Unable to forgive herself for the death of her two-year-old son Bobby in a car accident, Menley Nichols' marriage to Adam starts to fall apart- until the birth of their daughter Hannah.
Determined to rebuild a life together around their precious baby, Menley and Adam decide to rent a house on Cape Cod for a month, confidant that the tranquility of the place will be ideal for Menley and little Hannah. But the peace they crave is disturbed when strange things start to happen- incidents which make Menley relive the horror of the accident in which she lost Bobby. . . incidents which make her fear for Hannah. And step by step, Menley and Adam are drawn into a dark and sinister web of events whcih threatens their marriage, their child and ultimately Menley's sanity.
A tinge of the supernatural flavors the latest entry from our leading practitioner of the damsel-in-distress school of suspense. Just what is the mysterious presence that seems to haunt Menley Nichols and baby Hannah in their spectacular rented Cape Cod mansion? Menley is still trying to recover from the horror of her two-year-old son Bobby's death on the railroad crossing. Lawyer husband Adam is too busy dashing to and from New York, and defending a local hunk suspected of doing away with his wealthy bride, to be much help. And so the presence moves in on Menley, Rebecca style, with eerie middle-of-the-night sound effects and rocking cradles. As always with Clark, there are several plots going on at once, which are miraculously blended and resolved in the finale; people to watch out for here include a pretty waitress in a local inn and a real estate lady who is an old flame of Adam's. Clark opens herself to charges of excessive authorial legerdemain by employing many narrative points of view, including those of at least two guilty parties (without ever offering a clue as to their guilt), but that's a quibble. The denouement is reasonably pulse-pounding, if a little strained. All in all, it's a reliable enough outing for the countless Clark aficionados, though it seems, perhaps in sync with its historic setting, rather more old-fashioned than usual. 750,000 first printing; Literary Guild main selection; S & S audio.