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epilogue

Life never presents us with anything which may not be looked upon as a fresh starting point, no less than as a termination

(Andre Gide, The Counterfeiters)


the correspondence columns of The Times carried the following letter on Monday, 10 August 1992:

From Detective Chief Inspector

E. Morse

Sir, On behalf of the Thames Valley Police, I wish to record the gratitude of myself and of my fellow officers for the co-operation and assistance of The Times newspaper. As a direct result of lines of investigation suggested by some of its correspondents about the 'Swedish Maiden' verses, persons now being held in custody will be duly brought to face trial in accordance with the law's demands. I am, sir,

Yours,

E. MORSE,

Thames Valley Police HQ,

Kidlington,

Oxon.

[This correspondence is now closed. Ed.]


Like the rest of his staff, the editor had been fascinated by the crop of ideas that sprang from the Swedish Maiden verses; and although the case was now finished he felt he should reply briefly to Morse's letter. In mid-afternoon therefore he dictated a few lines of reciprocal gratitude.

'Do we have a private address for him?' asked his personal secretary.

'No. Just address it to Kidlington HQ – that'll be fine.'

'What about the initial – do we know what that stands for?'

'The "E"?' The editor considered the question for a second or two. 'Er, no. No, I don't think we do.'


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