'I think you know who killed your stepfather', said Wexford, and so begins this scintillating collection of long and short stories by the world's best living crime writer, Ruth Rendell.
It was clear both to Wexford and Burden that Tom Peterlee was not killed for GBP360, but various people would have liked them to believe the lie.
It is a case which reminds the Chief Inspector that there is only a thin line dividing the policeman from the criminal.
The criminal impulse may be present in the most routine or intimate situation.
The book ends with The Strawberry Tree, a disturbingly evocative novella-length tale of lost innocence, set on the island of Majorca.
It is a triumphant conclusion to a collection of horror stories that linger in the mind.