There is a moment, recognisable to an experienced operative, when, after weeks of preparation and cultivation, months of effort, years even, an operation flickers into life, when the hard little bead of possibility breaks open to reveal the actual. A journalist knows the moment, too, that second when the shape of the story starts to show itself, its scope, its layers of meaning. The moment may come with the acquisition of a specific piece of information, or the making of a connection, or an event. Or it may be something far smaller, an inconsistency, a gesture, a look on someone's face that tells of a lie.
Adam Brookes, The Spy's Daughter, page 162