Rendell's middle period books are some of her finest. None of her books should EVER go out of print. Reading her is being drawn into a world you can see feel and touch and what's best she lets you see the inside of peoples' minds and souls. In this book, she describes Mopsa, the severly mentally ill mother of Benet, as well as any psychologist could, better even,in her portrayal of the thousand and one little quirks that make Mopsa a Monster. (which she is). The plot is gripping, but most important Rendell knows her characters inside out so you can truly understand why people do the terrible cruel stupid things they do, most importantly when they are doing them out of love or fear or greed. You wil not be sorry you read this book, if you like psychological suspense.