The winter before he was sixteen, Pup sold his soul to the devil. He wasn't quite sure what he was going to get in exchange. For the time being, all he asked for was to be happy, and to grow a bit taller. Even though she was older than Pup, Dolly was always in awe of her brother. More and more, she wanted to believe that he had occult powers and could do anything. Magic could remove the birthmark from her face and make her normal. Magic could kill their wicked stepmother, Myra. Pup laughs when Dolly shows him an effigy of Myra- a rag doll, about fifteen inches high, with knitted nylon skin and rust-coloured wool hair. Dolly sticks it full of pins. Myra dies. With dazzling virtuosity Ruth Rendell explores a haunted world of obsession, delusions and murderous fantasy.
"Rendell's psychological insights are so absorbing, it's easy to forget what a superb plotter she is" * The Times * "Ruth Rendell's books are not only whodunits but whydunits, uncovering the motive roots of murder" * Mail on Sunday * "Ruth Rendell is surely one of the greatest novelists presently at work in our language. The extraordinary depth and accuracy of her psychological portraits is matched only by the rare inventiveness of her storytelling" * Scott Turow * "Once her characters start twisting on every-tightening tracks, their fates are brilliantly sealed, and it's never obvouis who'll be the victim or the culprit. Rendell's greatest trick is making an unforeseen outcome feel predestined" * Financial Times * "The most brilliant mystery novelist of our time" * Patricia Cornwell *