Martin Pryor's realization of success topples when he is blackmailed about the murder of his wife and guilt dogs his short, contented days as a widower. Limiting his search to his suburban neighbors, he eliminates his suspects as incidents prove their innocence; he falls truly in love after his years of womanizing; his complacency and vanity are dissolved when he discovers he cannot anticipate every eventuality; he is realistically haunted by the memory of his dead wife; his attitudes and cruelty to those he believes inferior pay off in reverse. Martin's down-grading demands the final accounting that follows his recognition of his vain, condescending, unsuccessful self-vigilance. A hothouse of spiky blooms, this accomplishes a sharp tongued suspense which does not depend on melodrama. A double for the mystery market.