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Chief Inspector Wexford is in China, visiting ancient tombs and palaces with a group of British tourists. After their return to England, one of his fellow tourists is found murdered. As he questions other members of the group, Wexford finds secrets of greed, treachery, theft, and adultery, leading the distressed inspector to ask not who is innocent, but who is least guilty Chief Inspector Wexford is in China, visiting ancient tombs and palaces with a group of British tourists. After their return to England, one of his fellow tourists is found murdered. As he questions other members of the group, Wexford finds secrets of greed, treachery, theft, and adultery, leading the distressed inspector to ask not who is innocent, but who is least guilty . . .


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Chief Inspector Wexford is in China, visiting ancient tombs and palaces with a group of British tourists. After their return to England, one of his fellow tourists is found murdered. As he questions other members of the group, Wexford finds secrets of greed, treachery, theft, and adultery, leading the distressed inspector to ask not who is innocent, but who is least guilty Chief Inspector Wexford is in China, visiting ancient tombs and palaces with a group of British tourists. After their return to England, one of his fellow tourists is found murdered. As he questions other members of the group, Wexford finds secrets of greed, treachery, theft, and adultery, leading the distressed inspector to ask not who is innocent, but who is least guilty . . .

30 review for Un cuento chino

  1. 5 out of 5

    Bettie

    Read by.................. Michael Bryant Total Runtime......... 5 Hours 52 Mins Description: Chief Inspector Wexford is in China visiting ancient tombs and palaces with a group of British tourists. After their return to England, one of his fellow tourists is found murdered - a burglary it seems, but Wexford has other ideas. As he questions other members of the group, Wexford finds secrets of greed, treachery, theft, and adultery, leading the distressed inspector to ask not who is innocent, but wh Read by.................. Michael Bryant Total Runtime......... 5 Hours 52 Mins Description: Chief Inspector Wexford is in China visiting ancient tombs and palaces with a group of British tourists. After their return to England, one of his fellow tourists is found murdered - a burglary it seems, but Wexford has other ideas. As he questions other members of the group, Wexford finds secrets of greed, treachery, theft, and adultery, leading the distressed inspector to ask not who is innocent, but who is least guilty . . . I am hoping this is not the jumping the shark book, that it was a dire one-off, a tragic mistake. Only way to find out is to dive in to the next one. 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 #5 3* 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* Not in the Flesh (Inspector Wexford, #21) 2* The Vault (Inspector Wexford, #23)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ellen

    Speaker of Mandarin by Ruth Rendell. Chief Inspector Wexford is on a trip in china. A long trip and a very uncomfortable trip with none of the conveniences of home. While on a short boat ride with other tourists a man falls overboard and appears to be lost at sea. All this occurs while Wexford's hallucination of an elderly Chinese woman appearing continues without reason. The Chief Inspector returns home and finds himself once again in the midst of a murder that needs solving. A wealthy woman, A Speaker of Mandarin by Ruth Rendell. Chief Inspector Wexford is on a trip in china. A long trip and a very uncomfortable trip with none of the conveniences of home. While on a short boat ride with other tourists a man falls overboard and appears to be lost at sea. All this occurs while Wexford's hallucination of an elderly Chinese woman appearing continues without reason. The Chief Inspector returns home and finds himself once again in the midst of a murder that needs solving. A wealthy woman, Adela Knighton, has been found dead at home shot in the back of her head. Some how people from his trip to China are in the mix of characters in this drama being played out. This story was a bit tiring to me in the beginning. I found it uninteresting and then...Wexford took over and once again I was brought into a riveting mystery that only R.R. could bring us. The ending floored me completely.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Margie

    I liked some of the twists in this mystery. After reading some of the other reviews, I'll concede that Rendell doesn't tell us much about Wexford (the detective) - I felt comfortable with him because I've read so many of the Wexford mysteries and perhaps didn't notice how scant her descriptions were. It's was definitely the mystery itself (and its various subplots) that engaged me. I found the racism rather unpalatable, though. It's hard to believe that this was written only thirty years ago. The I liked some of the twists in this mystery. After reading some of the other reviews, I'll concede that Rendell doesn't tell us much about Wexford (the detective) - I felt comfortable with him because I've read so many of the Wexford mysteries and perhaps didn't notice how scant her descriptions were. It's was definitely the mystery itself (and its various subplots) that engaged me. I found the racism rather unpalatable, though. It's hard to believe that this was written only thirty years ago. The use of the words "inscrutable" and "slant-eyed," as well as writing 'l' for 'r' to make explicit someone's difficulty with English sounds, just in the first three pages, was a bit of a shock - it seemed more like a novel from the 1930s than from the '80s.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jillian

