Read Simisola by Ruth Rendell Online


The sixteenth book to feature the classic crime-solving detective, Chief Inspector Wexford.When a young, black woman goes missing in Kingsmarkham, Wexford must respond to a test not only of his powers of deduction, but of his basic beliefs and prejudices.Only eighteen black people live in Kingsmarkham. One of them is Wexford's new doctor, Raymond Akande. When the doctor'sThe sixteenth book to feature the classic crime-solving detective, Chief Inspector Wexford.When a young, black woman goes missing in Kingsmarkham, Wexford must respond to a test not only of his powers of deduction, but of his basic beliefs and prejudices.Only eighteen black people live in Kingsmarkham. One of them is Wexford's new doctor, Raymond Akande. When the doctor's daughter, Melanie, goes missing, the Chief Inspector takes more than just a professional interest in the case.Melanie, just down from university but unable to find a job, disappeared somewhere between the Benefit Office and the bus stop. Or at least no one saw her get on the bus when it came...When the body of a young black woman is discovered, Wexford must overcome his underlying prejudices to allow his investigative skills to succeed....

Title : Simisola
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780099437314
Format Type : Mass Market Paperback
Number of Pages : 378 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Simisola Reviews

  • Bettie☯
    2018-12-18 00:45

    Read by.................. Christopher RavenscroftTotal Runtime......... 10 Hours 56 Mins Description: Black residents are highly visible in a small English country town like Kingsmarkham. Yet Dr. and Mrs. Akande's daughter, Melanie, fresh from university but a disappointment to her career-driven parents, has disappeared into thin air. She was last seen at the Employment Centre, where she has just signed on for social assistance, when she inexplicably vanished. Now Inspector Wexford finds himself with an investigation complicated by Melanie's feckless boyfriend, his own eye for a too-pretty employment counsellor, and a bizarrely incompetent well as a systematic adulterer, a vengeful wife, a treacly politician... and a perplexing corpse. The case will take Wexford from a sunny, soigne garden party to the greyness of unemployment in a derelict shack and finally onto the streets. Here his endless fascination with the peculiarities of human nature leads him from a volatile mix of motives and suspects straight into an explosion of snobbery, sexism, racism--and brutal murder in blood both hot and cold. Social issues are to the fore here: feminism, race, unemployment, ageism and foriegn workers.3* From Doon With Death (Inspector Wexford, #1)3* A New Lease of Death (Inspector Wexford, #2)3* Wolf to the Slaughter (Inspector Wexford, #3)2* The Best Man to Die (Inspector Wexford, #4)3* A Guilty Thing Suprised #53* No More Dying Then (Inspector Wexford, #6)3* Murder Being Once Done (Inspector Wexford, #7)3* Some Lie and Some Die (Inspector Wexford, #8)3* Shake Hands Forever (Inspector Wexford, #9)3* A Sleeping Life (Inspector Wexford, #10)3* Put on by Cunning (Inspector Wexford #11)1* Speaker of Mandarin (Inspector Wexford, #12)3* An Unkindness of Ravens (Inspector Wexford, #13)3* The Veiled One (Inspector Wexford, #14)3* Kissing the Gunner's Daughter (Inspector Wexford, #15)3* Simisola (Inspector Wexford, #16)3* Not in the Flesh (Inspector Wexford, #21)2* The Vault (Inspector Wexford, #23)

  • L
    2019-01-14 22:03

    British mysteries are just so different from their U.S. counterparts, no? This one was quite interesting. An investigator thinking deeply about race and racism, confronting his own takn-for-granted racist thought patterns, trying to strike a balance between avoiding stereotype and ignoring race. Can't say more without spoiling things for others.

  • Anne
    2019-01-02 23:05

    When Wexford's doctor's daughter goes missing, Wexford is fast on the case. The "twist" is that his doctor happens to be one of the few black people in the British town of Kingsmarkham. While looking for the missing woman, the bodies of two other women turn up murdered and Wexford is confronted with his own racism, as well as those of the witnesses he encounters. I found the writing in this book fine - better than most mysteries that I read - but in terms of plot, it wasn't particularly suspenseful and I found some of the investigation a bit tedious.

