There are some surprises in this novel that I didn’t expect, but I suspected the real killer.
Ruth confronts her friend Shona about what Cathbad told her. Shona admits that it is true; she and Erik had an affair and she thought she loved him. According to Shona, this is something that Erik does, and even his wife Magda had a toyboy in Norway. That is how their marriage works.
Feeling disappointed and hurt, Ruth goes to her cottage, and as a way to comfort herself, she gets hold of the book that Erik gave her long ago. She looks at the dedication that reads ‘To my best student’, and then an alarm goes off in her mind. Grabbing the letters received by Nelson, she realises that the handwriting is the same. Trying to confirm her fears, she rushes back to Shona’s, and as she is telling her about her suspicions that Erik wrote the letters, she notices the T.S. Elliot’s books, and it dawns on her that Erik couldn’t have used any quotations from Elliott without any help since he is not fond of the poet. So Ruth blurts out that she thinks Shona helped Erik. The woman doesn’t try to deny it, and she explains that Erik did write those letters to Nelson because he hated him. He blamed him for the death of his former student, James Agar. Nelson arrested her for the murder of a policeman, and Erik thought that Nelson had framed James, and when he was found guilty and sent to prison, he committed suicide. When the case of the missing girl was made public, Erik wanted Nelson to fail, and that was why he wrote those letters to divert the course of justice and show Nelson off. Now Ruth wonders if Erik is also a murderer.
Ruth calls Nelson and tells her what she now knows. Nelson goes to arrest Erik, but he is gone, and nobody knows where he is. Ruth is advised to go and stay somewhere else, so she decides to go to her parents’. She is left in her cottage to pack, and when is ready to leave, she is surprised by Erick turning up. Fearing that he has come to kill her, Ruth storms out of the house. It is dark outside, and she doesn’t know where she is going. Reaching the flatmuds, she keeps going, and then she stumbles upon a wall. She realises that there is something under the bird hide, and she jumps into it. Discovering a trapdoor, she opens it and discovers that there is someone there, a girl. At once, she realises that the girl must be Lucy, and the girl confirms it. Lucy is scared and wary, but Ruth manages to persuade her to trust her. Ruth manages to get her out of the basement, and as they try to leave the place, she hears footsteps and a man appears. It is David, and Ruth is momentarily relieved, but when Lucy screams at the top of her lungs, she realises that David is the abductor. Ruth speaks to him, and he admits that he killed Scarlet because she was being difficult. The reason why she had kidnapped her is because he wanted Lucy to have some company, but Scarlet turned out to be difficult to deal with, so he killed her.
Using a distraction, both Ruth and Lucy manage to run away from him. Ruth fears she is going to die as the storm is quite fierce and the water is close. Thankfully, Nelson, who Cathbad told him that he could help him find Erik, is there, and eventually Ruth and Lucy reach safety while David falls to the sea and is drowned. Later Ruth also learns that Erick also drowned and his body was washed up on the beach.
Lucy is reunited with her parents, and later Nelson narrates how heartbreaking the moment was. In the last chapter Ruth reflects that what happened with Lucy made her reconsider her opinions about her mother. She has been too harsh with her so far, and now she understands better. The book leaves us with a big surprise. Ruth is pregnant!!! That means that she got pregnant when she slept with Nelson. Oh Gosh! She mentions that she will have to tell him, but what will this mean for her and Nelson, who is married and already has a family?