Someone is using a series of stolen dogs to lure unsuspecting women into the back of his car and rape them, and the someone is stuffy parvenu Thomas Walker-Jones, who owns Royal Motors and secretly has an interest in a convenient wrecking company called Jones and Son as well. Despite Walker-Jones’s careful skill in avoiding the kind of trace evidence that would lead the police to his door, a would-be victim who escapes manages to give the coppers a description that persuades Richard Adeane, who’s divorced from Walker-Jones’s sister-in-law, that he ought to phone in an anonymous tip revealing that Walker-Jones resembles the computerized drawing, is left-handed, and likes to tie his trophy wife Serena to the bed for sex. Adeane’s impulse couldn’t be more timely, since Walker-Jones is just graduating from rape to murder. But taxed by his ex-wife Diana when she guesses that he’s the anonymous informant, Adeane has to wonder how much he’s motivated by civic-mindedness and how much by envy of a brute who delights in not offering him a job when he’s made redundant. There’s no time, though, for Adeane to linger over such moral quibbles when Walker-Jones, questioned by the police, decides that instead of relying on staunch denials, he’ll go on the defensive . . . . Ashford (A Web of Circumstances, p. 306, etc.) is such an old pro that he effortlessly gives the first half of this streamlined mystery-thriller an edge worthy of Margaret Yorke. It’s only when the police step in that things get predictable.