A thought provoking biography of what at the time was considered to be an evil crime of unparalleled horror. The author gets well into the mind of a particularly complex human being, something a lot of clever and obviously not so clever psychiatrists and social workers had tried to do during all her years in captivity. One finds it very hard to believe, even in the late 60's, that more background wasn't checked into and discovery made of how much influence Mary Bell's mother, Betty's upbringing had on her. Although Mary Bell does not for a very long period of the book come across as a particularly nice person, one wonders how any of us would have coped with so much mental and sexual abuse before the age of 11. The most worrying aspect of the book is the fact that even today, we have not progressed dramatically in how we deal with child offenders, as illustrated by the infamous Jamie Bulger case. Not easy, or should I say, not pleasant reading but essential if we are to learn anything from Mary Bell's case. Much praise should be given to Gitta Sereny for sticking with Mary for all these years and at least showing that no matter what we all thought at the time, Mary Bell was maybe not as evil as everybody thought.