Excerpt: 'Book of the Dead'

Author Patricia Cornwell has brought Kay Scarpetta back. The character, who helped make Cornwell a best-selling writer, returns in the author's new book, "Book of the Dead."

Fans also will recognize familiar characters from previous books, like Dr. Self and Pete Marino.

The novel has the forensic pathologist Scarpetta checking into the death of a young tennis star after she discovers a connection with the unidentified body of a South Carolina boy.

For more on this murder mystery, read an excerpt below.

Chapter 1

Ten days later. April 27, 2007. A Friday afternoon. Inside the ¬virtual-¬reality theater are twelve of Italy's most powerful law enforcers and politicians, whose names, in the main, forensic pathologist Kay Scarpetta ¬can't keep straight. The only ¬non-¬Italians are herself and forensic psychologist Benton Wesley, both consultants for International Investigative Response (IIR), a special branch of the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes (ENFSI). The Italian government is in a very delicate position. Nine days ago, American tennis star Drew Martin was murdered while on vacation, her nude, mutilated body found near Piazza Navona, in the heart of Rome's historic district. The case is an international sensation, details about the ¬sixteen-¬year-¬old's life and death replayed nonstop on television, the crawls at the bottom of the screen doing just ¬that—¬crawling by slowly and tenaciously, repeating the same details the anchors and experts are saying.

"So, Dr. Scarpetta, let's clarify, because there seems to be much confusion. According to you, she was dead by two or three o'clock that afternoon," says Captain Ottorino Poma, a medico legale in the Arma dei Carabinieri, the military police heading the investigation.

"That's not according to me," she says, her patience beginning to fray. "That's according to you."

He frowns in the low lighting. "I was so sure it was you, just minutes ago, talking about her stomach contents and alcohol level. And the fact they indicate she was dead within hours of when she was seen last by her friends."

"I ¬didn't say she was dead by two or three o'clock. I believe it is you who continues to say that, Captain Poma."

At a young age he already has a widespread reputation, and not an entirely good one. When Scarpetta first met him two years ago in the Hague at the ENFSI's annual meeting, he was derisively dubbed the Designer Doctor and described as extraordinarily conceited and argumentative. He is ¬handsome—¬magnificent, ¬really—¬with a taste for beautiful women and dazzling clothes, and today he is wearing a uniform of midnight blue with broad red stripes and bright silver embellishments, and polished black leather boots. When he swept into the theater this morning, he was wearing a ¬red-¬lined cape.

He sits directly in front of Scarpetta, front row center, and rarely takes his eyes off her. On his right is Benton Wesley, who is silent most of the time. Everyone is masked by stereoscopic glasses that are synchronized with the Crime Scene Analysis System, a brilliant innovation that has made the Polizia Scientifica Italiana's Unità per l'Analisi del Crimine Violento the envy of law enforcement agencies worldwide.

"I suppose we need to go through this again so you completely understand my position," Scarpetta says to Captain Poma, who now rests his chin on his hand as if he is having an intimate conversation with her over a glass of wine. "Had she been killed at two or three o'clock that afternoon, then when her body was found at approximately ¬eight-¬thirty the following morning, she would have been dead at least seventeen hours. Her livor mortis, rigor mortis, and algor mortis are inconsistent with that."

She uses a laser pointer to direct attention to the ¬three-¬dimensional muddy construction site projected on the ¬wall-¬size screen. It's as if they are standing in the middle of the scene, staring at Drew Martin's mauled, dead body and the litter and earthmoving equipment around it. The red dot of the laser moves along the left shoulder, the left buttock, the left leg and its bare foot. The right buttock is gone, as is a portion of her right thigh, as if she had been attacked by a shark.

"Her lividity . . ." Scarpetta starts to say.

"Once again I apologize. My English ¬isn't so good as yours. I'm not sure of this word," Captain Poma says.

¬"I've used it before."

"I ¬wasn't sure of it then."

Laughter. Other than the translator, Scarpetta is the only woman present. She and the translator ¬don't find the captain amusing, but the men do. Except Benton, who ¬hasn't smiled once this day.

"Do you know the Italian for this word?" Captain Poma asks Scarpetta.

"How about the language of ancient Rome?" Scarpetta says. "Latin. Since most medical terminology is rooted in Latin." She ¬doesn't say it rudely, but is ¬no-¬nonsense because she's well aware that his English becomes awkward only when it suits him.

