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Authors: Ruth Rendell

Some Lie and Some Die

Acclaim for
Ruth Rendell

“The best mystery writer anywhere in the English-speaking world.”

The Boston Globe

“Undoubtedly one of the best writers of English mysteries and chiller-killer plots.”

Los Angeles Times

“Ruth Rendell is the best mystery writer in the English-speaking world.”


“Chief Inspector Wexford is one of the most admirable presences in mystery fiction today and Ruth Rendell … retains her place of highest distinction in the field.”

The New York Times Book Review

“Ruth Rendell is a master of the form.”

The Washington Post Book World

“No one can take you so totally into the recesses of the human mind as does Ruth Rendell.”

The Christian Science Monitor

“If there were a craft guild for writers, I’d apprentice myself to Ruth Rendell.”

—Sue Grafton

“Ruth Rendell is, unequivocally, the most brilliant mystery novelist of our time. Her stories are a lesson in a human nature as capable of the most exotic love as it is of the crudest murder. She does not avert her gaze and magnificently triumphs in a style that is uniquely hers and mesmerizing.”

—Patricia Cornwall

“Rendell’s clear, shapely prose casts the mesmerizing spell of the confessional.”

The New Yorker

“Ruth Rendell is one of the best crime novelists working today.”

Los Angeles Daily News

“Rendell writes with such elegance and restraint, with such a literate voice and an insightful mind, that she transcends the mystery genre and achieves something almost sublime.”

Los Angeles Times

“No one writes with more devastating accuracy about the world we live and commit sin in today.… She is one of our most important novelists.”

—John Mortimer

Ruth Rendell
Some Lie and Some Die

Ruth Rendell is the author of
Road Rage, The Keys to the Street, Bloodlines, Simisola
, and
The Crocodile Bird
. Her most recent novel is
A Sight for Sore Eyes
. She is the winner of the Mystery Writers of America Grandmaster Award. She is also the recipient of three Edgars from the Mystery Writers of America and four Gold Daggers from England’s Crime Writers Association. In 1997 she was named a life peer in the House of Lords. She lives in England.


1973 by Ruth Rendell

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. Published in the United States by Vintage Books, a division of Random House, Inc., New York. Originally published in hardcover in Great Britain by Hutchinson, London, and in the United States by Doubleday, New York, in 1973.

Vintage Books, Vintage Crime/Black Lizard, and colophon are
trademarks of Random House, Inc.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Rendell, Ruth, 1930–
Some lie and some die / Ruth Rendell.
p.   cm. — (Vintage crime/Black Lizard)
eISBN: 978-0-307-55985-2
1. Wexford, Inspector (Fictitious character)—Fiction.
2. Police—England—Fiction.
I. Title. II. Series.
PR6068.E63S58      1999
823′.914—dc21      98-52888


To my son, Simon Rendell, who goes
to festivals, and my cousin,
Michael Richards, who wrote the song,
this book is dedicated with
love and gratitude.



I don’t miss her smile or the flowers,

I don’t eclipse distance or hours,

I don’t kiss the wind or the showers,

I miss her, can’t kiss her with lips that were ours.

So come by, come nigh,

come try and tell why

some sigh, some cry,

some lie and some die.

Remember me and my life-without-life,

Come once more to be my wife,

Come today before I grieve,

Enter the web of let-me-believe.

So come by, come nigh, etc.

The house will be as if it were ours,

She’ll fill the void with love-scented flowers,

She’ll sit with me in the fast-fading light,

Then my dream will sift into night.

So come by, come nigh, etc.

Now she’s gone in the harsh light of day,

When she’ll return the night would not say,

And I am left to vision the time

When once more she’ll come and be mine.

So come by, come nigh,

come try and tell why

some sigh, some cry,

some lie and some die.

(Zeno Vedast’s song from the ‘Let-me-believe’ L.P. and the ‘Sundays Album’, issued by Galaphone Ltd., and obtainable from good record shops everywhere.)


‘But why here? Why do they have to come here? There must be thousands of places all over this country where they could go without doing anyone any harm. The Highlands for instance. Dartmoor. I don’t see why they have to come here.’

Detective Inspector Michael Burden had made these remarks, or remarks very much like them, every day for the past month. But this time his voice held a note which had not been there before, a note of bitter bewilderment. The prospect had been bad enough. The reality was now unreeling itself some thirty feet below him in Kingsmarkham High Street and he opened the window to get a better—or a more devastating—look.

‘There must be thousands of them, all coming up from Station Road. And this is only a small percentage when you consider how many more will be using other means of transport. It’s an invasion. God, there’s a dirty-looking great big one coming now. You know what it reminds me of? That poem my Pat was doing at school. Something about a pied piper. If “pied” means what I think it does, that customer’s pied all right. You should see his coat.’

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