RUTH Rendell is a familiar name thanks to numerous peak time TV adaptations of her books.

Inspector Wexford, for example, is one of her most popular characters. As a result, Rendell’s name has become almost as synonymous with the murder mystery genre as that of Agatha Christie.

A Judgement in Stone is a fine murder thriller set back when the cassette recorders was the latest thing in modern technology and police investigations were rather less sophisticated than nowadays.

So, can a stage adaptation of a novel written in the 1970s still be relevant today?

I think so, given the play's two main themes; social class and what motivates people to commit murder.

When the solidly working class Eunice Parchman (brilliantly played by Sophie Ward) is offered the job of housekeeper at the Suffolk country home of the Coverdale family, there is a clash of different worlds.

Look no further than the recent Grenfell Tower disaster for evidence that the social divide explored in A Judgement in Stone is still relevant.

The play also considers what motivates people to commit atrocities such as murder, another issue that is still very much in the public consciousness as we try vainly to comprehend recent events.

There is then, a bit more to A Judgement in Stone than you might immediately think.

The play, adapted for the stage by Simon Brett and Antony Lampard, tells Rendell's story through a series of well-crafted flashbacks.

The cast execute these transitions seamlessly, directed by Roy Marsden (best known for his TV role as Detective Inspector Dalgliesh). Another well-known name, that of Andrew Lancel (the villainous Frank Foster in Coronation Street) plays the role of Detective Superintendent Vetch.

Tickets for A Judgement in Stone are available here.

It runs at Wolverhampton's wonderful Grand Theatre until Saturday (July 8).