From a New York Times–bestselling author: A novelist pieces together the murderous past of an old friend—“smoldering suspense . . . literally unputdownable” (Time Out).
When writer Lizzie Vetch has tea with her old friend, Bell Sanger, the women are reunited for the first time in nearly two decades. Limbo years, Lizzie calls them, full of “all the terrible things” that passed between them. Specifically, a murder for which Bell served time, and has only recently been released from prison. Seemingly out of kindness, Lizzie agrees to let Bell move back into the House of Stairs, the five-story Notting Hill boardinghouse where, seventeen years ago, a dreadful crime was committed.
Maybe here, among the other odd residents, Lizzie can help pull Bell’s life together again. But is it compassion or something else? Because the more Lizzie’s long-suppressed memories are stirred, the more her motives for keeping Bell close are called into question. As for Bell, she has her own reasons for moving back into the House of Stairs with Lizzie. It’s not to put the past behind them. It’s to confront it, step by step.
“Revealed in baleful flashbacks, a chilly obsession takes shape, a convicted murderess and a cruel design sidle out of the shadows” (The Observer) in Edgar Award winner Ruth Rendell’s “compelling and disturbing” psychological thriller (The Sunday Times).