Books Two and Three of Taylor's Roth trilogy (THE JUDGEMENT OF STRANGERS and THE OFFICE OF THE DEAD) can be read independently, but when read in the light of the first in the series, THE FOUR LAST THINGS, enrich the understanding of the characters whose lives intertwine over the decades and you begin to understand the psychopathology a little better.
Book Two begins in 1970 when David Byfield, a widowed parish priest, brings home a new wife, a publisher who becomes obsessed with the papers of dead poet Francis Youlgreave. Byfield neglects his adolescent daughter Rosemary who is home for the summer from boarding school and finds himself having to face terrifying truths about his past and his future.
Book Three flashes back to the idyllic 1950s when Byfield is happily married to his wife Janet. It is told from her friend Wendy Appleyard's perspective. And, it is this distance that allows you to put together the jigsaw of their lives and to begin to comprehend the seeds of what triggers sociopathic behaviour even among the most innocent.