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The winter before he was sixteen, amateur magician Pup made a Faustian pact and sold his soul to the devil. He wasn't quite sure what he was going to get in exchange. Pup's older sister, Dolly, is manically obsessed with her birthmark, believing it is responsible for her status as a social outcast. She becomes pathologically transfixed by Pup's dabbling in magic, desperate to believe he has occult powers that can cure her disfigurement, improve their lives, and kill their stepmother. As Dolly's obsession grows, a young mentally disturbed Irishman lurks just around the corner, inseparable from his sharpened set of knives...In this intense and deeply disturbing vel, Ruth Rendell explores a haunted world of obsession, delusions and murderous fantasy, with dazzling virtuosity.
Ruth Rendell is the Queen of British crime writing. The author of over 50 novels, she has won many significant crime fiction awards. Her first novel, From Doon With Death, appeared in 1964, and since then her reputation and readership have grown steadily with each new book. She has received major awards for her work; three Edgars from the Mystery Writers of America; the Crime Writers' Gold Dagger Award for 1976's best crime novel, A Demon in My View; the Arts Council National Book Award for Genre Fiction in 1981 for The Lake of Darkness; the Crime Writer's Gold Dagger Award for 1986's best crime book for Live Flesh; in 1987 the Crime Writer's Gold Dagger Award for A Fatal Inversion and in 1991 the same award for King Solomon's Carpet, both written under the pseudonym Barbara Vine; the Sunday Times Literary Award in 1990; and in 1991 the Crime Writer's Cartier Diamond Award for outstanding contribution to the crime fiction genre. Her books are translated into 21 languages. In 1996 she was awarded the CBE and in 1997 became a Life Peer.