Naturally, George becomes a suspect of the amiable but dangerous Lieutenant Trant, but then the police have a range of people to choose from. The popular favorite is Chuck Ryson, fiancé to Connie's daughter, Ala.
Shadow of Guilt, written by Hugh Wheeler under the shared pseudonym Patrick Quentin, feels like one of those genre stories where the social and psychological trappings carry more interest for the contemporary reader than the somewhat contrived plot. The question of who killed the blackmailing, philandering Saxby is interesting but incidental, since the focus stays fully with narrator George Hadley. Through his point of view, we learn about his contempt for efficient wife Connie and his (rather misguided) concern for irritating stepdaughter Ala. As a late '50s example of cocktails-and-board meetings, upper-middle class suburban living, it's simultaneously intriguing and artificial. And with so much scorn confided to us about his wife, Connie Corliss becomes (perhaps unintentionally) the most sympathetic character in the book. That she too should be considered a potential murderer gives the story a satisfying edge.
The polite but deferential Lieutenant Trant, whose smiling presence gives George so much discomfort, struck me as a precursor to Levinson and Link's iconic Lieutenant Columbo, a character who would make his stage début nearly a decade later. Ultimately, Shadow of Guilt strains under the weight of a few too many twists and coincidences, but for a while it delivers an effective noir about an ordinary man who finds himself under extraordinary criminal pressure.