Whatever else Ruth Rendell does or does not do, she demonstrates what might, could, would or should be said while helping the police in their inquiry. The mystery lies not so much in who did it but in who lies about doing it: who said that he didn’t do it and how did he say that he didn’t do it. Who is speaking? Who is lying?
Who lies, indeed? Well, Inspector Wexler already knows that once the media has been told, he “will get calls and no doubt e-mails from all the [i]nuts[/i] . . . We know in advance that they’ll have been seen in Rio and Jakharta and going over Niagara Falls in a barrel. . .” Note the rare use of the future perfect: “they will have been seen…” .
Children, one thirteen and one fifteen, disappeared. With their sitter. In a time of religion and heavy rains. And what the future perfect tells us about who is speaking is that such children will, in fact, not have been seen… And so we have a mystery…don’t we?