Aged Mrs. Anderson, frail but ruggedly independent, lives alone in a few rooms of The Gables, a huge Victorian pile isolated from the nearest village. Kevin Timms, a young psychopath who's been thrown out by his newly married aunt, has found a secret second home in one of The Gables' unused rooms. So, when, in a fit of rage and frustration, he kills a village girl (who resists his untender advances), The Gables becomes his refuge and Mrs. Anderson his prisoner. And interlaced with their lives is that of Muriel Dean, a warmhearted do-gooder whose placid marriage is due for a shock and who becomes Mrs. A.'s deliverance. Much here works in the powerful Night Must Fall tradition: the rising terror in the midst of the mundane; vivid characters. But the contest of wills and wits between Mrs. A. and Timms, with undercurrents of pity (hers) and dependence (his), is never fully developed and ends inconclusively--as tension ebbs away to an anticlimactic finish. Flawed, then, but worth a try for the psychological-suspense audience.