  • Eustacia Tan
    2019-01-17 20:51

    Like I mentioned before, that book on women crime writers made me want to read more crime and so I did. Simisola was one of the books analysed, and it sounded really interesting so I picked it up. It's an Inspector Wexford mystery (to be specific it's a police procedural) but I think it can be read as a standalone. As for the plot, that's a bit harder to describe but here goes:The daughter of Inspector Wexford's GP, Melanie Akande, has gone missing. As Wexford investigates, the body of Annette Bystock, who was probably the last person to see her. And then another body turns up.This is a police procedural with an intricate plot and an overarching theme. Wexford is a decent man who is struggling in a world that has changed without him knowing. The change being that England is no longer 99% white.This investigation leads him to recognise and confront his hidden prejudices while painting a bleak picture of England right now. Life isn't easy for anyone, and a lot of people clearly aren't coping well. At times, it felt like Ruth Rendell hammered in the "England is racist" message a bit too strongly and made it very obvious, but for the most part, she let the characters and the story indict themselves. For example (possible spoilers if you didn't read the blurb) when the second body is found, Inspector Wexford immediately assumed it was Melanie because the victim was black, even going as far as to break the news to her parents. When they realise it's not her, their anger is heartbreaking and a huge moment of realisation of how unconsciously racist he is for Wexford.The only weak point of the book (apart from veering dangerously close to preachy occasionally) is that it'a really, really complicated. Perhaps my brain isn't just working but despite reading most of the book in one sitting (woohoo for free days with no plans), when the murderer was revealed my first reaction was "who?" Wexford does do a recap, which I was grateful for, but unlike most mysteries, the reveal was more confusing than de-mystifying.If you want a mystery that makes the problem of racism a part of the story, you'll want to pick this book up. It is a grim, bleak read, but it is a worthwhile one because we always need to be confronted with our hidden prejudices.This review was first posted at Inside the mind of a Bibliophile

  • Jannelies
    2019-01-16 21:56

    Dit boek uit 1994 is in herdruk opnieuw uitgegeven in oktober 2008. En onlangs weer, want een vers exemplaar met dezelfde omslag als die uit 2008 viel bij mij in de bus.In het kleine Kingsmarkham valt het op als je een andere kleur hebt dan de gemiddelde Brit. Wexford heeft een nieuwe huisarts, genaamd Akande. De familie is duidelijk geboren en getogen in een ander land. Er wonen nog een handjevol gekleurde mensen in Kingsmarkham en in 1994 is dat nog volop voer voor gespreksstof. Veel mensen willen niet onbeleefd overkomen en dus het denigrerende neger' gebruiken, en zoeken dus wanhopig naar een nette omschrijving. Weer anderen gaan al de uiterst politiek correcte kant op met als gevolg dat op een gegeven moment de aandacht meer uitgaat naar de huidskleur van de bewoners dan naar hun karaktereigenschappen.Dokter Akande en zijn vrouw hebben een tienerdochter, Melanie. Vers van de universiteit heeft ze helaas nog geen baan gevonden dus gaat ze op een middag naar het banencentrum. Een soort CWI zeg maar, want je kan er ook een uitkering aanvragen. En dan verdwijnt Melanie. Wexford heeft toevallig net zelf veel gehoord over dat banencentrum want zijn schoonzoon zit ook zonder werk en heeft zich ingeschreven. Zijn dochter echter vindt dat haar man zich kapot moet schamen dat hij een uitkering aanvraagt.In Simisola worden thema's aangesneden die ook in 2010 nog actueel zijn. Het politiek correct zijn naar 'medelanders' toe, het al of niet aanvragen of krijgen van een uitkering, het niet kunnen vinden van werk ondanks een goede opleiding en daarbij: het uitbuiten van mensen. Want er is nog iemand in Kingsmarkham die het moeilijk heeft. Zij is de kokkin van een rijke familie maar als je ziet hoe die familie haar behandelt, zijn ze bepaald niet rijk aan goede manieren. Op een complexe manier worden alle verhalen bij elkaar geschreven maar gezien de uiterst kundige pen van Rendell krijgt de lezer genoeg subtiele aanwijzingen om door te willen blijven lezen.Ook na 16 jaar nog steeds een voorbeeld van het grote talent van Rendell.

  • Charlotte Donaldson
    2019-01-08 20:08

    Rendell writes amazing storiesI could not put the book down. Rendell develops such wonderful characters to interact with Detectives Wexford and Burden. These stories show the darkest sides of mankind and the most moral ones. You don't feel preached to, though. You are just glad there are those who do the right thing and right the wrongs.

