In case you've forgotten, Ruth Rendell is easily the equivalent of Patricia Highsmith -- a belle dame sans merci who can be amusing and unpleasant at the same time and there's no telling what will happen to poor Gray Lanceton, whose finances have totally collapsed along with his affair with a young married woman who would have liked him to dispose of her husband. Instead, he's left to brood alone in a hovel, to be called to the bedside of his mother in France, to take care of a friend's dog who is also in a terminal condition, and to be thoroughly taken in. . . the custody of the police. As good a book as she's done and it could hardly be better.