After 10 or 11 weeks in the hospital, Marlow has a session with a psychiatrist, Dr. Gibbon, that does not go well. Gibbon believes that the root of Marlow's skin disorder is psychological and that he will not heal until he deals with his inner demons. Marlow recalls events, real or imagined, from his childhood growing up in a coal mining community. His father's singing, his beautiful mother's piano playing and the taunts from classmates. He also recalls encountering his mother in the woods with a man. In his novel, Mark Binney hires Marlow the private detective on the recommendation of his solicitor. He's spent the night with the Russian, Sonia, and now she's nowhere to be seen. He's even been told by the police, who didn't believe him when he said two men were watching his flat, not to disappear.