At first I wasn't sure whether the social commentary was a conscious effort to make readers aware of such blatant racism, sneering upon the lower classes and an almost misogynistic attitude towards women.Unfortunately it just seems to be the subconsciously ingrained and antiquitated views of the author streaming through into the plot.The word racist was bandied around a lot and people of a certain class or race were identified via their colour rather than any other aspect of their character or life. Thinking and referring to certain things as racist, when perhaps most wouldn't associate it with the subject matter, often make the person referring to it seem to be racist.Case in point. Wexford sees a Congolese woman of low social status turn up at the funeral and is surprised to see her there. He immediately reproves himself for that rascist thought.Say what?Scenes like those made me wonder if Rendell was trying to appear more sensitive to issues that have arisen due to her writin. Her books are written as if society were in a continuous 1950's time loop.It is a sad turn of events when a high ranking policeman believes there can be no other logical conclusion other than the scenario that some person would decide to murder a vicar on a whim, from one day to the next, because she happens to be non-white.I was also disappointed by the fat and ugly women comments. Apparently only the pretty and thin are worthy of certain men and attention.Within all that often appalling social commentary were the remnants of a murder story with a main character who is treated by Burden like a troublesome child.I think it is time Wexford retired for good.I received a copy of this book via Netgalley.