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In traditional fairy tales the handsome prince rescues the beautiful princess from her wicked stepmother, and the couple live happily ever after.

But in Ruth Rendell's dark and damaged contemporary universe, innocent dreams can turn into the most terrible nightmares.

Teddy Brex emerges from a loveless, isolated childhood as a handsome but autistic young man. Francine Hill, traumatised by the murder of her mother, grows into a beautiful young woman, who must endure the overprotectiveness of an increasingly obsessive stepmother.

Teddy Brex does ride to her rescue, but he is a man who has already committed two murders.

Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    August 1, 2011


    432 pages

    RRP $19.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    September 1, 2010

    Cornerstone Digital

    432 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Also by Ruth Rendell

Dark Corners
The Girl Next Door
Archie and Archie
No Man's Nightingale
The Saint Zita Society
Expectations / Lizzie's Lover / Shreds and Slivers / The Carer / Unacceptable Levels (Storycuts)
Computer Seance / Fair Exchange (Storycuts)
Blood Lines (Storycuts)
Burning End (Storycuts)
Clothes (Storycuts)
In All Honesty (Storycuts)
The Man Who Was The God of Love (Storycuts)
The Strawberry Tree (Storycuts)
Catamount / The Wink (Storycuts)
High Mysterious Union (Storycuts)
Myth / The Astronomical Scarf / Walter's Leg (Storycuts)
Piranha to Scurfy (Storycuts)
The Beach Butler / The Professional (Storycuts)
The Vault
The Copper Peacock And Other Stories
Tigerlily's Orchids
The Fever Tree And Other Stories
Some Lie And Some Die
Murder Being Once Done


Make Me
The Girl on the Train
The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-time
The Snowman
The Handmaid's Tale
After the Fire
To Kill A Mockingbird
A Gentleman in Moscow
The Golden House
Dragonfly In Amber
The Narrow Road to the Deep North
Swing Time
The Mistress
Tiger Men
The Golden Age
Fifty Shades Darker
A Long Way from Home
Don't Let Go
Uncommon Type