His 3-D glasses stare at her, reminding her of Zorro. "Italian, please," he says to her. "I never was so good in Latin."

¬"I'll give you both. In Italian, 'livid' is livido, which means bruised. 'Mortis' is morte, or death. Livor mortis suggests an appearance of bruising that occurs after death." "It's helpful when you speak Italian," he says. "And you do it so well."

She ¬doesn't intend to do it here, although she speaks enough Italian to get by. She prefers English during these professional discussions because nuances are tricky, and the translator intercepts every word anyway. This difficulty with language, along with political pressure, stress, and Captain Poma's relentless and enigmatic antics, add to what already is rather much a disaster that has nothing to do with any of these things. But rather, the killer in this case defies precedents and the usual profiles. He confounds them. Even the science has become a maddening source of ¬debate—¬it seems to defy them, lie to them, forcing Scarpetta to remind herself and everyone else that science never tells untruths. It ¬doesn't make mistakes. It ¬doesn't deliberately lead them astray or taunt them.

This is lost on Captain Poma. Or perhaps he pretends. Perhaps he ¬isn't serious when he refers to Drew's dead body as uncooperative and argumentative, as if he has a relationship with it and they are squab-bling. He asserts that her postmortem changes may say one thing, and her blood alcohol and stomach contents say another, but contrary to what Scarpetta believes, food and drink should always be trusted. He is serious, at least about that.

"What Drew ate and drank is revealing of truth." He repeats what he said in his impassioned opening statement earlier today.

"Revealing of a truth, yes. But not your truth," Scarpetta replies, in a tone more polite than what she says. "Your truth is a misinterpretation."

"I think ¬we've been over this," Benton says from the shadows of the front row. "I think Dr. Scarpetta has made herself perfectly clear."

Captain Poma's 3-D ¬glasses—¬and rows of other 3-D ¬glasses—¬remain fixed on her. "I regret if I bore you with my reexamination, Dr. Wesley, but we need to find sense in this. So please indulge me. April seventeenth, Drew ate very bad lasagna and drank four glasses of very bad Chianti between ¬eleven-¬thirty and ¬twelve-¬thirty at a tourist trattoria near the Spanish Steps. She paid the bill and left, then at the Piazza di Spagna parted company with her two friends, who she promised to rejoin at Piazza Navona within the hour. She never appeared. That much we know to be true. What remains a mystery is everything else." His ¬thick-¬framed glasses look at Scarpetta, then he turns in his seat and speaks to the rows behind him. "Partly because our esteemed colleague from the United States now says she's convinced Drew ¬didn't die shortly after lunch or even that same day."

¬"I've been saying this all along. Once again, ¬I'll explain why. Since it seems you are confused," Scarpetta says. "We need to move on," Benton says. But they ¬can't move on. Captain Poma is so respected by the Italians, is such a celebrity, he can do whatever he wants. In the press he is called the Sherlock Holmes of Rome, even though he is a physician, not a detective. Everyone, including the Comandante Generale of the Carabinieri, who sits in a back corner and listens more than he speaks, seems to have forgotten that.

"Under normal circumstances," Scarpetta says, "Drew's food would have been fully digested several hours after she ate lunch, and her alcohol level certainly ¬wouldn't have been as high as the ¬point-¬two determined by toxicological testing. So, yes, Captain Poma, her stomach contents and toxicology suggest she died shortly after lunch. But her livor mortis and rigor mortis ¬suggest—¬rather emphatically, let me ¬add—¬that she died possibly twelve to fifteen hours after she ate lunch at the trattoria, and these postmortem artifacts are the ones we should pay the most attention to." "So here we are. Back to lividity." He sighs. "This word I have so much trouble with. Please explain it again, since I seem to have so much trouble with what you call postmortem artifacts. As if we are archaeologists digging up ruins." Captain Poma's chin rests on his hand again.

"Lividity, livor mortis, postmortem hypostasis, all the same thing. When you die, your circulation quits and the blood begins to accumulate in the small vessels due to gravity, rather much like sediment settling in a sunken ship." She feels Benton's 3-D glasses looking at her. She dares not look at him. He ¬isn't himself. "Continue, please." Captain Poma underlines something several times on his legal pad. "If the body remains in a certain position long enough after death, the blood will settle ¬accordingly—¬a postmortem artifact we call livor mortis," Scarpetta explains. "Eventually, livor mortis becomes fixed, or set, turning that area of the body ¬purplish-¬red, with patterns of blanching from surfaces pressing against it or constricting it, such as tight clothing. Can we see the autopsy photograph, please?" She checks a list on the podium. "Number ¬twenty-¬one." The wall fills with Drew's body on a steel table in the morgue at Tor Vergata University. She is facedown. Scarpetta moves the laser's red dot over the back, over the ¬purplish-¬red areas and blanching caused by lividity. The shocking wounds that look like dark red craters she has yet to address.

