“Which goes a long way to explain why I know these woods so well.” White took a deep breath and looked up. The leaf canopy here was not so dense that he couldn't see the sky. There were blue patches amongst the cloud. His grandmother had often said 'If there's enough blue to make a sailor suit, it'll be fine by teatime.' He could never tell how much blue was enough, but he was optimistic. Assuming they were home by teatime, he might get the mower out. That'd please Betty.
“Did you ever find her?”
“No.” He sighed. One of my biggest regrets is not being able to close that case. A thirteen year old girl doesn't just disappear into thin air. The investigation petered out after a fortnight. After a month we had to assume she was dead and after six months the case was shelved. The Sally Fields case is the only one in thirty years on the force that came close to destroying my marriage.”
“Why's that, sir?” Peters pulled out a packet of gum and offered it to White.
He shook his head. “I came back here every weekend. If I could find her body I could reopen the investigation and get the bastard who'd killed her. I wanted her to be alive, of course, but I searched for her body every chance I got. Six months later and Betty was ready to leave me. “'You don't need a wife,' she said. 'You need a hotel.' That's when I had to abandon the case.”
“Sometimes a marriage is more important, sir.”
White nodded. “Sometimes.”