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Best Man to Die (Chief Inspector Wexford Mysteries) by Ruth Rendell

By Ruth Rendell

Who can have suspected that the interesting stag occasion for the groom will be the prelude to the homicide of his shut good friend Charlie Hatton? And Charlie's demise used to be simply the 1st in a string of perplexing murders concerning small-time gangsters, dishonest husbands, and unfastened girls. Now leader Inspector Wexford and his assistant subscribe to forces with the groom to trace down a killer . . .

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Extra info for Best Man to Die (Chief Inspector Wexford Mysteries)

Sample text

He went to the door where the sunshine showed off his elegant figure and absence of paunch to best advantage. ‘All a matter of metabolism,’ he said airily. ’ He looked back at Wexford. ‘Others slow. ’ Wexford gave a snort. When the doctor had gone, he opened the top drawer of his desk and took from it the contents of Charlie Hatton’s pockets. The wallet was there, but it was empty of money. It was still soaking wet and now Wexford carefully removed from its leather partitions a photograph of Lilian Hatton, a driving licence and a darts club membership card and spread them in the sun to dry.

It moved with a heavy surge and the dog released it, her hackles rising. The slow and somehow primeval erecting of that mat of grey hairs brought a curious chill to Wexford’s blood. The sun seemed to go in. He forgot the black dog, coming ever nearer, and his joy in the morning went. Clytemnestra let out an unearthly keening howl, her lips snarling back and her tail a stiff prolongation of her backbone. The bundle she had disturbed eddied a few inches into the deeper water and as Wexford watched, a thin pale hand, lifeless as the agate-veined stones, rose slowly from the sodden cloth, its fingers hanging yet pointing towards him.

Then there was all the darts club lot, George Carter, fellow called Bayles, Maurice Cullam from Sewingbury and a couple of others. ’ Jack nodded dumbly. ‘Charlie got there late, Jack said. They left at closing time, split up outside, I reckon. Charlie and Cullam’ll have walked home across the fields. ’ This time Jack lifted his head. Burden thought him a weak womanish fool, despising his red eyes and the muscle that twitched in his cheek. But Wexford spoke gently. ‘I realize this has been a blow to you, Mr Pertwee.

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