After all his investigations and talking to Matilde, Pedro summons D Florian, the head marshal, D Raimundo, the Marquis of Gibalbín, and D Alejo, the priest. Concerned, the three men get together, and D Florián and D Raimundo know all the other witnesses except for Matilde, and when the priest arrives, he begrudgingly confesses everything. He tells them about Matilde being his mistress and how he told her everything.
When the priest goes, the two men think that they need to stop Matilde from speaking. So D Raimundo gives his instructions to find out where Matilde is and do whatever it takes to stop her. Matilde is staying in Anton’s house, using the attic room his parents have. D Alejo has been asking after her in the bakery, and when Anton tells her that they need to do something about the priest, she insists he will get tired eventually. The problem is that Matilde hasn’t told Anton the whole truth about her relationship with D Alejo as she fears she will lose her boyfriend. Then Andrés Caputo turns up at the bakery, asking about Matilde as well, and when she asks Matilde, the girl naturally says she doesn’t know who he is. Andres even knocks at the house, making up an excuse, but he only sees Anton’s parents. When Anton realises that this man could be a danger, he knows Matilde can’t go on living there, so he takes her to the house of his boss, Maese Mateo, and she stays there one night, but the following day Maese Mateo thinks that it is not safe here either, and one of his daughters takes Matilde to her aunt’s house. Thankfully, Andres Caputo fails in his attempts to locate and kill Matilde.
Andrés, D Florian and D Raimundo think that Matilde must have gone away, so it will be impossible to find her. So their next plan is to stop Pedro. So the day that Pedro is going to visit Matilde, he realises that someone is following him. When he turns and sees the man, he instantly knows that this is the man who killed Jacinto and his family. Realising he is in danger, Pedro gives up the idea of visiting Matilde, and since he is near the house where Catalina and Saturnino, his first case in the book, live, he goes there to ask for help. Saturnino takes him to Tomás de la Cruz, the marshal who he is friends with. Pedro tells him about his problem, so the man comes up with an idea. Pedro and Saturnino leave Tomas’s house, and Andres follows them, but he doesn’t know that Tomás is behind him. When Pedro and Saturnino reach a lonely street, Andrés is ready to attack him, but then there is a big bang, and Andres collapses onto the ground. Andres has shot him in the arm with his gun, and he arrests him.
Then comes the trial. As soon as the judge speaks, Pedro has a request. He wants Andrés Caputo to testify as he tells the judge, he believe he is the real killer of Jacinto and his wife. The judge is not happy with the way Pedro handles his defence, so he simply says that he will think about it and let him know in due course. Then the witnesses take the stand. Pedro skilfully manages to create reasonable doubt when he questions why Diego should leave his handkerchief under Jacinto’s mattress if he is really the killer. He also questions how the bloody dagger didn’t stain the white clothes that were in the drawer where it was found, which means the dagger was put there much later.
When Pedro calls to the stand his relative D Francisco de Camacho, he sees D Nicolas, the chief magistrate, to arrive. D Francisco relates how they discovered the fake paintings and D Pedro manages to explain to the court that this is the reason why Jacinto was killed. The sexton must have discovered the facts and blackmailed the men involved. Pedro knows that his next card must be Matilde because so far what D Francisco has told the court are just conjectures. Yet, when he is going to call Matilde, the judge says that the court will be adjourned until the next day, and even though Pedro protests, there is nothing he can do.
Later that day Pedro has a bad feeling. Then someone knocks at his door, and when he answers, he finds two marshals, telling him that he needs to come and see the chief magistrate, D Nicolas. When he reaches the place, D Francisco de Mesa, the canon, and Diego. They are taken to a room where there is not only D Nicolas, but also the judge and some important men in the city, including D Florián, the chief marshal, and d Raimundo, the Marquis of Gibalbín. D Nicolas tells them that the following day Diego will be acquitted. Something weird is going on, and Pedro realises that this is the way these powerful men are doing to protect themselves. D Nicolás tells them that Andrés Caputo confessed to the crime after being tortured, so Diego will be declared innocent and it will be as if nothing had happened. These words confirm Pedro’s suspicions, and he is not ready to give in without a fight. He wants the trial to continue and those who committed the crimes will be judged and punished. D Nicolas argues that, telling him that Andrés Caputo has died after being tortured, so there is no need for another trial. What Pedro wants is for those who ordered him to kill Jacinto to pay for their crimes, but these men are protected by power. Pedro protests energetically, but he is in the losing end. So even though Diego is acquitted, he doesn’t feel this has been a victory.
The epilogue tells us what happens to the different characters:
D Raimundo and D Florian swear they contacted the buyer of the paintings and bought them back and replaced them. Pedro is not sure if that is true or not, but there is no use in investigating any further when his queries won’t lead anywhere.
It is interesting how these two men got their comeuppance in the end, but in a different way. D Florián was replaced in his post, and shortly afterwards he fell off his horse and died.
As for D Raimundo, we learn that his wife finally got pregnant after many years, and when the effects of the eathquake of Lisbon were felt in the town, a piece of balcony fell on the woman, killing her. D Raimundo didn’t shed any tears for his wife, but he did for the son he wanted.
D Alejo was sent to a enclosed monastery where the monks take a vow of silence. He is very miserable, painfully remembering his Matilde.
Matilde and Anton get engaged and married.
Pedro are also engaged to be married. Pedro had asked her to marry him a while ago, and in the epilogue they are formally engaged, and they discuss where they will marry. Adela would like the ceremony to be in St Dionisio, which is a smaller, nice church, but her mother wants the wedding to take place in St Miguel, which is bigger and more majestic. I have started the second book of this series, and maybe we’ll see Pedro and Adela’s wedding, or maybe in this second book, they will already be married.
I can’t say enough times how much I have enjoyed this book. I think it is the best book I have read in the last months. As I have already mentioned, I’ve already started the second book, which I bet will be as fascinating as this one.