I have to say that I didn’t suspect who the culprit was until the very end. I was wrong to suspect that Margaret’s husband killed his father-in-law and then Toth. It was Ritter’s crimes who was what triggered the murders. Kinsey is convinced that Tom was upset because he found out that one of his colleagues was responsible for these deaths. Then she discovers where Tom’s notebook is. She guesses that Barrett, Rafe’s daughter, talked to Tom that night, and he gave her his notebook. I find this detail a bit baffling. I didn’t get the feeling that Tom had any special relationship with Barrett other than she had dated Brant. I find it strange that Tom confided Barrett. Kinsey bluffs and makes Barrett think that she knows more than she does. Barrett admits to having the notebook and agrees to give it to Kinsey.
In the notebook she realizes that the important information is in code, and however much she tries to find the key to the code, she can’t. Then Brant appears, claiming that Rafe is the person Tom was upset about. He insists that Rafe knew that Ritter had raped Barrett while Toth didn’t do anything to stop him. Kinsey is convinced that Brant is telling the truth, but then she sees his wrist with the mark of the iron when she tried to defend herself from her attacker. That makes her see clearly, and she realizes that the key for the code in the notebook spells Brant. She understands that was the reason why Tom was so upset. Brant was a killer, and Tom was in a quandary. Kinsey realizes that she has been drugged, and nobody is going to help her. So she hides from Brant and when he tries to find her, she appears, hitting him and handcuffing him.
Then Selma turns up, and when she sees Brant handcuffed, she realizes the truth. Yet, Selma is not ready to lose her son, so she points at Kinsey with her son’s gun, and she even shoots. However, the shot is defective and Selma ends up injured. During her investigation she also learnt about a case of a woman killing her husband and claiming that it had been a mistake as the gun was defective. Later it was discovered that there was a life insurance in the name of the woman, and she had a lover whose name was never discovered. In this instant Kinsey realizes that the woman’s lover was Brant. I find this last detail a bit unnecessary. This extra crime doesn’t add anything to the story, and I can’t see the relevance of a detail that was mentioned in the novel almost in passing.
I have to say I enjoyed the novel. I like Kinsey and the way she acts and behaves. She can be a bit curt, but I like how she is a non-nonsense woman. In this novel I also like the lesson Kinsey and Selma learn. Curiosity killed the cat, and that is what happened to Selma. If she had let matters alone, she wouldn’t have been any the wiser, and nobody would have accused her son of anything. Now she ends up alone, her son in jail, and she even has to leave town.