  • Cyd
    2018-12-18 23:48

    Excellent twists I did not foresee. Excellent running theme of racism and white privilege.

  • Melanie Williams
    2019-01-15 00:01

    Good social commentary and a page-turner.

  • Sally Sharamitaro
    2019-01-11 02:05

    Am trying to read these Inspector Wexford murder mystery novels in order. Finished it January 8, 2018

  • Joyce Obrien
    2018-12-30 19:40

    A thoughtful book. Her usual careful character development leaves a haunting impression.

  • Judy Parker Cohen
    2018-12-28 01:54

    1st Ruth Rendell I've read my father has a whole bunch of her books

  • Scott
    2018-12-31 23:49

    This is the first Rendell I've read in a long time. It was fine.

  • Judy
    2018-12-23 20:51

    I like mysteries set in England, Ireland & Scotland & this story is set in England. The story includes some class, multicultural, racial & ethnic elements which are woven in & add to the story. It is not "just" an English mystery. It was published in 1995 & one might think it would be dated but it includes subjects that are applicable to today's society. It is the first Chief Inspector Wexford mystery I have read & I will look for some more!

  • Liz
    2019-01-07 01:43

    "An hour later, if he had been asked to give a resume of what she had said, he couldn't have recalled a word of it. And at the time he was aware that she had that great gift, on which so many politicians have founded their success, of being able to say nothing at length and in a flowing sequence of polysyllabic fashionable words, of talking meaningless nonsense in fine mellifluous phrases with absolute self-confidence. From time to time she paused for no apparent reason. Occasionally she smiled. Once she shook her head and once she raised her voice on an impassioned note. Just when he thought she would go on for half an hour, that nothing but physical force would stop her, she ceased..." I couldn’t resist copying this quote from Chief Inspector Wexford about the candidate in a local election who is introducing him to speak at a gathering on women’s safety, being, as I am, pretty fed up with the rhetoric of this year’s election campaigns. Beyond that – and isn’t it lovely prose, by the way? – this is probably THE best Rendell book I have read, and I haven’t read a bad one. I am in awe of how well she has taken the period detective novel, which we know so well from Agatha Christie, and moved the story into the modern world. There is so much that people of my age can recognize in the growth of a small town, the changing political and social mores, and the different issues that affect the people. And yet murder is still murder, and Wexford and Burden and company are still there to solve the case. The heart of this book is racial relations, and in particular, people of color in the town of Kingsmarkham and its neighboring villages. Wexford has to confront his own racism, of which he was genuinely unaware. The murder victims are connected to a young woman who was brought into the country as a servant, and who was raped and beaten by the men of the household she worked in. The daughter of a local doctor, who is black, like the dead servant girl, is also missing, and the confusion over which girl is which goes to the heart of Wexford’s assumptions about race, causing him to think deeply about his own prejudices, and those of his town.

  • rabbitprincess
    2019-01-07 20:50

    Actual rating: 3.5This book was intended for my Mystery Fiction class, but the professor was unable to find an easy way to procure copies for us; most publishers did not have it in print at the time. Much later, I found a copy at a used-book sale, and so I bought it on the strength of our professor's recommendation.Thinking back on the course, this book would have been a perfect fit, and its replacement, The Laughing Policeman, touches on similar themes. This book's main story arc is that of Melanie Akande, a young woman who is part of one of the few black families in Kingsmarkham. She disappears one day, but the search for her proves to be a difficult one. Chief Inspector Wexford is called in to solve the case, not only because it is on his turf but also because Melanie's father is his GP.Over the course of the story, Rendell touches on themes of race and class. Wexford and others on the force deal with their own attitudes to race as they solve the case -- one twist in particular, which I shall not give away, really opens Wexford's eyes on that front. Class and employment are two other important threads to the story: Melanie is the daughter of upper-middle-class parents, but she has resorted to the Job Centre to find work in her chosen field of performing arts, which her parents feel is not good enough for her. All roads lead to the Job Centre, actually, so it plays a major part in the case. It ties to Wexford's personal life, too; his daughter and son-in-law are forced to go on the dole temporarily.The book was well written, more reminiscent of A Judgement in Stone, which is the only other Rendell novel I've read. I did read one of her books that she wrote as Barbara Vine and found it difficult to get through (I left it unfinished)... fortunately, this book is not like that. It unfolds at a decent pace, and the solution is fair, and there are several twists that I did not see coming. Also, the explanation for the title, which comes right at the end of the book, is very bittersweet. But still, this isn't one of my favourites. Perhaps having it studied in Mystery Fiction would have made it more interesting.

