Ruth Barbara Rendell, Baroness Rendell of Babergh, CBE - and Queen of crime fiction - is the author of over sixty novels. Her murder mysteries include the popular Inspector Wexford series whilst she has also written psychological thrillers under the pseudonym Barbara Vine.
Born in South Woodford, London, Ruth published her first novel From Doon with Death when she was 34. She had previously been fired from her job as a reporter on the South Woodford local newspaper for writing an article on the local tennis club's annual dinner without mentioning that the speaker had dropped down dead during his speech. However, despite her dismissal, she married her boss on the paper, Don Rendall.
Rendell has received numerous awards for her work, including the Silver, Gold, and Cartier Diamond Daggers from the Crime Writers' Association, three Edgars from the Mystery Writers of America, The Arts Council National Book Awards, and The Sunday Times Literary Award.
In the quiet Sussex country town of Kingsmarkham, the daughter of Nigerian physician Raymond Akande is missing. "It's probably nothing, " says Dr. Akande to his friend and client Chief Inspector Wexford, whose help he enlists.
But the days that follow prove the doctor dreadfully wrong. A young woman is found murdered not Melanie, but the last person to have seen and spoken to her. A second woman's body is discovered, again not Melanie's, but like her, young and black. A third woman turns up beaten and unconscious; like the others, she is of Nigerian origin. As Inspector Wexford's investigation stretches from days into weeks, it becomes his unhappy obligation to counter the hopes of the doctor and his wife. In Wexford's professional opinion, Melanie, like the other young women, has become the victim of a serial killer with a horrifyingly singular objective.
'The most brilliant mystery novelist of our time.'