Most of the 20 episodes of Inspector Wexford TV series 1 to 6 aired between 1987 to 1992. They are adapted from the 23 books written by Ruth Rendell with Wexford as the main protagonist.
I enjoyed watching the series. Ruth Rendell spins complicated yarns of mystery that keep me guessing. George Baker and Christopher Ravenscroft, who portrayed Chief Inspector Wexford and Inspector Mike Burden respectively, had great chemistry.
Inspector Wexford TV Playlist
This playlist is organized according to the publication dates of the books and stories and not the broadcast dates of the television series.
1. From Doon With Death
Published in 1964. This was Ruth Rendell’s first Inspector Wexford story. Broadcasted as part of Series 5 in 1991.
Why was an ordinary housewife murdered and dumped in a field? Inspector Wexford was intrigued when he found a number of expensive antique books all inscribed ‘From Doon to Minna’ in her possessions. Who was Doon? Was Margaret Minna? Are these what got her killed?
2. A New Lease of Death
Published in 1967. Broadcasted in 1991 Series 5.
Wexford’s first-ever successful murder case came back to haunt him when a vicar started to rake up the past. Was the man hanged on Wexford’s evidence actually innocent?
3. Wolf to the Slaughter
Published in 1967. Broadcasted in 1987 Series 1. The first Wexford story to be adapted for television.
The story started with an anonymous letter to the police from a witness to a murder. The victim was a beautiful promiscuous woman. The police found a messed up love-nest with a carpet soaked in human blood. Had a murder occurred? Who was the victim? What was the motive? Inspector Wexford and Burden had to unravel all the knots to arrive at the truth.
4. The Best Man to Die
Published in 1969. Broadcasted in 1990 Series 4.
A man was killed at a stag party. He was Charlie Hatton, the best man of the bridegroom and his death was the first in a string of murders that seem to be about cheating husbands, loose women, and gangsters. Wexford joined forces with the bridegroom to try and solve this mystery.
5. A Guilty Thing Surprised
Published in 1970. Broadcasted in 1988 Series 2 Episode 1.
A nature-loving woman, Elizabeth Nightingale, was murdered on one of her nightly walks through the woods around Myfleet Manor. Did the loving husband have anything to do with it?
6. No More Dying Then
Published in 1971. Broadcasted in 1989 Series 3 Episode 1
A five-year-old boy called John Lawrence went missing. Mad, taunting letters began to arrive, involving another child, Stella Rivers, who vanished earlier. Were the two disappearances connected? Where was the boy? And the girl?
7. Murder Being Once Done
Published in 1972. Broadcasted in 1991 Series 5.
Wexford collapsed from overwork and was put on a month’s leave. Instead of resting though, he decided to go and visit Mike Burden, who was seconded to London. In London, Wexford’s dreams had drawn him towards Mike’s case of a young murdered girl left lying in a vault and a strong connection to the baby adoption business.
8. Some Lie and Some Die
Published in 1973. Broadcasted in 1990 Series 4 Episode 1.
A disfigured body of a girl attending the Kingsmarkham Rock Festival was found in a nearby quarry. Wexford investigates the links between a charismatic singer and a young woman gone bad.
9. Shake Hands Forever
Published in 1975. Broadcasted in 1988 Series 2.
Angela Hathall was murdered, with seemingly no motive and no suspect. Wexford was sure who the murderer was but he lacked tangible evidence. His official investigation opened him to accusations of harassment. Undeterred, he embarked on his own unofficial investigation, desperate to find the proof he needed before the murderer escape justice.
10. A Sleeping Life
Published in 1978. Broadcasted in 1989 Series 3.
Wexford investigated when the dead body of a middle-aged woman was found. But there were very few clues to the woman’s life. The only clue was a wallet belonging to historical novelist Grenville West.
11. No Crying He Makes
Adapted from a short story titled Ginger and the Kingsmarkham Chalk Circle and collected in Means of Evil, published in 1979. Broadcasted in 1988 Series 2.
At Christmas, Wexford and Burden were called to the Kingsmarkham Hospital. A baby has been stolen from her pram and another baby left behind in her place, and it seems that the mother of the stolen child may also be in danger.
12. Means of Evil
Means of Evil was adapted from two Ruth Rendell short stories: Means of Evil and When the Wedding Was Over published in 1979. Broadcasted in 1991 Series 5.
Inspector Wexford was confronted with a murder in a vegetarian family and wonders how many kinds of mushrooms there were.
13. Achilles’ Heel
Adapted from a short story collected in Means of Evil published in 1979. Broadcasted in 1991 Series 5.
When Wexford and Burden went on a holiday to France together with their wives, they met an alluring English couple. Reg became transfixed by the wife and was shocked when he got back home to hear she had been kidnapped.
14. Put on by Cunning
Published in 1981. Broadcasted in 1990 Series 4.
When a world-famous flautist was murdered, Wexford wondered if his recently returned daughter had anything to do with it. He became obsessed with proving that she is an imposter, even getting permission to travel as far afield as the USA and France to do so.
15. Speaker of Mandarin
Published in 1983. Broadcasted in 1992 Series 6.
Wexford got to know a former barrister Adam Knighton and his wife Adela in Hong Kong. On return to Kingsmarkham he learnt that Adela was murdered in an apparent robbery. Burden suspected that an ex-con with a grudge against Mr. Knighton may be responsible, but drew blanks. Wexford was convinced that her death was linked to something that happened in China and interrogated the holiday party.
16. An Unkindness of Ravens
Published in 1985. Broadcasted in 1990 Series 4.
Rodney Williams disappeared and then his body was found in the woods. Wexford investigated and found more than one mystery.
17. The Veiled One
Published in 1988. Broadcasted in 1989 Series 3.
Gwen Robson, a middle-aged housewife who may have been a blackmailer, was found garroted in the car park of a suburban shopping mall. Wexford was no sooner on the case than a car bomb went off and all but killed him, putting him in hospital. This left Mike Burden with the task of solving the case, but did he go off on the wrong scent? Was Wexford’s analysis any better, though?
18. An Unwanted Woman
Adapted from 2 short stories: An Unwanted woman and Old Wives’ Tales published in 1979 and 1991 respectively. Broadcasted in 1992 Series 6.
When a 92-year old lady died, Wexford became suspicious that there was more to it than old age and began an investigation into the slightly sinister elderly retired community surrounding her.
19. Kissing the Gunner’s Daughter
Published in 1992. Broadcasted in 1992 Series 6 Episode 4.
When an off-duty Detective Sergeant Martin tried to be a hero during a bank robbery, not only did he get shot, but it also triggered a chain of events involving murders and deceit.
20. The Mouse in the Corner
Adapted from a short story titled Blood Lines published in 1996. This episode aired in 1992, 4 years before the publication of the story. Broadcasted in 1992 Series 6.
Tom Peterlee, a member of a large family who lived in three adjoining cottages, was murdered. His family members did not seem grieved. Wexford was sure that one of them was the murderer. But which one? Mike Burden had problems of his own when his daughter started dating a married man, and a series of ram-raids in Kingsmarkham added to Wexford’s problems.
I hope you find this Inspector Wexford playlist useful. The videos are readily available on Youtube but I compile them into a playlist because I like to watch series in order of either broadcasting timing or publication dates if they are book adaptations.
I want to thank the person who took the trouble of converting and uploading the VHS/DVDs.
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