Put on By Cunning

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Put on By Cunning
First edition (UK)
Author Ruth Rendell
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Series Inspector Wexford #11
Genre Crime, Mystery novel
Publisher Hutchinson (UK)
Pantheon Books (US)
Publication date
13 April 1981
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 207 pp
ISBN 0-09-144120-X
OCLC 7587626
823/.914 19
LC Class PR6068.E63 P87 1981
Preceded by A Sleeping Life
Followed by The Speaker of Mandarin

Put on by Cunning is a novel by British crime-writer Ruth Rendell. It was first published in 1981, and features her popular series protagonist Inspector Wexford. It is the 11th in the series.

The title comes from a quotation from Shakespeare's Hamlet, Act V Scene II:

"How these things came about: so shall you hear Of carnal, bloody, and unnatural acts, Of accidental judgments, casual slaughters; of deaths put on by cunning and forced cause, And, in this upshot, purposes mistook Fall'n on the inventors' heads: all this can I Truly deliver".

In the US, the novel was published under the title Death Notes.


When the esteemed flautist Sir Manuel Camargue slips on a snowy path one dark night and falls into an icy river, his death seems like an open and shut case. However, when Wexford discovers that the old man's long lost daughter has just arrived in anticipation of the reading of his will, suspicions of foul play arise...