An Otto Penzler Book
Sixteen-year-old Katya Spivak is walking with her two summer babysitting charges in Bayhead Harbor, New Jersey, when she’s approached by silver-haired courtly Marcus Kidder—a local resident of some renown. At first his interest in Katya seems innocent, even as Katya’s interest in him seems precociously manipulative. His lovely oceanside home, the children’s books he has written, his classical music, and his lavish presents to her—Mr. Kidder’s life contrasts starkly with Katya’s working-class—and marginally criminal—family background. By almost imperceptible degrees, the relationship between Katya and the gentlemanly Marcus Kidder changes, and posing for him isn’t the romantic endeavor it had seemed. What does this mysterious rich man really want from Katya, who is young enough to be his granddaughter? And what will he risk to get it?
In the tradition of Oates’s classic novella Beasts, A Fair Maiden is an unsettling, ambiguous tale of mounting suspense and gradually unfolding horror.