When Stuart Font decides to throw a house-warming party in his new flat, he invites all the people in his building and, after some deliberation, even includes the unpleasant caretaker and his wife.
They are a disparate group of people, each with their individual Rendellian psychoses and potential for violence. There are a few other genuine friends on the list, but he definitely does not want to include his girlfriend, Claudia, as that might involve asking her husband. The party will be one everyone remembers. But not for the right reasons. Living opposite, in reclusive isolation, is a beautiful young Asian woman, christened Tigerlily by Stuart.
As though from some strange urban fairytale, she emerges to exert a terrible spell on Stuart and his guests.
Mr and Mrs Font, the worried parents, will soon have even more cause for concern about their handsome but hopelessly naive son. Darkly humorous and piercingly observant of human behaviour, Ruth Rendell has created another compelling fable of our lives and crimes.