    I liked what some reviewers disliked - the trip to China that begins the book and influences the way Wexford approaches the murder. His observations of people and places shape our understanding of the world of the book and crimes of its characters. Rendell is so skilful a storyteller - a lovely rhythm and balance to the writing and juxtaposing of events; behaviour and thinking processes based on character traits that are predictable but never stereotyped. An ordinary enough murder and a great re I liked what some reviewers disliked - the trip to China that begins the book and influences the way Wexford approaches the murder. His observations of people and places shape our understanding of the world of the book and crimes of its characters. Rendell is so skilful a storyteller - a lovely rhythm and balance to the writing and juxtaposing of events; behaviour and thinking processes based on character traits that are predictable but never stereotyped. An ordinary enough murder and a great read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jaksen

    Another in the long Inspector Wexford series by Ruth Rendell, and by far one of her best. In this one a man's wife is found dead, shot in the back of the head, shortly after they've returned from a trip to China. There are A LOT of suspects here, including almost every member of the tour group. There are A LOT of clues and information for both Wexford, his sidekick Burden, and anyone reading this book to process, consider, kick aside, or set in the omg-that's-probably-it column of the brain. (I s Another in the long Inspector Wexford series by Ruth Rendell, and by far one of her best. In this one a man's wife is found dead, shot in the back of the head, shortly after they've returned from a trip to China. There are A LOT of suspects here, including almost every member of the tour group. There are A LOT of clues and information for both Wexford, his sidekick Burden, and anyone reading this book to process, consider, kick aside, or set in the omg-that's-probably-it column of the brain. (I should have set up a 'cue card,' as I often do with character-heavy books. So often I'd be reading and Wexford is off to interview this one or that one and I'd think okay, who is THAT?) But I still loved the book for its complexity of plot, its utterly believable cast of characters, the interplay between Wexford and Burden, and even for the way Rendell develops those characters who return throughout the series. Burden is starting to see the world in varying shades of gray - rather than black and white - and Wexford questions the way he sees people, questions his himself and his own sanity. (He keeps seeing a woman with bound feet approaching him. Is she real? Is he hallucinating? And if so, why?) Loved this book for a lot of reasons. A perfect mystery, IMO. :D

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rick

    Is a confession to murder really a confession or is there something else to consider? This story takes a considerable number of twists and turns and in the end it's not what you expect. Typical Rendell.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kieran

    Racist in a 1970's way.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Simon Mcleish

    Originally published on my blog here in May 1998. This is a short member of the Inspector Wexford series of crime novels. The first half describes a holiday he had in China; the second his investigation of the murder of a middle-aged woman who was on a coach-party he met there. The description of the trip to China is the most interesting part of the novel; the murder and investigation seem almost to have been put in to pad the novel out and to fit it in with the general themes of the series. The ju Originally published on my blog here in May 1998. This is a short member of the Inspector Wexford series of crime novels. The first half describes a holiday he had in China; the second his investigation of the murder of a middle-aged woman who was on a coach-party he met there. The description of the trip to China is the most interesting part of the novel; the murder and investigation seem almost to have been put in to pad the novel out and to fit it in with the general themes of the series. The juxtaposition of the two parts does mean that the novel suffers from the complaint I particularly dislike about Ngaio Marsh: the strange coincidence which means the investigator meets the victim beforehand. The mystery also has a rather abrupt ending, and is rather unsatisfactory; to explain why I would have to give it away. In conclusion, there are better Wexford books, but the description of a holiday in China before these were commonplace is worth reading.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Leslie

    As beautifully written as all of her books are, this entry in Ruth Rendell's Inspector Wexford series was not my favorite. It was interesting, but excruciatingly dated with respect to the references to China, where the story begins, and rather ho-hum overall once Wexford leaves China. In fact, his visit to China is rather surreal and creepy...really my favorite part of the book. Part of the problem for me was really not reading the book in its entirety within a few days. I started it and got 50 p As beautifully written as all of her books are, this entry in Ruth Rendell's Inspector Wexford series was not my favorite. It was interesting, but excruciatingly dated with respect to the references to China, where the story begins, and rather ho-hum overall once Wexford leaves China. In fact, his visit to China is rather surreal and creepy...really my favorite part of the book. Part of the problem for me was really not reading the book in its entirety within a few days. I started it and got 50 pages in one day, and then didn't touch it again for a week...and had trouble remembering who the characters were. The murder, when it comes, sends Wexford scurrying back and forth to London to try to put together all of the pieces. I always enjoy “watching” him work, but also had a fairly good idea of what had happened and why, so there was little suspense. But, again, this being Rendell, the book was more about the journey than the destination. I'm certainly not unhappy that I read it, but must remember to read mysteries within a few days so that the details don't elude me!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lucy Barnhouse

