A friend who glanced at this book sniffed, "I don't know how you can read those English who-killed-the-vicar-in-the-library things, I don't have the patience", and I had to laugh because this is just about as opposite a novel as you can get. This book has three themes, the disappearance of two young women; an elderly pedophile released from prison; and a severely abused housewife. Ms. Rendell writes so well, detailing the hellish life of the housewife in stomach-roiling detail. She also includes some of her deliciously psychotic character studies, and of course all this is seen through the eyes of dear familiar Insp. Wexford. There is a trace of humor in this book involving the inhabitants of a lowish class housing development picketing the old reprobate's apartment, singing "Stand By Your Kids" to the tune of "Stand By Your Man", and similar silliness that would make Jerry Springer feel right at home! Sally Jesse, Maury Povich, and Jenny Jones would fit right into this modern day England, and not a vicar in sight! I am only giving it 4 stars because the stories do not tie together and they meander somewhat, this is not Ms. Rendell's usual top=notch work. Also, Ms. Rendell and Insp. Wexford are both getting up there in years, and I hope she goes on writing forever, but there are hints the refined and compassionate policeman may be getting weary of the crazy modern day world that is not only lived in England, but all over. I hope Ms. Rendell has many, many more novels in her yet and we will see her policeman back on top of the game. When she is great, words cannot express the deep emotional impact her novels have on my psyche. When she is merely good, as in "Harm Done", she is still sublime. Rather than 4 stars, let me give this a "9" on a one to ten scale. I look forward to her next books, both Wexford and non-Wexford.