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Publisher's 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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Great old fashioned story

This Ruth Rendell story is slow to start, once you get into it though you will find you are captivated by the twists of the storyline.
I am usually able to work out what will happen in detective novels, this one was different, I did not expect the surprise ending. Let’s see if you are a better detective than I am.

Highly mrecommended

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not bad

Fairly well written but i guessed most of the ending too early in the book.

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  • Linda
  • 19-08-2010

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
  • 12-11-2012

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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  • Thrones for ever
  • 28-04-2020

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

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  • 611
  • 06-12-2016

quirky and cool!

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

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  • Kaye Sena
  • 28-05-2015

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.

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  • Flint
  • 16-09-2017

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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  • old english chewie
  • 22-01-2022

a lovely story.

A most enjoyable story, well read with a good twist at the end. would recommend to anyone.

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  • mrs S
  • 21-12-2021

An amazing discovery by Wexford

Wexford does it again, solves the impossible riddle surrounding a murder. A very unusual case and one which is not predictable. He is an intellectual, well read and uses his skills to get justice. This is my favourite Wexford mystery so far.

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  • Zilpah
  • 06-12-2021

Murder Mystery with 1970s Attitudes

A Sleeping Life includes the usual murder mystery with a twist but includes commentary on working women and women’s roles in society in the late 1970s. Ruth Rendell is wrote this at a time of change, when women longed to embrace new career opportunities but their efforts were often resisted by men comfortably mentally and physically entrenched in their long held positions of influence and power. The author suggests that women could now choose to live in a variety of ways in order to feel fulfilled. In general, the language and attitudes expressed by many of the characters is astonishing to read nowadays but it is of the time and to my recollection is how people really were fifty years ago. Brilliantly read by Nigel Anthony, my favourite of the Wexford narrators so far.

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  • sunflower
  • 12-09-2021

Pleasant listen

I like the narrator and plot so happily listened to the end. The fact it’s dated adds to its historical value I think because of course Rendell would have done her research and it’s a reflection of the time. I was quite surprised at the phrases used back then having not come across a few of them in my life time. I’m glad times have moved on a bit.

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  • Nicola
  • 06-09-2021

Topical

Interesting themes that are bang up to date in this (as usual) excellent whodunnit. Not my favourite narrator but very listenable.

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  • Jill Goodman
  • 04-09-2021

Inspector Wexford at his best.

I’ve been a fan of Ruth Rendell’s Inspector Wexford ever since he was portrayed by George Baker in the tv dramatisation. This reading did not disappoint. Nigel Anthony’s reading was excellent and the story as intriguing as ever, although I did see the twist coming quite early on.

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  • Andrew and Andrew's Wife
  • 22-08-2021

Problematic racial & ableist slurs in this book :(

I have been listening to a lot of Ruth Rendell's Wexford books on Audible and enjoying Nigel Anthony as the performer.
He is excellent and you would never know that it was being performed by only one man because his voices for the different characters are amazing. Particularly Wexford himself - uncanny how well he performs the character - just like the tv actor George Baker's portrayal - I can see him in my mind's eye. He also does Burden really well.

So it is a pity that (within the narrative and not part of any of the dialogue and intended to throw light on a character's racist attitudes or the situation - which I could just about slide past ) there are jarring uses of archaic racial and ableist terms and that these days are in my opinion rightly considered unacceptable and/or slurs and I wish that they could be edited out.

I have listened to three or four of the Wexford books and another Ruth Rendell book without Wexford in the last couple of weeks and this is the first one that is so peppered with these racist terms.

Apart from this flaw (and one I think could be fixed if some effort was put in) the story and performance is top notch.

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  • Lyro8
  • 26-02-2020

Good mystery though a little dated

Typical Rendell - a rather twisted tale with comfortably familiar characters. The attitudes to feminism, race and homosexuality are very dated though so it's uncomfortable at times. The narrator is excellent - he sounds exactly as you would expect Wexford to sound and is very good at the other characters too. Good narration is so important and I'd definitely look out for others he's done.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 13-02-2020

A Sleeping Life

A first class story Keeps your imagination going at speed right up to the final chapter. It is good fun trying to guess how or where the story is going only to be proved wrong
Gordon

,,
K

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