“Yes, but he’s an artist. You can’t expect a man of such… such passions to see the world in the same way as the rest of us.”

“He fled the country from it. He moved to Switzerland.”

“France, actually.”

“What difference does that make?”

“Plenty. The French couldn’t send him back. Anyway, Sandra, why are you so worried about this now? It all happened a long time ago. And, besides, his wife had been brutally murdered.”

“Oh come on, Martin,” interrupted Peter. “How does that excuse what he did?”

“What did he do?” Felicity had gathered the bravery to join in, though she was not sure she had the appetite for it. But it distracted her from the food hidden in the napkin on her lap, which she could feel seeping through the fabric.

Sandra stepped in: “You don’t want to know, Flic. It’s disgusting.”

Without acknowledging Sandra’s indirect request, Martin continued, regurgitating all he had read; all he had picked up in the pub at lunchtime. There was a certain relish to the revelation to the unknowing of some of the finer morsels. As he finished, he expanded his shoulders into the chair back, satisfied.

“Will you excuse me?” said Felicity after a pause. “I’ve got to go.”

She stood, revealing the stain on her dress. “I really have to go.”

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