When Lizzie and Bell meet for tea after nearly two decades apart, the topic of conversation is murder one that Bell herself committed. When Elizabeth Vetch spots Bell for the first time in seventeen years, she chases her down in order to learn why her old friend committed a terrible murder all those years ago. Bell has been in prison ever since the mysterious events that took place at the House of Stairs, a London mansion full of over-privileged, overstuffed, and somewhat sinister boarders, landed her there. Now it s up to Lizzie to put together the pieces of her friend s and her own fateful past. As the story behind Bell s crime unfolds, master of suspense Barbara Vine keeps listeners guessing at the victim and the motive, letting the sword of Damocles hang over the heads of a fascinating and richly drawn cast of characters.