    I thought this was a very strong installment in the Wexford series, creatively and subtly plotted. As an aficionado of mystery novels, I admire and enjoy the skilled placement of clues, and Rendell's construction here is extremely clever. Also, I thought it functioned as a striking indictment of racism and Orientalism. While both of these are present, and as distasteful as other reviews indicate, I didn't read these as reflecting the attitude of the author. I appreciated, in fact, that Wexford i I thought this was a very strong installment in the Wexford series, creatively and subtly plotted. As an aficionado of mystery novels, I admire and enjoy the skilled placement of clues, and Rendell's construction here is extremely clever. Also, I thought it functioned as a striking indictment of racism and Orientalism. While both of these are present, and as distasteful as other reviews indicate, I didn't read these as reflecting the attitude of the author. I appreciated, in fact, that Wexford is shown as guilty of some Orientalist attitudes, even while disapproving and acting against more active racism/exploitation.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    This was just the right length Audio book for driving from Eugene Oregon to Boise Idaho. The reader, Michael Bryant, made the book. (I suspect that it would have been 3 stars if I'd read it.) The book starts with a trip to 1980's China that turns out to tie into a a murder that Wexford is called to investigate back home in England. Ruth Rendell throws in plenty of red herrings that whiled away the miles.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Becky Mowat

    This mystery is fascinating! Especially if you've ever wanted to tour China, which has been on my "bucket list" forever. Rendell builds her characters throughout with her wry observations! Her writing is brilliant! You will stay hooked by the intriguing plot and masterful, clever writing. This mystery has it all!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    Brilliantly complex whodunit that is as simple as green tea. Every time I guessed right I also missed something important. Genius. (Her, not me!)

  14. 5 out of 5

    Roshni

    The way this book starts is a bit disconcerting because it seems almost horror-like. The Inspector takes a trip to China and green tea visions ensue. The rest of the book is more traditional British mystery format with a death of someone familiar and many connections to the China trip. Overall, a slight step outside the usual pattern, and I think it works to make this different from the typical murder mystery.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Andy

    I managed to read this one out of order by mistake (only realising when Burden's new wife was mentioned). Still, it didn't make much difference. There are some good points, some negative. Certainly the xenophobia and racist approach to Wexford's China trip that kicks off the book makes for uncomfortable reading. It's odd, as Wexford is usually portrayed as liberal and welcoming to all and yet despite clearly enjoying being there his attitude is irascible and grouchy. Maybe it was just the heat, m I managed to read this one out of order by mistake (only realising when Burden's new wife was mentioned). Still, it didn't make much difference. There are some good points, some negative. Certainly the xenophobia and racist approach to Wexford's China trip that kicks off the book makes for uncomfortable reading. It's odd, as Wexford is usually portrayed as liberal and welcoming to all and yet despite clearly enjoying being there his attitude is irascible and grouchy. Maybe it was just the heat, maybe not. Still, in many ways this felt more like a Christie Poirot book with the 'exotic' location and the large cast of characters, red herrings and various subplots. It all tied together and like many of RR's stories, the actual killer is given almost as an afterthought, off screen and summarily tied up. Still, it's the journey. One of the other negatives was the narration by Michael Bryant who opted for racist Chinese caricature accidents yet had very little to distinguish the rest of the cast, with Wexford and Burden sounding almost identical and the former lacking his usual gruff country accent that the other narrators have used. I'm getting a little Wexford fatigue now having listened to so many in such a short time period. I think I might need a palate cleanser before continuing.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tim Smith

    Ruth Rendell is truly the mistress of psychological mysteries. Her Inspector Wexford novels are a perfect combination of the great detective novel and a brilliant, piercing pscychological novel. Unlike the usual Wexford novel, this does not begin in England, but in China. Wexford is attending an observation by the British police of China and its systems. While there, Wexford finds himself by a ghostly elderly Chinese woman with bound feet. He eventually finds himself involved with a group of Bri Ruth Rendell is truly the mistress of psychological mysteries. Her Inspector Wexford novels are a perfect combination of the great detective novel and a brilliant, piercing pscychological novel. Unlike the usual Wexford novel, this does not begin in England, but in China. Wexford is attending an observation by the British police of China and its systems. While there, Wexford finds himself by a ghostly elderly Chinese woman with bound feet. He eventually finds himself involved with a group of British tourists. When he arrives back in England, he is called to the scene of a crime where one of the tourists is murdered. Rendell usually does not build on a supernatural theme, but she does with this novel. The solutions, when it occurs, is brilliantly shocking. Once again, Ruth Rendell has me in awe of her brilliance.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Bionic Jean

