When the novel begins, Verity is a mysterious figure. A very successful novelist, she’s famous for writing from the perspective of the villain in all her works. This fact becomes important later in the novel, although it’s also one of the first that the reader learns. When Lowen and Jeremy Crawford meet for the first time, Verity has recently been seriously hurt in a car accident. Though she’s alive, she’s seemingly trapped in a semi-comatose state. Her character is revealed in fits and starts throughout the novel, as chapters from her chilling autobiography So Be It intersperse themselves into Lowen’s first-person narration. Although the bulk of Verity’s presence in the novel happens in these chapters, which occur out of the book’s chronology, she’s as important to the narrative as any of the characters who regularly speak and interact in the present. The ghost of her presence and her influence haunt Lowen and Jeremy as they attempt to tie up her publishing obligations and navigate their own grief and fear. 

Verity is depicted as being very clever, very manipulative, and absolutely not above dirty dealings to get what she wants out of a situation. In her autobiography, she makes it seem as though every interaction in her life were intended to serve a specific purpose for her benefit. She expresses a narcissistic fear of losing her husband's sexual attention after she has children, and details frighteningly cool–headed justifications of heinous acts in her autobiography. She’s a highly sexual person whose desires rule her actions. When she doesn’t get what she wants, she schemes to achieve her ends. 

When it's revealed at the novel's climax that Verity has indeed not been unconscious the entire time, it briefly seems as though her influence is ending. Jeremy murders her, aided and abetted by Lowen. However, the letter that Lowen finds at the end of the novel reframes Verity’s autobiography as being merely an exercise in creative grieving. Verity writes that she hadn’t actually done anything wrong, but was using the “autobiography” as a way to better understand herself after losing her daughters one after the other. The letter leaves the audience with a painfully unresolved question about which of the book’s two narratives is the real one: Verity the victim, or Verity the villain. Verity was either a dangerous monster or a wronged and unfortunate bystander to tragic events.