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Fifteen years ago, our daughter married a man whose family lived in Malvern. They re-located from London, and we made frequent visits to what was an extraordinary area, where the Malvern Hills, like those Swiss mountains in Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s brilliant The Pledge bear down on the population, creating the unnerving sense of being in a grave. It was this claustrophobic feeling which triggered the beginnings of my very dark narrative. Also, the number of elderly people and retirement homes, where carers work. Where the old and frail are vulnerable…

Having attended school and Art College in Manchester, I knew of its dodgier suburbs and this is where Frankie Holt, a caring carer with her strange, ‘new-born’ doll, starts out. Having been abandoned by her wealthy mother, she lives in luxury with her equally elderly sister in a large, valuable house in Malvern. Little do they know that grown-up Frankie, who’s already committed a cruel crime against her adoptive parent’s own daughter, is on her way. To inveigle herself into their comfortable lives, with just one thing in mind. Revenge.

But who can stop her? Who will match her cunning? Step forward young, wannabe cop, Martin Webb, who’s had his own share of tragedy. But will his powers of investigation be enough to hamper Frankie’s plan, or will his own life and longed-for future hang in the balance?

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