"Now, if ¬you'll put the scene up, please. The one that shows her being placed into the body bag," she says. The ¬three-¬dimensional photograph of the construction site fills the wall again, but this time there are investigators in white Tyvek suits, gloves, and shoe covers lifting Drew's limp, naked body into a ¬sheet-¬lined black pouch on top of a stretcher. Around them, other investigators hold up additional sheets to block the view from the curious and the paparazzi at the perimeter of the scene.

"Compare this to the photograph you just saw. By the time she was autopsied some eight hours after she was found, her lividity was almost completely set," Scarpetta says. "But here at the scene, it's apparent that lividity was in its early stages." The red dot moves over pinkish areas on Drew's back. "Rigor was in its early stages as well." "You rule out the early onset of rigor mortis due to a cadervic spasm? For example, if she strenuously exerted herself right before death? Maybe she struggled with him? Since ¬you've not mentioned this phenomenon so far?" Captain Poma underlines something on his legal pad.

"There's no reason to talk about a cadervic spasm," Scarpetta says. Why ¬don't you throw in the kitchen sink? she's tempted to ask. "Whether she strenuously exerted herself or not," she says, "she ¬wasn't fully rigorous when she was found, so she ¬didn't have a cadervic spasm. . . ." "Unless rigor came and went." "Impossible, since it became fully fixed in the morgue. Rigor ¬doesn't come and go and then come again." The translator suppresses a smile as she relays this in Italian, and several people laugh. "You can see from this"—¬Scarpetta points the laser at Drew's body being lifted onto the ¬stretcher—"her muscles certainly ¬aren't stiff. ¬They're quite flexible. I estimate ¬she'd been dead less than six hours when she was found, possibly considerably less." ¬"You're a world expert. How can you be so vague?"

"Because we ¬don't know where ¬she'd been, what temperatures or conditions she was exposed to before she was left in the construction site. Body temperature, rigor mortis, livor mortis can vary greatly from case to case and individual to individual." "Based on the condition of the body, are you saying it's impossible she was murdered soon after she had lunch with her friends? Perhaps while she was walking alone to Piazza Navona to join them?" "I ¬don't believe that's what happened." "Then once again, please. How do you explain her undigested food and ¬point-¬two alcohol level? They imply she died soon after she ate lunch with her ¬friends—¬not some fifteen, sixteen hours later."

"It's possible not long after she left her friends, she resumed drinking alcohol and was so terrified and stressed, her digestion quit."

"What? Now ¬you're suggesting she spent time with her killer, possibly as much as ten, twelve, fifteen hours with ¬him—¬that she was drinking with him?" "He might have forced her to drink, to keep her impaired and easier to control. As in drugging somebody."

"So he forced her to drink alcohol, perhaps all afternoon, all night, and into the early morning, and she was so frightened her food ¬didn't digest? That's what ¬you're offering us as a plausible explanation?" ¬"I've seen it before," Scarpetta says. The animated construction site after dark. Surrounding shops, pizzerias, and ristorantes are lit up and crowded. Cars and motor scooters are parked on the sides of the streets, on the sidewalks. The rumble of traffic and the sounds of footsteps and voices fill the theater.

Suddenly, the lighted windows go dark. Then silence. The sound of a car, and the shape of it. A ¬four-¬door black Lancia parks at the corner of Via di Pasquino and Via dell'Anima. The driver's door opens and an animated man gets out. He is dressed in gray. His face has no features and, like his hands, is gray, from which everyone in the theater is to infer that the killer ¬hasn't been assigned an age, race, or any physical characteristics. For the sake of simplicity, the killer is referred to as male. The gray man opens the trunk and lifts out a body wrapped in a blue fabric with a pattern that includes the colors red, gold, and green.

"The sheet wrapped around her is based on silk fibers collected from the body and in the mud under it," Captain Poma says.

