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.
But it doesn’t take long for this fervid interest to die down; now neighbours tend to avoid rather than seek out the bereaved parents, while the police, who at first, as Brian says, ‘were all soft voices and concern’, seem to have forgotten all about them. Even Suzie’s school chooses