The big house was quiet apart from Rebecca Gentrie's frantic explanations. She turned again and again to each of the men surrounding her, searching their faces, finding them all solemn, unyielding... except, suddenly, for one. Whether it was due to the late hour or the nearness of death or some private reason of his own, when she looked once more to the man who would soon be fighting to condemn her, she found that his careful, watchful facade had slipped. She gazed into her enemy's eyes and saw pity. Next minute she had thrown herself down before him in desperation, then collapsed against his chest, pleading for someone to understand; to him, it was almost as if she had plunged a knife through his heart. He pushed her silently away, into the waiting arms of the police, his expression a mixture of sympathy and abhorrence. As she was slowly led off he stood and watched her, haunted, trying to collect the shreds of his composure and put his official mask back on.

Perry saw it all and was staggered. He had thought of Hamilton Burger as a sort of force of nature. It felt as if he had looked deep into the mighty north wind only to find two ordinary human eyes gazing back at him, sad and troubled.