Clarke switches from period suspense (The Lady in Black, This Downhill Path) to Ruth Rendell territory--with a contemporary domestic psycho-tangle that begins well, introduces some agreeable people, but soon slogs along into a murky letdown. Dr. Dorothy Laver, London psychiatrist, is being tormented by handsome, fiendish husband Gerry--a demanding emotional invalid who's jealous of her success, blames her for the long-ago death of their daughter (a medicine overdose that was probably his fault), and periodically tries suicide. And things get even worse when Dorothy meets nice electrician/student Peter: Gerry tries to kill Peter, winding up in the hospital; so terrified Dorothy asks her frail father to move in, along with teenage Nina (a love-starved patient) as cook. But once Gerry returns home, mayhem mounts: he tries to drive Dorothy to suicide (she goes catatonic); then Dorothy's father tries (successfully, to drive Gerry to suicide. And Dorothy, finally free, becomes a new (unpleasant) person. . . as Peter and Nina pair off. Rather confusing and far from plausible--a wobbly tale made relatively painless by the engaging supporting cast and Clarke's basic narrative aplomb.