    Number 12 in Ruth Rendell's Inpector Wexford Series feels different from the earlier ones, being partly set in China. Wexford's consumption of green tea throughout the novel gives a slightly heady cast to the proceedings, and makes both him and the reader wonder if he is bringing his usual clear-headed analysis to the crime.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    Not as riveting as some of the other books in the Wexford series, due to the first third of the book being a travelogue of sorts detailing a trip to China. Interesting, but not as seamless as it might have been. Many red herrings here, and a good one to try to figure out before the last chapter.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Laila (BigReadingLife)

    My least favorite Inspector Wexford title so far. I didn't really get into it until the last third of the book, which is unusual for me. I think the first third of the book, which is set in China - a departure from the norm - distracted me.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Carmen

    A pleasant mystery story full of twists and turns. Inspector Wexford is assigned to solve a case. Not a highly complicated book but certainly an enjoyable read.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dennis Fischman

    This was a most unusual Inspector Wexford mystery. The first third of it is a trip to China, something like an Agatha Christie Death on the Nile--only, besides the normal question of whether foreign eyes see things more clearly or miss what's most important, there's a question of whether or not he's actually hallucinating. A man dies there, drowned, but Wexford is off his turf and can do nothing. Upon his return to Kingsmarkham, Wexford has to investigate the death of one of his travel companion This was a most unusual Inspector Wexford mystery. The first third of it is a trip to China, something like an Agatha Christie Death on the Nile--only, besides the normal question of whether foreign eyes see things more clearly or miss what's most important, there's a question of whether or not he's actually hallucinating. A man dies there, drowned, but Wexford is off his turf and can do nothing. Upon his return to Kingsmarkham, Wexford has to investigate the death of one of his travel companions and ends up solving both the British and the Chinese murders, which are linked, but not at all in the ways that you or he might expect. Some characters are more important than they seem, while others are malefactors but ultimately insignificant. (view spoiler)[ And two of the characters both think they killed the British lady but didn't. A third murderer gets that honor. (hide spoiler)] I missed Dora Wexford, and the grown-up daughters, too: they add so much to the series, but they really couldn't have played a role in this one without marring the plot. And I didn't miss, and in fact welcome, Wexford's well-read wandering thoughts and quotations. Who knew that Thomas Gray, the author of "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard," also wrote a lament entitled "Ode on the Death of a Favourite Cat Drowned in a Tub of Goldfishes"? It's both lugubrious and self-mocking, as I read it. Looking forward to reading or revisiting the rest of this series.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Rob Smith, Jr.

    This Wexford mystery is odd in half of the book being in one location and then shifts and stays in another location and tries to relate the two. The first half is a bit of a tour of China in the early '80s. Lots characters and stories of each.The writing of China is very good. The character profiles are standard mystery fare. Then there is death. Per chance it involves all who were profiled. Including Wexford. Now Wexford goes back and re-studies those he had seen months earlier in China. Lo and This Wexford mystery is odd in half of the book being in one location and then shifts and stays in another location and tries to relate the two. The first half is a bit of a tour of China in the early '80s. Lots characters and stories of each.The writing of China is very good. The character profiles are standard mystery fare. Then there is death. Per chance it involves all who were profiled. Including Wexford. Now Wexford goes back and re-studies those he had seen months earlier in China. Lo and behold! All become available. I find this very hard to believe. The mystery also bugs me in that with a couple of tweaks the story didn't have to have anything to do with China to begin with. I guess the book's location gave Rendell reason to travel. Rendell does include a bunch of twists and turns that are very well done. She was a very good writer and that comes through, what I find a rather improbable tale. Nevertheless it is good, viewing the book as two stories. Bottom line: I recommend this book. 6 out of ten points.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kiwi Carlisle

