A successor to The Frightened Child, this is again a story of borderline unbalance and the intent to kill which maintains a high state of tension and fascination. With Hilda's marriage to Roger Trenton, she gets her first introduction to his parents whom she had not known; his mother, cold, moneyed, powerful; his father, Gerald, charming, protective, who had always been in close accord with his son against his wife. After an initial showdown with Mrs. Trenton, Hilda wins the older woman's respect, and with her death realizes that she has lost an ally. For Gerald, with his insidious devotion, quickly absorbs his son, leads Roger to giving up his job, breaking up his home, and rapidly perverts his life in a pattern of aimlessness. Knowing that Roger will soon be lost, Hilda takes a last stand against her father-in-law, almost loses her life... A portrayal of parental parasitism which is carried from emotional excess to physical violence, this should find receptive readers- in the mystery market as well.