When Ismay thinks of that terrible day, and she often does, she remembers Heather coming down the stairs, her dress wet, her face as still and white as a porcelain mask. Sometimes the memories return in a dream: climbing the stairs, following her dripping-wet sister to the upstairs bathroom. But when Heather opens the door, they are standing in a marble chamber on the edge of a glassy lake. Ismay watches as a white thing floats toward them, its face submerged. She looks into the water and sees her stepfather Guy's face, his lifeless, frightened eyes, staring up at her.
Now, nine years after Guy was found dead in the bathtub, she and Heather still live in their childhood home, and to this day, the two sisters never talk about what happened. Although Ismay finds herself feeling intensely protective of her little sister and of the secret they share, their lives move placidly, even happily, forward. It seems as if the mysterious death of their stepfather is behind them. But when Heather becomes seriously involved with a man for the first time, Ismay's long-repressed memories can no longer be ignored. With painful inevitability, the surprising truth will emerge, whether Ismay wants it to or not.
©2007 Ruth Rendell; (P)2007 Books on Tape