cover image Not in the Flesh: A Wexford Novel

Not in the Flesh: A Wexford Novel

Ruth Rendell. Crown Publishing Group (NY), $25.95 (303pp) ISBN 978-0-307-40681-1

In bestseller Rendell's superb 21st Inspector Wexford mystery (after 2005's ""End in Tears""), the British police detective investigates first one, then two male bodies that turn up on the old Grimble property in the insular hamlet of Flagford. Who were these men? Are their deaths related? Older people fill this wise and nuanced storysleepy, bitter and disengagedsince no current crime is at stake, just these two literal skeletons from the past. Among the suspects in the bizarre case are dying fantasy novelist Owen Tredown, who lives with two loopy women, Claudia and Maeve, his divorced first and second wives, in a hideous Victorian manor. Outside groupsincluding members of the Somali community and itinerant fruit-pickerstantalize with their secrets and idiosyncrasies. The suspense persists until the book's final sentences, when the last pieces of the puzzle click elegantly yet unexpectedly into place. ""(June)"" .