Benton Wesley says, "Fibers found all over the body. Including in the hair, on the hands, the feet. Certainly an abundance of them were adhering to her wounds. From this we can conclude she was completely wrapped from head to toe. So, yes, obviously we have to consider a large piece of colorful silk fabric. Perhaps a sheet, perhaps a curtain . . ." "What's your point?"

"I have two of them: We ¬shouldn't assume it was a sheet, because we ¬shouldn't assume anything. Also, it's possible he wrapped her in something that was indigenous to where he lives or works, or where he held her hostage." "Yes, yes." Captain Poma's glasses remain fixed on the scene filling the wall. "And we know there are carpet fibers which are also consistent with carpet fibers in the trunk of a 2005 Lancia, which is con-sistent also with what was described driving away from that area at approximately six a.m. The witness I mentioned. A woman in a nearby apartment got up to see about her cat because it ¬was—¬what is the word . . . ?" "Yowling? Meowing?" the translator says.

"She got up because of her cat yowling and happened to look out her widow to see a dark luxury sedan driving away from the construction site as if in no hurry. She said it turned right on dell'Anima, a ¬one-¬way street. Continue, please." The animation resumes. The gray man lifts the colorfully wrapped body out of the car trunk and carries it to a nearby aluminum catwalk that is barricaded only by a rope, which he steps over. He carries the body down a wooden plank that leads into the site. He places the body to one side of the plank, in the mud, and squats in the dark and quickly unwraps a figure that turns into the dead body of Drew Martin. This is no animation, but a three-dimensional photograph. One can see her ¬clearly—¬her famous face, the savage wounds on her slender, athletic, naked body. The gray man balls up the colorful wrapping and returns to his car. He drives off at a normal rate of speed. "We believe he did carry the body instead of dragging it," Captain Poma says. "Because these fibers were only on the body and on the soil beneath it. There were no others, and although this ¬isn't proof, it certainly does indicate he ¬didn't drag her. Let me remind you, this scene has been mapped with the laser mapping system, and the perspective ¬you're seeing and the position of objects and the body are completely precise. Obviously, only people or objects that ¬weren't videotaped or ¬photographed—¬such as the killer and his ¬car—¬are animated."

"How heavy was she?" the minister of the interior asks from the back row. Scarpetta replies that Drew Martin weighed one hundred and thirty pounds, then converts that to kilograms. "He had to be reasonably strong," she adds. Animation resumes. Silence and the construction site in ¬early-¬morning light. The sound of rain. Windows in the area remain dark, the businesses closed. No traffic. Then the whine of a motorcycle. Getting louder. A red Ducati appears on Via di Pasquino, the rider an animated figure in a rain slicker and a ¬full-¬face helmet. He turns right on dell'Anima and suddenly stops, and the bike drops to the pavement with a loud thud, and the engine quits. The startled rider steps over his bike and hesitantly steps onto the aluminum catwalk, his boots loud on metal. The dead body below him in the mud looks more shocking, more gruesome, because it's a ¬three-¬dimensional photograph juxtaposed to the motorcyclist's rather stilted animation.

"It's now almost half past eight, the weather, as you can see, overcast and raining," Captain Poma says. "Please move ahead to Professor Fiorani at the scene. That would be image fourteen. And now Dr. Scarpetta, you can, if you will, examine the body at the scene with the good professor, who ¬isn't here this afternoon, I'm sorry to say, because, can you guess? He's at the Vatican. A cardinal died." Benton stares at the screen behind Scarpetta, and it knots her stomach that he is so unhappy and ¬won't look at her.

New ¬images—¬video recordings in 3-¬D—¬fill the screen. Blue lights strobing. Police cars and a ¬midnight-¬blue Carabinieri crime scene van. More Carabinieri with machine guns guarding the perimeter of the construction site. Plainclothes investigators inside the ¬cordoned-¬off area, collecting evidence, taking photographs. The sounds of camera shutters and low voices and crowds on the streets. A police helicopter ¬thud-¬thuds overhead. The ¬professor—¬the most esteemed forensic pathologist in ¬Rome—¬is covered in white Tyvek that is muddy. Close on, his point of view: Drew's body. It's so real in the stereoscopic glasses, it's bizarre. Scarpetta feels as if she can touch Drew's flesh and her gaping dark red wounds that are smeared with mud and glistening wet from the rain. Her long blond hair is wet and clings to her face. Her eyes are tightly shut and bulging beneath the lids.

