A Ruth Rendell mystery, first published in 1979 and shortlisted for the Edgar Allan Poe Award for best crime novel in 1980.
Alan Groombridge is trapped. Husband to a woman he doesn't like, father to two children he never wanted, and manager of a tiny branch of the Anglian-Victoria bank, he is doomed to a life of domestic boredom and tedious routine. All that keeps him afloat is his one fantasy: stealing enough of the bank's money to allow him just one year of freedom - one year in which to live a different sort of life.
But one day the bank is robbed, the manager and cashier disappear and what was once a place of dull and dreary repetition becomes the scene of a brutal, chilling nightmare that might never end...
A fine novel of suspense
Rendell’s psychological insights are so absorbing, it’s easy to forget what a superb plotter she is
Ruth Rendell's books are not only whodunits but whydunits, uncovering the motive roots of murder
Ruth Rendell has quite simply transformed the genre of crime writing. She displays her peerless skill in blending the mundane, commonplace aspects of life with the potent murky impulses of desire and greed, obsession and fear
Ruth Rendell is not only the finest crime novelist there is, but one of the finest novelists writing in the English language