‘Knew him personally at all, did you, sir?’ the Detective Chief Superintendent of Police asked respectfully in a voice kept deliberately low. ‘Or perhaps I shouldn’t enquire.’
The two men had been together for fifteen minutes but this was the Superintendent’s first question. For a while Smiley did not seem to hear it, but his silence was not offensive, he had the gift of quiet. Besides, there is a companionship about two men contemplating a corpse. (Le Carré 1979: chpt. 3)
LE CARRÉ, JOHN [aka CORNWELL, DAVID JOHN MOORE]. 1979. Smiley’s people. London: Hodder & Stoughton.