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, 400 deaths put on by cunning and forced cause, And, in this upshot, purposes mistook Fall'n on the inventors' reads: all this can I Truly deliver".
(In the US, the novel was published under the title Death Notes.)
An old man, esteemed Flautist Sir Manuel Camargue, dies when he loses his foothold in the snow on a dark night, slipping into the water and then under the ice. It appears to be an open-and-shut case. But, with a recently appeared long-lostdaughter, and a very full will, Wexford thinks a little more investigating is in order.