A sunny, quiet, perfectly ordinary school day in autumn turns suddenly dark when sixteen-year-old Rebecca Patton runs down and kills a pedestrian during a driving lesson. It all happens so quickly, so inexplicably, like an accident. The victim — a woman carrying a red handbag — had been stepping off the curb at the corner of Grove and Third. Then she was lying in the street, in critical condition.
When police detective Katie Logan arrives at the station house, she finds a distraught but cooperative Rebecca. Her driving instructor, Andrew Newell, is totally disoriented, however. He appears to be drunk. Or on drugs. Certainly, his apparent incompetence warrants his arrest in what has now become a case of negligent homicide.
The situation in this adroitly told tale by a master at the top of his form grows far more sinister, though, when Logan learns that the victim’s handbag has been recovered. It identifies the dead woman as Andrew Newell’s wife.