Here, covering many of the same moral concerns as his A Question of Principle, Ash. ford (a.k.a. Roderic Jeffries) uses a hit-and-run incident to mull over truth, justice, duty, and the question of whether the end justifies the means. Pudgy, honorable Detective-Constable Brice has two eyewitnesses to a car/cyclist collision--Mike Ansell, a company lawyer; and Stephen Poulton, a cut-comers entrepreneur. Ansell reports a bribe for his silence; Poulton does not; ditto with telephone threats. Then both men's homes are broken into; Ansell's wife is sexually debased while he is coshed helpless. Brice's superiors cling to textbook procedure, while he and a young trainee zero in on a trio of thugs and the gent who gives them orders (and has terrorist activity to cover-up). Ansell, no longer a secure idealist, fights back, and Brice institutes a frame-up to break the case. Poulton, meanwhile, continues to wheel and deal to his best advantage. A low-key, subtle study of principles put to the test--with a shade-too-graphic perversion sequence and an overly speedy, reaching, wrap-up. Interesting, overall, but a notch below compelling.