Daddy’s perfectly behaved little darling gets strangled.
Zellah Wilding, just shy of 17, always did exactly as she was told. She was sweet, she was smart, she never misbehaved—or so her daddy thought until she turned up togged out like a tart, her lights turned permanently off by a pair of tights. Finding out who strangled her falls to DI Bill Slider of the Metropolitan Police, Shepherd’s Bush, West London. Slider learns from her schoolmates at St. Margaret’s that Zellah not only disobeyed her controlling father, but had recently dropped a déclassé young beau in favor of someone else she refused to name. Matters heat up when the press latches onto a possible perp: Ronnie Oates, the so-called Acton Strangler, whose MO has been to rape his victims, then garrote with them tights. But Slider has other ideas, particularly after the autopsy shows that Zellah was eight weeks pregnant. Her father blames her mother for being too lenient, her mother blames her father for not letting the girl grow up, and the one responsible feigns an indifference Slider ultimately discredits, although most readers will have reached the same conclusion early on.
Though new father Slider (Game Over, 2008, etc.) has worked on more subtle, interesting cases than this so-so exercise, it’s charming to see him so daffy about his young son.