  • Jaksen
    2019-01-05 18:56

    Extremely complex, even for a mystery. Plots and characters keep piling on all the way through the book and really, one needs a cue card to keep them all straight. (I sometimes do make an index card of names and what each person 'does' to keep them straight. Didn't do it for this book, really should have.) Rendell must have kept copious notes while writing this one.Also, there are so many twists and turns in which characters interact - and all with each other - that unless one keeps in mind that this is all happening in one small area, a village sort of area, it becomes a case of too many coincidences. It's an everyone knows everyone else' sort of thing. Every time a new character appears, he or she has some sort of acquaintance, interaction, romantic affiliation, or is related to an earlier character. This can only happen in a fairly small social group, like in a small town, part of a city, or neighborhood. Otherwise it strains credibility.But I got past all that. I accepted things as they came. Interlocking relationships. The fact so many characters meet at or use a local 'benefits' or welfare office. The fact that there are only so many black families in this particular area. I read 'Simosola' as a standard mystery and was intrigued by all the references to immigration and the 'problems' it was causing at the time. (This book was written in the 1990's.) However I figured out a main, key clue early in the book, wondering: is this what it's all about? Turned out I was right.The story itself involves a missing girl, two dead bodies, and who is who and why did two girls end up dead, and another one missing. Wexford has to sort through multiple, tangled threads, always treading carefully lest he upset anyone's sensibilities when it comes to racial profiling and stereotyping. (Timely topics today, twenty years after the time period in the book.) Anyhow, I figured out the answer early on. (Rendell always leaves clues lying about, along with a lot of red herrings.) But because of the sheer over-complexity of the book, I give it only three stars.

  • Texbritreader
    2019-01-03 20:08

    Rendell is a mystery writer I have long enjoyed and this Inspector Wexford has all the usual trappings of a good detective novel: a missing girl, a couple of dead bodies, a lot of suspects and a lot of missing pieces. Rendell juggles all the many plot threads deftly, keeping you guessing at her multi-layered puzzle right up to the reveal. Although I managed to figure out some of what was happening I didn't get it all before Inspector Wexford did. And she manages to tie everything up; which is not always the case with less skilled authors. The story deals in part with changes in Wexford's rural town, especially the small but steady influx of immigrants: from Africa, India, the Caribbean and China. I particularly enjoyed the nuanced way racism was handled within story; allowing the various characters to illustrate many different facets of the racial equation in contemporary British society (circa 1995) and offering multiple points of view that all bear thinking about. I must add that the pacing is first rate; Rendell never bogs down or drops the ball, she gives you time to digest events and develops her characters; all the while staying several steps ahead of the reader. Great fun but not without substance - but if I say too much I could spoil it.

  • Hal
    2019-01-06 18:09

    Another page-turner from Ruth Rendell, the mastery of psychological suspense. This one is too long. I feel that as popular writers get older they too often are not subjected to editing.One problem I have with her books -- at least in the paperback editions I have -- is that sometimes it is hard to tell who is talking. She has a problem with transitions, although some of the issue may simply be poor type-setting. By that I mean when she changes the point of view, there should be a little more space between paragraphs to give the reader a clue that a new scene has started.I realize Rendell may have absolutely nothing to do with this issue. It may just be the printing company.Overall, however, this is an interesting yarn with her trademark out-of-left-field ending that comes with little or no foreshadowing and a surfeit of red herrings. Rendell does a great job differentiating her characters. I especially like the way she lets them grow and evolve. She has a protagonist but certainly not a hero. All of the folks that she pays attention to in the Inspector Wexford series are flawed in some way, which to me makes them more attractive, more human.

  • Mary
    2019-01-14 00:06

    I love Ruth Rendell. Her creepy psychological thrillers or almost-thrillers are the ones I love best. This, instead, is an Inspector Wexford mystery. Still, her talents are there: real, flawed characters, an atmosphere of anxiety and dread and exploration of the uncomfortable topics of the day. Rendell tends to reinforce the class system even when she is ostensibly subverting it. She is expert at creating real places along with her real people. However, her characters' homes and work environments closely track with their perceived or received social status. Perhaps she is cannier than I think, hmmm...

