Straw Dogs by Gordon Williams
In the same year that Man first flew to the moon and the last American soldier left Vietnam there were still corners of England where lived men and women who had never travelled more than fifteen miles from their own homes. There was a dark side to this corner of England ...American academic George Magruder and his English wife Louise have left the city streets of Philadelphia in search of a little tranquility. At Louise's wishes, they have rented an isolated stone house in England and are spending an icy winter in the remote Cornish village of Dando. But their arrival is greeted with suspicion - and hostility. Their first shock comes when their little daughter Karen stumbles across an odd object in the snow. Discovering first a piece of tabby fur, and then a leg, she finds their pet cat: strangled. Something is seriously amiss. And when Henry Niles, a convicted child murderer, escapes across the moor and a local girl goes missing, the Magruders become the unwitting targets of a primitive and brutal violence. STRAW DOGS is a disturbing evocation of how an insular, xenophobic society can react to an outsider. It is also a shocking expolration of the violence at the heart of even the most mild-mannered of men, asking the question: how far will a man go to protect his family and his home?