Means of Evil and Other Stories
A Wexford short story collection published by Hutchinson in 1979
What connects a kidnapped baby, a woman’s body left to rot in a cove in Yugoslavia, a suspicious suicide and the century-old case of a wife who poisons her husband? The answer: British crime fiction’s favourite detective, DCI Reg Wexford.
Contains: “Means of Evil”, “Old Wives’ Tales”, “Ginger and the Kingsmarkham Chalk Circle”, “Achilles Heel”, and “When the Wedding Was Over”.
And when the wedding was over, we’d have it put in the newspaper list of marriages …is a quote from Gabriel Oak’s marriage proposal to Bathsheba in Far from the Madding Crowd.
I do see things much the way Hardy saw them … I think Hardy is very close to me in a visceral way. Life is tragic, though this need not be taken in a maudlin or sentimental way.—Ruth Rendell 1
Petra Davies reads “When the Wedding Was Over”. BBC Radio 4 1979.
The 1991 TV adaptation of Means of Evil also included elements from “When the Wedding Was Over”.
“Ginger and the Kingsmarkham Chalk Circle” was adapted for TV as No Crying He Makes in 1988.
“Old Wives’ Tales” was combined with “An Unwanted Woman” from the short story collection The Copper Peacock to create one episode of the Inspector Wexford TV series in 1992.
Contemporary Reads 2
William Styron - Sophie’s Choice
Primo Levi - If This Is a Man
Agatha Christie - Miss Marple’s Final Cases
Ellis Peters - One Corpse Too Many
Colin Dexter - Service of All the Dead
Norman Mailer - The Executioner’s Song
Confessions of a Crime Writer. Interview with Anthea Davey for Red Pepper Magazine, 1996, pp. 14-15. ↩︎
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