Deep Sleep

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

DEEP SLEEP is the chilling tale of the resolution of what turns out to be a series of murders perpetrated by that most awesomely frightening of criminals, the clinically (and, in this case, pathetically) deranged individual who feels no guilt. The psychological makeup of “Caring Chemist” Pip Carlton combines with his unique professional knowledge to make him appear totally innocent in the mysterious death of his young, healthy, and (to him) unbearably annoying wife. The curious circumstances of Margaret Carlton’s death, together with an incomplete police report, arouse Helen West’s suspicions. Despite Geoffrey Bailey’s warnings not to interfere in police business, Helen begins to delve more deeply into the personalities and relationships of the residents of Carlton’s neighborhood, Herringbone Parade. It is because of her efforts that the case is pursued and ultimately—in the proverbial nick of time—resolved.

Fyfield’s terrifying plot is enhanced by her excellent development of the other characters necessary to the playing out of the drama: Kimberly Perry, Carlton’s assistant and the unknowing object of his obsessive desire; Constable Duncan Perry, Kimberly’s rejected, drunken, and ragingly jealous husband; their son Tom, who plays an unwitting role in the resolution of the crime; Daniel Maley, a reformed junkie and Tom’s companion, who is in the right place at the wrong time; and Dr. Sean Hazel, an aging anaesthetist of questionable repute who provides a vital piece of information.