Superintendent Mike Yeadings tackles yet another offbeat case (Death Prone, 1994, etc.), this time in Fords Green, a quiet backwater on his Thames Valley beat. A half-dressed, battered man's body has been found there, in the parking area of a highway restaurant. After an embarrassing gaffe, he's finally identified as Paul Randall--a realtor who, with wife Gillian, attended a charity ball two nights before. Neither had been seen since, though the car they drove now sits in front of their house. It soon appears that another local woman is also missing--Marcia, estranged wife of short-fused Detective Sergeant Turley. Architect Guy Stafford, Gillian's ex-husband, falls under suspicion, as does their young son, Owen, who lived with the Randalls, despised his stepfather, and experienced a recent, traumatic encounter with Turley. A crude ransom note, and the finding of Marcia's body on a site tied to Stafford and to Turley's self-destructive behavior, further complicate matters for the Super, but solid police work leads the way to a just-in-time rescue and an out-of-the-woodwork killer. A sturdy, suspenseful procedural that handles its psychological, traditional, and contemporary elements with panache. Absorbing from first to last.