THE TIME OF THE FIRE by Marc Brandel


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A small town witnesses, and repudiates, the discovery of a viciously dismembered body, but with successive murders of a quiet, worthy girl, and the local librarian, fear and suspicion lend an ugly restlessness. Police Chief Koster pursues his evidence but fails to establish any identification; Dr. Gordon, a leading citizen, is aware of the pathological nature of the crimes, but blind to his daughter, Madelon, demure and langourous in her private world of prurient fantasies; Fletcher, his friend, a scientist, devotes the intensity which can never satisfy a woman to the laboratory where he tests the sex responses of rats and hamsters. And so it is, that when Madelon attempts to seduce Fletcher, and leaves his house- disappointed and disheveled- the town finds an easy answer to the earlier crimes in Fletcher. He dies in the fire they set to his house, but provides the real solution to the maniac in their midst.... Sex and sensationalism are the elements in this syndrome- and they're quite malignant here.

Pub Date: June 10th, 1954
Publisher: Random House