RATING: VERY GOOD
Kinsey arranges to meet the Bethels. Laddie is alone when Kinsey arrives, and they start talking about what she found out. Laddie is in denial, refusing to admit that she had an affair with Duncan Oaks. When Mark Bethel turns up, Kinsey becomes blunter, accusing him of killing Duncan Oaks, and Benny Quintero, and Laddie then blurts out that she made a mistake, confirming Kinsey’s suspicions that she and Duncan had a fling. THen when the tape recorder she has in her bag makes a noise, Mark knows that their conversation had been recorded, and Kinsey knows she has been caught. When Malcolm, the couple’s son, appears, Kinsey realises that the mistake Laddie mentions had more repercussions as it is clear that Malcolm is Duncan’s son.
Using Malcolm as an excuse, Kinsey leaves, but when she is in her car, she realises that Mark is following her. The detectives who were keeping watch on her are no help as they are being questioned by some local cops who Mark called when he noticed the car and the two men outside his property. As Kinsey drives, she can tell that she won’t get rid of Mark easily. To protect the tape she has recorded, she pulls it out of the recorder and inserts a blank one she kept in her glove compartment. Kinsey gets to the nursery where Duffy is and runs to the shed. She finds the dog tags and the photograph and hides them in her pocket. Mark follows her there and threatens her with a gun. Kinsey hands him the tape, which he destroys, and then he asks her for the photograph and the dog tags, but Kinsey claims she doesn’t have. During this confrontation Mark confesses that he did kill Duncan. In Vietnam he was hurt as well as Duncan and Benny. They were airlifted in a helicopter, and during the flight Mark decided to push Duncan out of the chopper. Benny saw him do it, and after the war, Benny found him and tried to blackmail him. That is why Mark talked to Mike so that he could dissuade the man to leave him alone, and that was why Mickey and Benny had that confrontation at the pub. Yet, it was Mark, who later found Benny and caused his death. It is only recently that Mickey tried to find out the truth after Duffy came to find him, and when he was close to the truth, Mark shot him.
As Mark explains everything to Kinsey and points his gun to her, she sees Duffy behind Mark. Then the next thing she knows Duffy bursts into the shed with a tractor. Kinsey and Mark run, and Mark gets into his car, but it won’t start as Duffy must have tampered with the engine. Then Duffy goes towards the car, using the tractor and crushing the car, and when Mark tries to escape, Duffy directs the tractor against him and kills him.
In the epilogue Kinsey tells us about the aftermath of the case. Duffy was arrested and found guilty of manslaughter. Tim and Scott from the Tomky Tonk, the pub, were also charged with forfeiting documents. Mickey eventually died, which was quite sad. I would have liked to see Mickey and Kinsey getting reacquainted, but at least, she did her best to make it up to him for the past. Mickey hadn’t changed his will in years, and Kinsey was her only beneficiary. She got a good lump of money which she donated to the police department.
I enjoyed the book. I like the novels that tell us more about Kinsey and her personal life. This was an interesting exploration of her past, and I loved the mystery. I didn’t guess who the killer was!