With floods threatening both the town of Kingsmarkham and his own home and no end to the rain in sight, Chief Inspector Wexford already has his hands full when he learns that two local teenagers have gone missing along with their sitter, Joanna Troy. Their hysterical mother is convinced that all three have drowned, and as the hours stretch into days Wexford suspects a case of kidnapping, perhaps connected with an unusual sect called the Church of the Good Gospel. But when the sitter’s smashed-up car is found at the bottom of a local quarry–occupied by a battered corpse–the investigation takes on a very different hue.
The Babes in the Wood is Ruth Rendell at her very best, a scintillating, precise and troubling story of seduction and religious fanaticism–and murder.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: The Babes in the Wood||Series: An Inspector Wexford Mystery, , #19|
|Release Date: 12-18-2007|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group|
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|Parent title||The Babes in the Wood|
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The Babes in the Wood
The Kingsbrook was not usually visible from his window. Not its course, nor its twisty meanders, nor the willows which made a double fringe along its banks. But he could see it now, or rather see what it had become, a river as wide as the Thames but flat and still, a broad lake that filled its own valley, submerging its water meadows in a smooth silver sheet. Of the few houses that stood in that valley, along a lane which had disappeared leading from a bridge which had disappeared, only their roofs and upper storeys showed above the waters. He thought of his own house, on the other side of that gently rising lake, as yet clear of the floods, only the end of his garden lapped by an encroaching tide.
It was raining. But as he had remarked to Burden some four hours before, rain was no longer news, it was tedious to remark on it. The exciting thing worthy of comment was when it wasn't raining. He picked up the phone and called his wife.
'Much the same as when you went out,' she said. 'The end of the garden's under water but it hasn't reached the mulberry tree. I don't think it's moved. That's what I'm measuring by, the mulberry tree.'
'Good thing we don't breed silkworms,' said Wexford, leaving his wife to decipher this cryptic remark.
There hadn't been anything like it in this part of Sussex in living memory - not, at least, in his memory. In spite of a double wall of sandbags the Kingsbrook had inundated the road at the High Street bridge, flooded the Job Centre and Sainsbury's but miraculously - so far - spared the Olive and Dove Hotel. It was a hilly place and most of the dwellings on higher ground had escaped. Not so the High Street, Glebe