I am still unsure of the resolution of this book.
Yet, I think I might be right about there being two different mysteries. I think the matter of the anonymous letters and Hattie’s death have nothing to do with Laura’s assault.
Barbara Hewitt talks to Nate about a message she got from an anonymous sender. Inside the envelope there was a torn page from a newspaper. At first she didn’t think much of it, but then she realised that some letters in the newspaper article were marked, and when she wrote them on a piece of paper, she discovered a message: “I know who you are, and you have what is mine.” Barbara confesses to Nate and later to Annie that she is not the real Barbara Hewitt. Barbara studied with her in Kansas to become teachers, but then Barbara had to leave when her mother died. Then she married Bobby, who was her father’s ranch hand. When locusts destroyed their farm, financial strain changed Bobby, and they decided to part ways, so she went with the Hewitts, working for them. It is then that the real Barbara Hewitt’s sister told her she could take her sister’s identity and use her teaching certificate, and that is how she got her first teaching position. She did it for Jamie, and now she is afraid that the truth gets uncovered and Jamie learns something Barbara doesn’t want him to know. After this revelation, I think that the person who assaulted Laura and sent this message to Barbara must be her husband, who now wants his son back. I imagine that in the fog the man confused Laura with Barbara, especially as he only saw her from the back. If the man is Barbara’s husband, I wonder why he hasn’t contacted her directly and uses these subterfuges and threats instead. Now Dandy, the dog, is acting strange, sensing that someone is watching the house and even following Jamie, so this proves that I might be right.
As for the other matter, my suspicions that the person behind the letters is Della Thorndike. When Laura and Annie go to the theatre with Nate, they see Della on another balcony with Andrew. So my guess is that she is in love with Andrew and therefore jealous of Hattie. Maybe she wanted Andrew for herself and when her threatening letters only managed to get her quit her position in the school but not her relationship with Andrew, she decided to kill her. That is a bit extreme, but I think it is a good motive. What I don’t understand is why she wrote those letters in connection with Mrs Anderson. Maybe she just doesn’t like Mrs Anderson because of her flirty nature, and she wants her out of the school, especially as she seems to think that Jonathan Frazier, another applicant for the post, was more qualified.
As for Annie and Nate, things are becoming a bit strained. I think the problem is that they don’t talk to each other about what worries them. Nate is insecure, thinking that Annie might not love him as much as her husband. On her part, Annie is worried about the future of their relationship. With Hattie’s miscarriage, she keeps thinking about her own miscarriage and wondering if she will be able to have children. This is something that makes her sad because she fears Nate won’t want her if she can’t give him children. Thankfully, she finally talks to Beatrice, and for the first time in her life she tells someone about her miscarriage and her fears. Beatrice is a sensible woman and makes her see sense. Beatrice tells her that there are lots of women who after miscarriage managed to have plenty of children, and she also reveals that the reason why her mother only had a child, Annie, is because she had a weak heart and her doctor advised her not to have any more children. So Annie’s fears are unfounded. I just hope that she and Nate talk about their worries and finally tell each other what they feel and want for their future.