cover image The Tree of Hands

The Tree of Hands

Ruth Rendell. Fawcett Books, $7.5 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-345-31200-6

Mrs. Archdale, who is recovering from mental illness, visits her daughter Benet, a young, successful London author, and grandson James. Across town, Barry Mahon devotes himself to pleasing Carol Stratfordwho has a slew of other boyfriendsand takes care of her neglected son Jason. When Jason is kidnapped, the police accuse Barry of the crime. More tragedies occur after Mrs. Archdale commits a deranged act, which establishes a connection between Benet and Carol. The ending of this ""major triumph'' leaves the reader ``breathless,'' PW noted. (March)