I emailed the agent to ask how the reading of the crime novel was going. She's hoping to be in touch next week, after reading the manuscript. So that's put my worst fear into touch, that she'd read it already and was figuring how to tell me, nicely, that it stinks. Of course she may still tell me that, next week. But for now I have back a glimmer of hope, the tiny seam of a silver lining.