Author(s): Ruth Rendell
In a gloomy cellar, the figure of a beautiful, pale woman makes no move when the man advances on her from the shadows, puts his hands around her neck and strangles her. Arthur Johnson is a mild-mannered, shy man who has never known how to talk to women. His resulting loneliness has twisted his yearning for love and respect into a carefully constructed predilection for violence and control. On the floor below him, Anthony Johnson, a scholar studying psychopathic personalities is about to stumble - quite literally - upon one of Arthur's many secrets.