U is for Undertow 3 (Chapters 9 – 14)

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SPOILERS!!!

Even though what they found in the area was the remains of a dog, Kinsey is still curious. Her interest isn’t curtailed when Diana, Sutton’s sister, who happens to be the reporter she saw on the site, comes to see her and tells her that her brother has a history as a fantasist. When he was young, he was strange and a doctor advised their parents to take him to a therapist. The psychologist made him believe that he had suffered sexual abuse, and he accused his parents of abusing him. They suffered a lot until they decided to cut ties with their son, but shortly afterwards Sutton’s father died and then his mother. Diana is bitter about her brother. Kinsey listens to her but tells herself that she won’t let her influence her opinion, and then she just asks her to leave.

Despite what she knows about Sutton and the discovery of the dog at the site, Kinsey is curious. So she finds a telephone number on the tag that Cheney had handed her. In the library she finds an address and goes to talk to the man. She finds it strange that someone who lives fifteen miles away would bury their dog where it was found. The man who talks to her, Flannagan, tells her that the dog was a wolf-dog and belonged to his son, who died in a motorbike accident. The dog stayed with him, but started having some problems with his hip. So he took him to a veterinary in Santa Teresa, who told him that what the dog had was cancer, so Flannagan told him to take care of him and put him to sleep.

Flannagan promises to fish for the vet’s name as Kinsey takes her leave. She returns to her office and when she packs it in for the day, Sutton is waiting for her and wants to talk. Even though Kinsey had told herself that what Diana had said wouldn’t influence her, in truth she knows she is reluctant to believe anything that Sutton had come to tell her. Sutton says that when they were waiting for the police the night before, there was a man hanging around there who he thought he had seen before, and then he realised that he reminded him of the pirates (which is what the men had told him when he was six). Sutton comes up with a preposterous explanation about the body of Mary Claire to be replaced with that of the dog. Now he believes that if the men have learnt that Sutton was making accusations, he could end up dead. Kinsey thinks that his story is too far-fetched and tries to tell him that there is no way anybody could know anything. But as he drives away, Kinsey mentions that two days later Sutton will be found with a shot in his forehead.

It is true that the man Sutton saw had something to hide. The man’s name is Walker McNally, and when he was on his way home, he saw the police cars. Out of curiosity he stopped the car, and an acquaintance told her that the police were digging up something in the ravine. In the end, he also learnt that it was a false alarm. Yet, when he got home, he phoned someone called Jon, and expressed his worried, and he said that the police had found ‘the dog’, so that means that he knew there was a dog there. Jon tells him not to worry and calm down at home while his wife and children are away with his in-laws. Walker had had some drinking problems, but had cut down on the drinking because of his wife. Since she was away, he had bought a good cache of spirits.

After that scene, Walker wakes up to find a woman and his wife. He has been involved in an accident, but doesn’t remember a thing. When his wife returns later, she tells him that he has killed a girl. He was completely drunk as he crashed his car into one being driven by a nineteen-year-old girl. Carolyn, Walker’s wife, is livid and won’t forgive him. She wants a divorce even though Walker begs him to forgive him. The only thing she does is to send him a  lawyer to help him with the charges that he is going to face up to.

Later that day Kinsey gets a call from Flannagan, who tells her that the vet’s name was Walter McNally. Kinsey remembers she went to the same classes as his son, Walker, but they weren’t friends. Walker was a popular and wild boy, going through girls and alcohol as if there was no end. Kinsey remembers he also dealt with drugs. There were two girls who she associates with him, one of whom got pregnant and the other one died as she fell from the balcony of a fraternity house. Kinsey calls the number for Walker, and his wife tells her that he is at work in the bank. Despite the curtness of the woman, Kinsey tries to get information about Walter, her father-in-law, but all she gets is that the man is retired and is still in town, but when she mentions she is a private detective, the woman hangs up. I am curious. Did Walker and his chum Jon kidnapped and killed Mary Claire? But what did they do with the body? And why did they bury the dog where they did? Maybe Walker’s father buried the dog, and then they dug it up and placed the body of Mary Claire there and buried the dog where it was found twenty one years later? And do Walker and his friend kill Sutton? And why?

Apart from that, Kinsey finds a woman in her seventies waiting for her. She tells her that her name is Bettina Thurgood, and she wants the photo album that her aunt Susanna sent her some time ago. Apparently, her cousin Tasha wants the photographs as she will exhibit them in the family cocktail Kinsey has been invited to. Bettina tells Kinsey that she was the one who sent the album, not her aunt Susanna. Apparently, her grandmother asked her to send the album, but now she has forgotten, and everybody is desperate trying to locate the album. Kinsey has no problems returning the album, but then she is shocked to learn that Bettina is an orphan who her grandparents took in, and she wasn’t the only one. As the woman explains this, she can’t help but sound bitter to say that she was also an orphan and her grandparents never bothered with her. Bettina tries to tell her that she already had someone, her aunt Ginny, and she is right. But I can understand Kinsey feeling rejected and unloved.

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