Summary

Grace and Andrew Easton share the house theyve inherited from their grandmother and live there peaceably until Andrew brings home a new boyfriend, James, whose caustic comments turn the atmosphere sour. Even as James starts coming apart after he and Andrew witness a friends murder, Grace begins reading a lost 1951 novel called The Childs Child whose setting and protagonists uncannily echo her own situation. Diamond Dagger winner Vine punctures us again.


From “unequivocally the most brilliant mystery writer of our time” (Patricia Cornwell), a new novel from Ruth Rendell writing as Barbara Vine, about a brother and sister involved with the same man in contemporary London.

When their grandmother dies, Grace and Andrew Easton inherit her sprawling, book-filled London home, Dinmont House. Rather than sell it, the adult siblings move in together, splitting the numerous bedrooms and studies. The arrangement is unusual, but ideal for the affectionate pair—until the day Andrew brings home a new boyfriend. A devilishly handsome novelist, James Derain resembles Cary Grant, but his strident comments about Grace’s doctoral thesis soon puncture the house’s idyllic atmosphere. When he and Andrew witness their friend’s murder outside a London nightclub, James begins to unravel, and what happens next will change the lives of everyone in the house.

     Just as turmoil sets in at Dinmont House, Grace escapes into reading a manuscript—a long-lost novel from 1951 calledThe Child’s Child—never published, due to its frank depictions of an unwed mother and a homosexual relationship. The book is the story of two siblings born a few years after World War One. This brother and sister, John and Maud, mirror the present-day Andrew and Grace: a homosexual brother and a sister carrying an illegitimate child. Acts of violence and sex will reverberate through their stories.

    The Child’s Childis an ingenious novel-within-a-novel about family, betrayal, and disgrace. A master of psychological suspense, Ruth Rendell, writing as Barbara Vine, takes us where violence and social taboos collide. She shows how society’s treatment of those it once considered undesirable has changed—and how sometimes it hasn’t.