2014 год. Arthur Johnson doesn't look like a murderous psychopath; he is a mild-mannered man who has never known how to talk to women. Years of loneliness has warped his mind, turning his desire for a woman's love and respect into a pathological need for carefully controlled violence. Locked in the cellar of his building is the perfect willing victim, a woman who can be murdered over and over again, a woman who waits for Arthur every night... When a young scholar of psychopathic personalities moves in downstairs and Arthur's mannequin disappears, where will he turn to satisfy his urgent craving for violence? The crime novel that won Rendell the first of her six Gold Dagger awards, this is a haunting insight into the mind of a pathological criminal.