Few people under the age of seventeen have read the whole of Virgil in Latin and witnessed two murders. But Liza Beck is no ordinary teenager. She has grown up alone with her mother, Eve, in the remote gatekeeper's cottage of magnificent Shrove House. Here Liza has been nourished by books and her mother's obsessive love, carefully shielded from the "contamination" of the outside world. No newpapers, no TV, no phone, no car, no school.
Liza knows perfectly well she can never leave Shrove House, or her mother, to go with the handsome young drifter who tends the garden. Then one day the police come and take Eve away forever--and now Sean Holford will find out, little by little, all about Liza's past and her mother's fierce, mysterious claim to Shrove House. And to his growing horror, he'll learn about all the men who came there-and never left alive.
"It's hard to imagine anyone who could do more justice to a psychopath than Ruth Rendell."
-The Globe and Mail
"One of the greatest novelists presently at work in our language."
"A diabolically subtle writer."
-The New York Times Book Review