"Dr. Scarpetta," Captain Poma says. "You may examine her, please. Tell us what you see. You have, of course, studied Professor Fiorani's report, but as you look at the body itself in ¬three-¬dimension and are placed at the scene with it, please give us your own opinion. We ¬won't criticize you if you disagree with Professor Fiorani's findings." Who's considered as infallible as the Pope he embalmed several years earlier. The laser's red dot moves where Scarpetta points, and she says, "The position of the body. On the left side, hands folded under the chin, legs slightly bent. A position I believe is deliberate. Dr. Wesley?" She looks at Benton's thick glasses looking past her, at the screen. "This is a good time for you to comment." "Deliberate. The body was positioned by the killer." "As if she's praying, perhaps?" says the chief of the state police. "What was her religion?" asks the deputy director of the Criminal Police National Directorate. A peppering of questions and conjectures from the barely lit theater. "Roman Catholic." "She ¬didn't practice it, I understand." "Not much." "Perhaps some religious connection?" "Yes, I wonder that, too. The construction site is so close to Sant'Agnese in Agone." Captain Poma explains, "For those unfamiliar"—¬he looks at ¬Benton—"Saint Agnes was a martyr tortured and murdered at the age of twelve because she ¬wouldn't marry a pagan like me." Peals of laughter. A discussion about the murder having a religious significance. But Benton says no. "There's sexual degradation," he says. "She's displayed, and she's nude and dumped in plain view in the very area where she was supposed to meet her friends. The killer wanted her found, he wanted to shock people. Religion ¬isn't the overriding motive. Sexual excitement is." "Yet we found no evidence of rape." This said by the head of the Carabinieri forensic labs.

He goes on to say through the translator that it appears the killer left no seminal fluid, no blood, no saliva, unless it was washed away by rain. But DNA from two different sources was collected from under her fingernails. The profiles have proved useless so far because, unfortunately, he explains, the Italian government ¬doesn't allow DNA samples to be taken from criminals, as it's considered a violation of their human rights. The only profiles that can be entered into an Italian database at this time, he says, are those obtained from evidence, not from individuals. "So there's no database to search in Italy," Captain Poma adds. "And the most we can say right now is the DNA collected from under Drew's fingernails ¬doesn't match the DNA of any individual in any database outside Italy, including the United States." "I believe ¬you've ascertained that the sources of DNA collected from under her nails are males of European ¬descent—¬in other words, Caucasian," Benton says. "Yes," the lab director says.

"Dr. Scarpetta?" Captain Poma says. "Please continue." "May I have autopsy photo number ¬twenty-¬six, please?" she says. "A posterior view during the external examination. ¬Close-¬up of the wounds." They fill the screen. Two dark red craters with jagged edges. She points the laser, and the red dot moves over the massive wound where the right buttock used to be, then to a second area of flesh that has been excised from the back of the right thigh. "Inflicted by a sharp cutting instrument, possibly with a serrated blade, that sawed through muscle and superficially cut the bone," she says. "Inflicted postmortem, based on the absence of tissue response to the injuries. In other words, the wounds are yellowish."

"Postmortem mutilation rules out torture, at least torture by cutting," Benton adds. "Then what explanation? If not torture?" Captain Poma asks him, both men staring at each other like two animals that are natural enemies. "Why else would a person inflict such sadistic, and, I would suggest, disfiguring, wounds on another human being? Tell us, Dr. Wesley, in all your experiences have you seen anything like this before, perhaps in other cases? Especially when you were such a famous profiler with the FBI?" "No," Benton says curtly, and any reference to his former career with the FBI is a calculated insult. ¬"I've seen mutilation. But ¬I've never seen anything quite like this. Especially what he did to her eyes."

He removed them and filled the sockets with sand. Afterward, he glued her eyelids shut. Scarpetta points the laser and describes this, and Benton is chilled again. Everything about this case chills him, unnerves and fascinates him. What is the symbolism? It's not that he's unfamiliar with the gouging out of eyes. But what Captain Poma suggests is ¬far-¬fetched.

"The ancient Greek combat sport pankration? Perhaps ¬you've heard of it," Captain Poma says to the theater. "In pankration, one uses any means possible to defeat his enemy. It was common to gouge out the eyes and kill the person by stabbing or strangulation. Drew's eyes were gouged out, and she was strangled." The general of the Carabinieri asks Benton, through the translator, "Then maybe there's a connection to pankration? That the killer had this in his mind when he removed her eyes and strangled her?"

