Blue made his usual lunchtime call to Del to find his girlfriend agitated.
"There's been ... an incident," she said.
"You mean a murder?" said Blue. He couldn't think of any other kind of incident that would just be described as 'an incident'.
"We can't talk about it," she said. "But you know how unusual this is in Upland."
He did. Even Sam, police officer as he was, scarcely had to deal with anything more outrageous than a non-lethal fight or a snatch theft. But Sam, it seemed, was now on permanent duty until they brought the bastards who did this in.
"I have to go now," she said and did.
Blue sat and perused the echoing spaces of the Church of Cyril the Dodgy. A couple of homeless people were sitting on a bench on the far side of the nave. Hilde who ran the soup kitchen was ladling out soup to a few stragglers. Upland was not entirely the prosperous social democratic paradise it would have liked to have been, yet it was heading in the right direction. As Anna Bergstrom would say, there were always some people who dropped through the net. But murder was vanishingly rare. It brought back to him the spectre of the City, of the place he had fled.