Everybody loved mild, affectionate Sarah Taft, a senior at suburban Seattle's Woodhaven School, and why shouldn't they? As the product of a cloistered upbringing that hadn't left her--between vigilant parents and shrewdly planned school activities--a moment for television, solitude, or the temptations of the flesh, she never had an evil impulse or an unkind word for anybody. So why was she beaten to death, and how did she come to be eight weeks pregnant? The reactions of the five Woodhaven pastors, like those of Sarah's parents, range from stony denial to raging denial, and more than one suspect insists the tests must have been mixed up with someone else's. So Eastside police detective Kate MacLean not only has to find the killer--an even tougher job once the probable father is found dead days later on the same scene--and battle the obligatory rivals in her own department, but she also has to get the edenic community of Woodhaven to admit that Sarah might have been killed, not by a conveniently passing psycho, but by a snake in their own tight little garden. Gilpatrick's third (Final Design, 1993, etc.) skillfully maintains suspense over its unusual length, though the characters lack variety--there's only so much you can do with outraged innocence--and the final revelations will surprise only Woodhaveners.