's in her thirties, they can all swim and the house is miles above the floods."
There hadn't been anything like this kind of rain in living memory. The River Brede had burst its banks, and not a single house in the valley had escaped flooding. Even where Wexford lived, higher up in Kingsmarkham, the waters had nearly reached the mulberry tree in his once immaculate garden.
The Subaqua Task Force could find no trace of Giles and Sophie Dade, let alone the woman who was keeping them company, Joanna Troy. But Mrs Dade was still convinced her children were dead.
This was an investigation which would call into question many of Wexford's assumptions about the way people behaved, including his own family . . .
- Publication Date:
- 01 / 11 / 2002
- 139 x 106mm