“Do you still steal secrets, Miss Swire?” “Still bitter, Carlisle?” She doesn’t counter like he thinks she will. It’s all sweet - and maybe even genuine - concern with only the faintest bite, a devil smile round its edges. Her kindness is disarming. He thinks, of all her qualities, he hates that most.
They say if you look hard enough, there’s always a story. But a simple story isn’t good enough anymore. Spread out over desks, coffee disappearing and smoke clouds haloing their faces, the four of them are supposedly journalism’s political dream team: the kind Evelyn Napier, specializing in foreign affairs and gentle smiles (“But why can’t we have a ‘good news’ segment?” Richard is the first to snap back: “Because people don’t want to be bored; they want to be entertained.”); upstart Tom Branson, making up for any lack of experience with overwhelming passion; the calculating Richard Carlisle, with incomparable ruthlessness and endless contacts; and Lavinia Swire, sweet Lavinia Swire, all soft voice and patient silence, but who constantly turns in stories with the most exclusive of information (this enrages Carlisle most of all; he rages about her ‘complete speculation’ - “Better than blatant lies,” Branson mutters, teeth grinding - but, speculation or not, Lavinia Swire is always, always right).
They’re supposed to be a team, but collaboration always manages to give way for competition. Carlisle’s penchant for exaggerated scandal clashing with Branson’s firm beliefs in a sort of moral journalism; the quiet rivalry that has built, story by story, between Lavinia and Richard, the need to be first, better.
“I still think,” Evelyn says, “people would appreciate good news.”