Wexford copes with two abductions of teen-aged girls, the disappearance of a 3 year old from her bedroom, and the return of a paroled pedophile to the town.



(novel), (screenplay)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Christopher Ravenscroft ...
Louie Ramsay ...
Diane Keen ...
Stephen Devenish
Fay Devenish
Tommy Smith
Sian Webber ...
Jane Andrews
Colin Crowne
Annette Bentley ...
Debbie Crowne
Scarlett Jenkins ...
Sanchia Devenish
Nick Robinson ...
Edward Devenish
Elliot Henderson-Boyle ...
Robert Devenish
Matthew Mills ...
Lizzie Crowne


DCI Reg Wexford and DI Mike Burden have their hands full. A teenage girl disappears for three days after having accepted a lift from a middle-aged woman. She is apparently unharmed but her parents are convinced she must have been molested. Then a second girl disappears under virtually the same circumstances. At the same time, a 3 year-old disappears from her bedroom just as a 72 year-old pedophile is released into the community. The police are satisfied that he had nothing to do with her abduction, but that doesn't prevent parents in the working class community from assuming that he isn't. Two murders however keep them busy as they try to decipher all of the information they are acquiring. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

11 October 2000 (UK)  »

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Did You Know?


Det. Chief Insp. Reg Wexford: Stephen Devenish is the most faithful husband on earth. He loves his wife - she's the one woman he can beat to a pulp.
See more »


Follows Ruth Rendell Mysteries: The Veiled One (1989) See more »

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User Reviews

A Rather Cursory Adaptation
19 July 2008 | by (Seattle, Washington) – See all my reviews

This last installment in the Inspector Wexford series is enjoyable enough on its own merits, but falls far short of the depth and texture of the novel. The entire film runs about 100 minutes; the previous two, SIMISOLA and ROAD RAGE, were shown in three parts totalling 150 minutes. Not only is a lot left out of the story, but it feels condensed and shows the marks of heavy editing. It's possible that the video version contains an incomplete cut; it certainly looks that way.

George Baker turns in his usual stalwart performance as Inspector Wexford. In this story, for the first time, Wexford is cantankerous, cranky and crotchety, blowing his stack at subordinates (including his close friend and assistant, Mike Burden). This does not occur in the novel, and is very out of character for Wexford. However, the story, which deals primarily with a domestic violence situation, in which Wexford is unable to interfere as the victim will not bring charges, accounts perhaps for his atypical behavior.

Rendell's novel has been criticized by fans for not offering a truly satisfying mystery, but rather a series of two or three thematically related stories that don't fit together in a satisfying whole. The film does follow the book closely enough to be open to the same complaint; it's ultimately more a novel of contemporary mores than a genuine mystery.

I've read the book twice and enjoyed it even more the second time through, so while the criticism is legitimate the book is still a terrific read, with a wealth of fascinating characters and some fascinating ideas. Enough of this comes through in the film to make it worth watching, but it's not as good as previous entries in the series. Wexford fans will want to see it, but others may find it less than engrossing.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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