Edgar Award Finalist: In London, a missing child unites three mothers in grief, madness, and murder.
When Benet Archdale was a young girl in North London, her mother, Mopsa, made her nervous. The woman was unsound, and posed ever-present dangers. Yet Benet understood her sickness and forgave her threats. In pursuit of a relatively sane life as a novelist and loving single parent, Benet has since kept Mopsa at a distance. But it’s not only the sudden death of Benet’s two-year-old son that shakes her safe world. It’s the past. Mopsa has returned to be at her inconsolable daughter’s side. Nurturing, rational, and seemingly cured, Mopsa is going to do everything she can to ease Benet’s grief.
Then, on the other side of town, the child of a barmaid has gone missing. Authorities fear the search can’t end well. As Benet and Mopsa are drawn into the disappearance, the secrets, lies, and desperation of three mothers will converge—by chance and by design. For them, it’s a crime that is at once a delusion, an escape, and a nightmare.
“No one surpasses Ruth Rendell when it comes to stories of obsession, instability, and malignant coincidence,” says Stephen King of this New York Times–bestselling author, and all three come into play in this novel, a winner of the Crime Writers’ Association Silver Dagger Award. A classic of psychological suspense, The Tree of Hands was adapted twice for the screen: first in 1989, as Innocent Victim starring Lauren Bacall and Helen Shaver; then again in 2001, for the French film Alias Betty.