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Publisher's Summary

When Ismay thinks of that terrible day, and she often does, she remembers Heather coming down the stairs, her dress wet, her face as still and white as a porcelain mask. Sometimes the memories return in a dream: climbing the stairs, following her dripping-wet sister to the upstairs bathroom. But when Heather opens the door, they are standing in a marble chamber on the edge of a glassy lake. Ismay watches as a white thing floats toward them, its face submerged. She looks into the water and sees her stepfather Guy's face, his lifeless, frightened eyes, staring up at her.

Now, nine years after Guy was found dead in the bathtub, she and Heather still live in their childhood home, and to this day, the two sisters never talk about what happened. Although Ismay finds herself feeling intensely protective of her little sister and of the secret they share, their lives move placidly, even happily, forward. It seems as if the mysterious death of their stepfather is behind them. But when Heather becomes seriously involved with a man for the first time, Ismay's long-repressed memories can no longer be ignored. With painful inevitability, the surprising truth will emerge, whether Ismay wants it to or not.

©2007 Ruth Rendell; (P)2007 Books on Tape

Critic Reviews

"The plot twists in this electrifying read reach all the way to the last page." (Publishers Weekly)
"Combining potent imagery and exquisite plotting, Rendell twists the knife of suspense in a wonderfully excruciating way." (Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

One of Her Best

More like a Barbara Vine book (that's good!), it is absolutely terrific, gripping, suspenseful, with wonderful characters. I'm a Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine fan. Obviously the previous reviewer found out he/she is not. For fans, my favorite is still The Tree of Hands. Because there are strong elements of hilarity. This is more sombre, but it still has a lot of sidelong winks in it for a perceptive reader. L.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Marian
  • North Bonneville, WA, USA
  • 05-22-10

Not Vine's best but still an excellent novel

First, the reader is excellent. Second, the story is interesting. I'm a Barbara Vine fan. I know to expect strangeness to permeate every page. And generally I love her characters' eccentricities. However, I found that I never felt attached to any of the characters in this novel. So it dragged for me. The story lines in this novel were a bit confusing in the audio version, because the audio is edited to allow no pauses.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Good Listen

This story was a little slow getting started, but once I grew accustomed to the style (London "English"), it was quite entertaining.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Kelly
  • springtown, TX, USA
  • 11-03-07

Horrible

This book was aweful! The main character was a whinebag. I can't believe I actually listened to the entire thing!

3 of 9 people found this review helpful