Brian and Lois are suffering an appalling loss. Their small daughter Suzie has drowned, possibly as a result of two teachers’ negligence; at any rate the pair have been temporarily suspended. At first the tragedy arouses strong reactions in the community:
Strangers had left flowers not merely at the house but, so it was reported, on the bank of that wide, calm, implacable river. By that river someone had even propped against a tree a Barbie doll, oppressively still in its box.