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Rereading this book after many years was quite an experience, especially since I discovered that I had misremembered virtually all of the plot. The book was much more intricate and, ultimately, more chilling, than I remembered. The plot is just a bit overwrought, but that’s made up for by Rendell’s exquisite craft and the chill that hits the back of your spine as you finish the book. Slight spoiler here: Wexford’s experience with the Silver Needle tea was likely due to caffeine overdose. He was q Rereading this book after many years was quite an experience, especially since I discovered that I had misremembered virtually all of the plot. The book was much more intricate and, ultimately, more chilling, than I remembered. The plot is just a bit overwrought, but that’s made up for by Rendell’s exquisite craft and the chill that hits the back of your spine as you finish the book. Slight spoiler here: Wexford’s experience with the Silver Needle tea was likely due to caffeine overdose. He was quite lucky not to have ended up in a hospital while drinking “gallons” of tea. The polyphenols probably didn’t do him much good either, but the caffeine was the major culprit.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Oana-Maria Uliu

    Slightly disappointing. It reminded me of Agatha Christie's less memorable books. I normally like Ruth Rendell's novels, but I feel this one is not so good as most of the others. On a voyage to China, Wexford meets several characters, he observes them, but he is also confused because he keeps seeing an old Chinese woman who disappears (and a mummy!), and then, in England, one of those characters gets murdered and he gets to visit the rest of them during his investigation, trying to find out as m Slightly disappointing. It reminded me of Agatha Christie's less memorable books. I normally like Ruth Rendell's novels, but I feel this one is not so good as most of the others. On a voyage to China, Wexford meets several characters, he observes them, but he is also confused because he keeps seeing an old Chinese woman who disappears (and a mummy!), and then, in England, one of those characters gets murdered and he gets to visit the rest of them during his investigation, trying to find out as much as he can about the victim. The murderer is revealed in the end, but in a rather brisk, unassuming manner, as if that hadn't been important.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Joyce

    Interesting Plot But Unsatisfactory Solution This is only the third Rendell book I’ve read but I see a pattern developing. The guilty party comes out of left field- generally no one you ever considered. While the plot lines are interesting, I find this a little off putting, almost anticlimactic. While I’m sure it’s meant to show how clever Wexford is, it’s never fully clear how to comes to the discovery of the guilty party. There are so many characters to keep track of, most of whom are not prese Interesting Plot But Unsatisfactory Solution This is only the third Rendell book I’ve read but I see a pattern developing. The guilty party comes out of left field- generally no one you ever considered. While the plot lines are interesting, I find this a little off putting, almost anticlimactic. While I’m sure it’s meant to show how clever Wexford is, it’s never fully clear how to comes to the discovery of the guilty party. There are so many characters to keep track of, most of whom are not presented in any depth and many unsavory. I’m not sure I’m a huge fan of the authors style.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Gretchen

    Mind blown by Rendell again! She is such a great writer and one of my favorites. I have to say that this one was a bit hard to get into because of the unusual setting of China in the first half of the book. Wexford is most delicious in England ,I believe. But then he returns home and the murder mystery begins! Every character has a motive and a secret and it all kept me guessing up until the very end. Rendell's way of weaving interesting backstories and tossing clues to you is brilliant. One sta Mind blown by Rendell again! She is such a great writer and one of my favorites. I have to say that this one was a bit hard to get into because of the unusual setting of China in the first half of the book. Wexford is most delicious in England ,I believe. But then he returns home and the murder mystery begins! Every character has a motive and a secret and it all kept me guessing up until the very end. Rendell's way of weaving interesting backstories and tossing clues to you is brilliant. One star off for the slightly racist undertones in the first half of the book.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Margie Dorn

    Not a bad read, just not my preference. I had trouble with the descriptions of characters and accents in the first part of the book, especially, as they seemed demeaning, the foreign characters unrealistic (and I've spent considerable time in cross-cultural situations). And, at the end... whoops! time to wrap up the plot! How many false conclusions can we insert in these last few pages.... But I DID keep reading to the end, and that's saying something.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mary Greiner

    While I dearly love Rendell's books, some of them have to be near the bottom ranking. This mystery is one of them. Like her other books, the solution is not known till the end. The beginning of the book takes place in China, and I kept wondering when the mystery would start. Rendell does tie it all together, but this is the only book of hers during which I grew impatient. Perhaps my standards are now too high?

  29. 5 out of 5

    Annmbray

    The first part of the book that takes place in China was a delight! Loved the visuals and all of the wonderful details and characters. The second part that takes place in London and involves an investigation was much less enthralling. Plus when the culprit was revealed, I was surprised since I didn't believe there was anyway I as a reader could have puzzled out the correct answer.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mei

    I liked this well enough but this was another one that suffered from the top abrupt ending. While I often enjoy the way the story unfolds and characters develop, sometimes I get annoyed when the ending seems too pat and plucked from out of thin air almost. Seems a shame, but doesn’t detract from the enjoyment of the book. Well, not all the time.

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