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The bestselling inspiration for the chilling movie starring Patty McCormack and Nancy Kelly.

What happens to ordinary families into whose midst a child serial killer is born? This spine-tingling tale investigates a mother's concerned suspicion surrounding several mysterious accidental deaths that all connect back to her eight-year-old daughter, Rhoda. Tremendously impacting the thriller genre, this masterpiece of suspense generated a whole crop of creepy kids, and it's as chilling, intelligent, and timely as ever before.

Originally published in 1954, this National Book Award-nominated classic was adapted into film in 1956.

With a new foreword.

Vintage Movie Classics spotlights classic films that have stood the test of time, now rediscovered through the publication of the novels on which they were based.


"The Bad Seed is a novel of suspense and mounting horror, which the reader . . . will enjoy as the work of one of the most satisfying of American novelists." —Chicago Tribune "Dark, original, ultimately appalling . . . a straightforward, technically accomplished story of suspense. . . . This is a novel bound to arouse strong responses, to generate vehement discussion, and so not easily to be forgotten." —New York Herald Tribune "An impeccable tale of pure evil." —Atlantic Monthly "William March knows where human fears and secrets are buried. . . . Nowhere is this gift better displayed than in The Bad Seed—the portrayal of a coldly evil, murderous child and what she does to both victims and family. In the author's hands this is adequate material for an absolutely first class novel of moral bewilderments and responsibilities nearest the heart of our decade." —The New York Times  "The Bad Seed is terrifyingly good, not only because its theme is worked out so powerfully, but because every character is convincing. One has to believe that these appalling things took place exactly as the author says they did." —The Spectator (UK) "William March is still the unrecognized genius of our time." —Alistair Cooke

Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback


    February 15, 2015

    Vintage USA

    224 pages

    RRP $24.99

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