  • Dignan107
    2018-12-17 18:47

    A good read, easily readable but didnt keep up with the pace of the book other words I took too long to read it and therefore it didnt flow as well as it should have. Purely my own fault. Despite this thoroughly enjoyed reading a classic author....if I didn't have so many other books on my plate I'd scour charitable establishments to find more of Ms Rendalls many books. Also watched the ITV adaptation straight after reading the book, it stayed very faithful to the book and was also enjoyed to the full.

  • Bev Taylor
    2019-01-05 19:46

    black people r rare in the south east so when the doctor's daughter goes missing, wexford takes more than a professional interest in the case. plus she is 22 years so as an adult can do as she pleases what this leads to is unexpected and disturbing truths r revealed this is a psychological thriller and the social insights r an eye opener and disturbing once again wexford hits all the buttons - with his words, attraction to women and of course is inter-action with his sidekick, burden bev

  • Ginnz
    2019-01-14 00:00

    Quite a good Wexford. I know you are not meant to be able to spot the killer in the story until the end but it all fell in to place in the last 30 and felt a little rushed. As a commentary of a small English town with regard to people of other races, it felt very real. I liked that for the some people in the town, to get the answers to the questions they needed to ask sometimes they had to be less that PC. While it caused tension and embarrassment in the book it also felt real and that is a plus.

  • L Greyfort
    2019-01-15 01:56

    This author is always a dependably good choice and there are a whole raft of these Wexford novels; this continuing detective is Inspector Wexford, a comfortable, wise, policeman, with an uptight younger assistant. These are consistently good; you can pick them up in any order and enjoy them just fine.Her standalone books tend toward the "Let's walk around inside the heads of one or another weird type of psychopaths".

  • Carmen
    2019-01-07 01:01

    A young woman does not come home. The parents contact the police. Inspector Wexford is called into the case. During the investigation a body is found. But it is not the body of the young woman who's gone missing. Even though there are only six female Africans in the town. So now he has a mysterious death and a missing persons case to solve. It is an ingenious method the way he figures it out. The author really lets you get into the thoughts of the persons. Very interesting.

  • Heather
    2018-12-26 19:48

    My favorite of all the Inspector Wexford novels. Intricate; every detail matters and I am still noticing elements of foreshadowing, thematic resonance, parallel subplots, after re-reading the book many times. I go back to it again and again. I would compare it to Dorothy Sayers' "The Nine Tailors" in its complexity, subtlety, range of characters, and moral weight. A sad story with a satisfyingly solemn, melancholy conclusion.

  • Gloria
    2019-01-12 18:07

    This novel makes powerful statements about the insidious role of racism, whether it is acted upon passively or aggressively. Part of the Chief Inspector Wexford series set in England, the story explores modern-day slavery, people who live illegally, rich vs. poor, and parent/child conflicts. It also points out the many small ways that "most" people exhibit racism.Appeal Factors Include: social criticism, women's strong voices, women who have no voice, secrets, and murder.

  • Sara
    2018-12-18 23:53

    Chock-full of characters of all colors and classes, likeable and repulsive, Simisola is superb Rendell. Despite its serious exploration of racism and political correctness (Wexford discovers his tendencies in both directions) it is shot through with humor, both "black" (no pun intended) and wry. Despite a description of a march protesting unemployment which ran on a bit too long, I liked it quite a lot.

  • Carole
    2019-01-13 20:04

    This book is well-written, i like Ruth Rendell, Inspector Wexford is an interesting character but I just found this book lacking. I didn't care about the characters, found the mystery less than intriguing and was glad when it was over. Some of it may be due to my reading it in a chopped up way -a chapter today, nothing for a few days etc. I did finish it and it will not deter me from other Rendell books. So I am willing to take at least one star worth of the blame for the low rating.

  • Not Active
    2018-12-26 20:01

    As always, Rendell delivers a well-plotted and thoughtful British police procedural. In this book, however, she exceeds even her own unusually high standards, delivering some remarkable plots twists and also keen insights into the psychological processes by which nice, normal people allow themselves to do horrible things. This book changed how I think about the psychology of slavery and torture.

  • Daniella
    2018-12-22 00:44

    This was pretty good as police procedure novels go and Rendell's excavation of our motives and attitudes behind racism were well done and honest but the ending was almost unbelievable to me. Even allowing for class and race prejudices I just can't see a 20th century Western European harboring those kind of ideas about keeping servants. The novel was written in 1995 but the Riding's attitude was more like 1795. Perhaps I'm just an overly idealistic American thought.