Whatever Zanny Moncrief wants, Zanny gets, even if she has to kill for it. This bitter troth is recognized by Clare and Graham, her horrified parents, and by tough, sharp six-year-old Dolly Morton, wartime evacuee from Birmingham, sent to the charitable Moncriefs for safety from the bombing--along with four-year-old brother Willie, carefully drowned by six-year-old Zanny to retrieve possession of Monkey, her dearly loved toy. With this beginning, and a second death on the heels of the first, the author charts the course of Zanny's life as she and Dolly are sent to a convent school and grow to womanhood, while all the time the Moncriefs are trying to smother the knowledge that they've bred a monster and hope all will be well. Of course it won't be, but the tension-filled twists and turns that follow the murder of Bridget O'Hare, lover of Murphy, the convent's muscular gardener, are best left to the reader to explore. Gill's work has always transcended mediocrity (Seminar for Murder, etc.), and this is her best by far--taut, polished and irresistible.