The Ragged Edge of Life

Bundesarchiv Bild 183-28148-0001, Beim Bügeln
Mrs. Swaffield perched upright on the edge of the armchair and smiled across at them encouragingly, bringing into the room’s cheerlessness a reassuring ambience of homemade jam, well-conducted Sunday schools, and massed women’s choirs singing Blake’s ‘Jerusalem.’ Both men felt immediately at home with her. Both in their different lives had met her kind before. It was not, thought Dalgliesh that she was unaware of the frayed and ragged edges of life. She would merely iron them out with a firm hand and neatly hem them down.

from Death of an Expert Witness by P.D. James