"I ¬don't think so," Benton says. "Then what explanation?" the general asks, and like Captain Poma, he wears a splendid uniform but with more silver and ornamentation around the cuffs and high collar. "A more interior one. A more personal one," Benton says. "From the news, perhaps," the general says. "Torture. The Death Squads in Iraq that pull out teeth and gouge out eyes."

"I can only suppose that what this killer did is a manifestation of his own psyche. In other words, I ¬don't believe what he did to her is an allusion to anything even remotely obvious. Through her wounds, we get a glimpse into his inner world," Benton says. "This is speculation," Captain Poma says. "It's a psychological insight based on many years of working violent crimes," Benton replies.

"But it's your intuition." "We ignore intuition at our peril," Benton says. "May we have the autopsy picture that shows her anteriorly during the external examination?" Scarpetta says. "A ¬close-¬up of her neck." She checks the list on the podium. "Number twenty."

A ¬three-¬dimensional image fills the screen: Drew's body on a ¬stainless-¬steel autopsy table, her skin and hair wet from washing.

"If you look here"—¬Scarpetta points the laser at the ¬neck—"you notice a horizontal ligature mark." The dot moves along the front of the neck. Before she can continue, she's interrupted by Rome's head of tourism.

"Afterwards, he removed her eyes. After death," he says. "Versus while she was alive. This is important."

"Yes," Scarpetta replies. "Reports ¬I've reviewed indicate the only premortem injuries are contusions on the ankles and contusions caused by strangulation. The photograph of her dissected neck, please? Number ¬thirty-¬eight."

She waits, and images fill the screen. On a cutting board, the larynx and soft tissue with areas of hemorrhage. The tongue.

Scarpetta points out, "Contusions to the soft tissue, the underlying muscles, and fractured hyoid due to strangulation clearly indicate damage inflicted while she was still alive." "Petechiae of her eyes?"

"We ¬don't know if there were conjunctival petechiae," Scarpetta says. "Her eyes are absent. But reports do indicate some petechiae of eyelids and face." "What he did to her eyes? ¬You're familiar with this from anything else in your experiences?"

¬"I've seen victims whose eyes were gouged out. But ¬I've never seen or heard of a killer filling eye sockets with sand and then sealing the eyelids shut ¬with—¬in this ¬instance—¬an adhesive that according to your report is a cyanoacrylate." "Superglue," Captain Poma says.

"I'm keenly interested in the sand," she says. "It ¬doesn't appear to be indigenous to the area. More important, scanning electron microscopy with EDX found traces of what appears to be gunshot residue. Lead, antimony, and barium." "Certainly it ¬isn't from the local beaches," Captain Poma says. "Unless many people shoot each other and we ¬don't know it." Laughter.

"Sand from Ostia would have basalt in it," Scarpetta says. "Other components from volcanic activity. I believe all of you have a copy of the spectral fingerprint of the sand recovered from the body and a spectral fingerprint of sand from a beach area in Ostia." The sounds of paper rustling in the theater. Small flashlights click on. "Both analyzed with Raman spectroscopy, using an ¬eight-¬point-¬milliwatt red laser. As you can see, sand from the local beaches of Ostia and sand found in Drew Martin's eye sockets have very different spectral fingerprints. With the scanning electron microscope, we can see the sand's morphology, and backscattered electron imaging shows us the GSR particles ¬we're talking about."

"The beaches of Ostia are very popular with tourists," Captain Poma says. "But not so much this time of year. People from here and the tourists usually wait until it's warmer. Late May, even June. Then many people from Rome especially crowd them, since the drive is maybe thirty, maybe forty minutes. It's not for me," as if anybody asked his personal feelings about the beaches of Ostia. "I find the black sand of the beaches ugly, and I would never go in the water."

"I think what's important here is where is the sand from, which seems to be a mystery," Benton says, and it's late afternoon now and everyone is getting restless. "And why sand at all? The choice of ¬sand—¬this specific ¬sand—¬means something to the killer, and it may tell us where Drew was murdered, or perhaps where her killer is from or spends time."

"Yes, yes," Captain Poma says with a hint of impatience. "And the eyes and very terrible wounds mean something to the killer. And thankfully, these details ¬aren't known to the public. ¬We've managed to keep them away from journalists. So if there is another similar murder, we will know it ¬isn't a copy."