It was a happy accident, because it gave me the opportunity to compare the stories. This story is from Murder on the Menu, but it was first published in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine in November 1977. By 1977, nine Inspector Wexford novels had been published. One of Rendell's most well-known standalone novels, A Judgement in Stone, was published in 1977. The story that I read (review here) two weeks ago, "The Mouse in the Corner," was first published in 1991 so they were written 14 years apart.
"The Case of the Shaggy Caps" by Ruth Rendell
Wexford partners with Inspector Burden, and their relationship is one of the best parts of this series. Here is Rendell's description of the two in this story:
Wexford, getting on for sixty, was a tall, ungainly, rather ugly man who had once been fat to the point of obesity but had slimmed to gauntness for reasons of health. Nearly twenty years his junior, Burden had the slenderness of a man who has always been thin. His face was ascetic, handsome in a frosty way. The older man, who had a good wife who looked after him devotedly, nevertheless always looked as if his clothes came off the peg from the War on Want Shop, while the younger, a widower, was sartorially immaculate.
In this story, Hannah Kingman's death was the result of a fall from the balcony of a 5th floor apartment in a high rise. Wexford has been on a holiday in Italy, and Burden has been handling the case, which was initially thought to be suicide. Then Hannah's brother comes in and accuses Hannah's husband of attempting to poison her a week before her death at a dinner party. The party was attended by only four people, Hannah, her husband, the brother, and the husband's ex-girlfriend. Burden was convinced that something fishy is going on but the evidence doesn't agree.
This is another substantial and enjoyable story, where Wexford and Burden solve a mystery, although they may have trouble proving that they are right. The story is fairly long, about 28 pages in the paperback that I read. Even at that length there is not much room for characterization beyond the two investigators, who have an interesting relationship. Burden has his prejudices, and Wexford is the voice of reason.