“The sponsors want this kept quiet,” Marlow said. He stepped carefully around the massive slick of blood, perusing the walls and taking down notes of God-knew-what.

“Of course they do,” Jenkins said. “The sponsors always want it kept quiet. As if not talking about horrific murders will just make them go away.” For the moment, a few of the con’s volunteers were playing interference up the hallway, making some sort of excuse about a bathroom flooding.

“There is something to be said for not panicking a densely-packed collection of over thirty-thousand people,” Marlow replied. He bent down and picked up some microscopic fragment to place in an evidence bag.

“There’s also something to be said for not putting thirty-thousand people at risk of attack by a serial killer,” Jenkins said sourly.

“Don’t get ahead of yourself, Jenkins.” Marlow coughed and looked down at the beheaded corpse. “Sorry. Poor taste. Nevertheless, there’s no evidence at all this is a serial. It’s one killing. Unexpectedly violent, of course, but still just one.”

“This wasn’t passion,” Jenkins said. “Nobody walks around in a con like this with a weapon big enough to take someone’s head off cleanly without meaning to use it. They also must have studied the weapons-check procedures enough to get it through security without notice. I don’t think someone would go through all that trouble just to off one random sap in a back hallway.”

“It’s still dangerous to jump to conclusions,” Marlow protested.

“And just as dangerous not to trust your instincts.”