'I think you know who killed your stepfather', said Wexford. So begins this scintillating collection of long and short stories by Ruth Rendell. It was clear both to Wexford and Burden that Tom Peterlee was not killed for 360 pounds, but various people would have liked them to think he was . . . It is a case which reminds the Chief Inspector that there is only a thin line dividing the cop from the criminal. The criminal impulse may be present in the most routine or intimate situation.
In the second story, Browning's poem 'Porhiria's Locer' is the inspiration for murderous passion. In Shreds and Slivers , the accidental discovery of Amanita phalloides (a poisonous mushroom) leads to a game of Russian Roulette in a supermarket.
The book ends with The Strawberry Tree, a disturbingly evocative novella-length tale of lost innocence, set on the island of Majorca. It is a triumphant conclusion to a collection of stories that linger in the mind.