Ann Rule, a high life of crime – archive, 1994

You don’t have to be Columbo to tell that Tim Harris, the handsome, green-eyed state trooper in Ann Rule’s You Belong to Me, is going to do something pretty awful. For one thing there is his reluctance to meet the gaze of his future mother-in-law, and his habit of prowling around bushes. For another there is his tendency to call strange women “slut” and “bitch”.

If that is not enough, Rule leaves a few more subtle clues. “It was early 1980,” she writes, reporting the outcome of a tug-of-love over the dashing cop. “Sandy had won in the battle for Tim Harris. In many ways, however, she had lost – and she didn’t even know it.”

If it is a racing certainty, then, that the charmless Harris will at some point lure a female motorist from her car, then rape and murder her, there is something else of

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