When Mary Jago’s abusive lover Alastair beats her up for making a donation of her bone marrow, she flees to house-sit a mansion in London’s Regents Park. Thinking she is safe at last, she is lonely, and her only company is the departing occupants’ dog, a shih-tzu called Gushi.
Against her grandmother’s advice Mary plans to meet the recipient of her bone marrow, a young man from a local housing estate called Leo Nash. She enters a into a relationship with the stranger whose very being is now linked to hers.
She notices Bean, a strange little man who works as a dog walker in an old film, and she cheerfully finds kind words for Roman Ashton, one of the area’s many “dossers,” or street people,
Mary doesn’t suspect how complex all their histories are. She is safe and sheltered from the fears of the area’s homeless as one after another is killed and then impaled on the spikes of park railings. When a crack is exposed in the edifice of Mary’s new and happy life, the death lurking beneath it may be something she will never fully comprehend
Other characters include: Roman Ashton, who takes to the streets after his wife and children die in a devastating traffic accident; and Hob, a drug addict and part time hit man.
Claudie Blakley reads Ruth Rendell’s thriller.