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Faith Severn, who grew up visiting her aunts Vera and Eden in rural England during the air raid bombings of World War II, is the narrator of this psychologically dark, winding tale about family betrayal and generational secrets written by Ruth Rendell under her pseudonym Barbara Vine in 1986. Her whole adult life, Faith has lived knowing that murder has affected her family in unshakable, unspoken ways: decades before, Vera was convicted and hanged for murdering her younger sister, Eden—and the reason she did it has eluded everyone, including Faith’s parents and cousins, who carry on as though forcing themselves to forget. When a journalist prompts Faith to revisit her hazy memories of her relatives, she tries to understand what led to such an incomprehensible act. Rendell, who left an indelible mark on the mystery genre in the 20th century, writing both under her pen name and her real name, carefully crafts Faith’s journey as she uncovers the truth. A Dark-Adapted Eye, which won an Edgar Award in 1987 and was adapted for a two-part BBC series, is a slowly unfurling whydunit examining familial violence. —Mahita Gajanan

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