Kissing the Gunner's Daughter
The fifteenth Wexford novel published by Hutchinson in 1992
Sergeant Caleb Martin of Kingsmarkham CID had no idea how terminally unlucky the thirteenth of May would prove. Even alive, he could have no inkling of the chain of bloody events that would follow.
No one spoke. The last person to speak had been Barry Vine when he said he would get out and open the gate. Detective Inspector Burden said nothing. He was thinking about what they would find at Tancred House and telling himself not to anticipate, for speculation was useless …
At the end of the novel Wexford explains the meaning of the expression “Kissing the Gunner’s Daughter is a dangerous enterprise” to Burden.
It means being flogged. When they were going to flog a man in the Royal Navy they first tied him to a cannon on the deck. Kissing the Gunner’s Daughter was therefore a dangerous enterprise.
The character Barry Vine, a reference to Rendell’s alter ego, was created in her honour by the novelist Julian Barnes.
Adapted for TV in 1992.
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Investigating the darker corners of the criminal mind, New York Times 1990. ↩︎
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