There was crowded, hurried, organised chaos as paramedics manoeuvred between police in paper booties. First responders in bottle-green overalls rushed to the victim on the living-room floor.
But the detective stood deathly still and watched.
The secret to finding reason in every crime scene was the detail. The debris of modern living was everywhere – a half-eaten yoghurt tub, crumb-speckled plates piled on the breakfast bar. The detective noticed crayon-scribbled walls, a scooter thrown in a doorway, a private-college schoolbag abandoned mid-hall. He scanned the happy snaps perched on the buffet, the smiles and laughter. Those images would soon be recoded, stored in the family’s ‘before’ memories. Before this day, the day their lives were torn to pieces.
A shell-shocked, teary teenager sat hunched on the wing chair. And there she was: the wife. The attractive, middle-aged woman sat slumped in silence on the couch, hands splayed on either side of her like stabilisers.
The show carried on around her in double speed, contrasting her stillness. She seemed not to have realised she was an integral player in the scene. That every reaction, or lack of one, was being analysed.
She was difficult to decode. Her expression remained blank, but her face looked as if a whole world of trouble was going on inside, her eyes fearful of some unknown terror…