Judgment Deferred

Jeffrey Ashford, Author St. Martin's Press $18.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-312-11012-3
Sergeant Toby Ash of Molsham looks at the local map of Essex and Kent showing the spots where dead girls have been discovered. The pattern resembles a butterfly. The raped and mutilated bodies have been prepared with potions used by butterfly collectors. Ash, with a daughter close in age to the seven victims, sets his sights on a nervous man possessed of both the means of and the motives for the crimes. His search for clues produces fast results of possibly suspect provenance. Reluctant bachelor Ash, whose wife has left him (temporarily, she says), beds an available woman who fails to give him a good alibi when he is accused of planting evidence against the suspect. Naturally, Mrs. Ash chooses this particularly bad time to return home. As the mystery behind the murders is gradually resolved, Ash is raked over the coals at home and at work, and the tale gradually turns into a moral fable. Ashford ( Deadly Reunion ) packs a lot of nuance into his sure-handed novel; if the resolution is a little weak, it remains morally justified. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/30/1994
Release date: 06/01/1994
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