I would have sworn (or at least, strongly suggested) that this book was written before the magisterial A Judgement in Stone, but it turns out that it was actually published immediately afterwards. Oops.
Still, on the whole I thought it was a decidedly lesser book. Its plot arises out out of a rather more commonplace inversion of Judgement
, which rather famously begins with the astonishing opening sentence "Eunice Parchman killed the Coverdale family because she could not read or write." Alan Groombridge steals £3000 because he does
read, an infinitely more comprehensible motive, especially to a reader. Of course it all goes terribly wrong, and of course the intersection of the various players in the unfolding clusterfuck is drawn with detail and psychological precision towards the inevitable tragic ending, but these are all things we expect as a matter of course from a Rendell book and so take for granted. *g*