A pervading sense of unease permeates the prosaic details of mundane life lulling the reader into a false sense of security before the shock of tragic revelations. Like the missing piece in her father's jigsaw puzzle, gaps in the narrative are filled by memories as Jessie, estranged from family and friends, is in a limbo of missed communications - highlighting the irony of her work as a translator searching for the correct interpretation.
She thought about the words she needed .... Her choice made a difference. Sometimes it seemed like a terrible responsibility.
Will had agreed that it was important, but choosing this word or that word,' he said, 'is not exactly a matter of life and death.' It could be though, said Jessie. Look, she said at P.C. Sidney Miles and Derek Bentley and 'Let him have it'; look at Eleanor and 'Stay outside'. You had to be careful.