A tired short-story idea pumped up--via belabored stream-of-consciousness--into full-scale tedium. Insurance man Nick Goddard is racked with guilt and fear: on the way back to London from Birmingham, he picked up a comely hitchhiker and half-accidentally throttled her when she resisted his advances. Now he's going about his business--affair with his secretary, slow death of his mother-in-law, domestic tension--trying not to reveal his panic over being connected to the crime, his fantasies of the police closing in. And then police do close in. . . . All moment-by-moment thoughts and day-by-day chat; workmanlike and believable enough but not the slightest spark.