U is for Undertow 4 (Chapters 15 – 21)

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Kinsey continues investigating. She finally manages to talk to Walter McNally, Walker’s father, and the man remembers the dog and his diagnosis. His owner gave him the consent to putting him to sleep. According to Walter, the normal procedure was to leave the animals for the council to take care of them, and they were usually incinerated. Kinsey learns that the the council picked up the dead animals from a back room, and she realises that anybody could have taken the dog from there. Now she wonders whether Sutton is right; his theory is that when he intercepted the men who claimed to be pirates, they got scared and decided to replace Mary Claire’s body with the dog’s. What she wonders now is why to bury it there in the first place.

Kinsey returns and talks to the neighbour, Felix, who let her and Sutton have a look around. The man tells him that the property where the dog was found belonged to Deborah and Patrick Unruh, but they moved to Los Angeles all of a sudden. Felix has heard that after Patrick was killed in a plane accident, Deborah has returned to town, but he hasn’t seen her. The person who should know more is another neighbour, Avis Jent, who is the woman Walker talked to when the police was digging up the dog. Avis tells Kinsey that she can put her in touch with Deborah, and she surprises her by saying that Deborah’s granddaughter was abducted before Mary Claire and Deborah always thought that she had been their practice child.

Kinsey then meets Deborah, who tells her about Greg and Shelly absconding and leaving their daughter with them. Five years later when she didn’t get any news from either of them, she and Patrick initiated procedures and adopted Rain. They were very happy, and then Greg and Shelly turned up all of a sudden. What they wanted was the money that Greg’s grandfather had left him in trust, but Greg couldn’t touch the money until he was thirty. So what Greg suggests is that his father could lend him the money as he and Shelly wanted to buy a farm, work the land, and set a commune there. Patrick realised that his son didn’t even know what he was talking about and financing his half-baked dream would be a ruin, so he refused to give him the money.

Deborah explains that they left a week later in a huff. A few days later Rain was abducted and the kidnappers demanded a ransom of $15,000. Patrick and Deborah paid because they were desperate, and Rain was returned to them. Then a week later Mary Claire was kidnapped. Deborah thinks that Greg and Shelly are behind both abductions, as the total of the money from both abductions was the money that they wanted, that is, $40,000. Deborah tells Kinsey that she can talk to Shawn, Shelly’s little boy, who now has his own business, and Rain, who is coming to see Deborah that week. Kinsey is not sure that Deborah’s son and Shelly are the ones who kidnapped both children because in that case, Sutton would have recognised Greg as their families were best friends. Deborah mentions that some friends of theirs who might have been involved as during those weeks they were on their property, she could hear some people coming and going because of the dope that Greg might have been selling, and one on a motorbike.

This last idea makes me think that this is the link that connects them to Walker and his friend Jon. In the chapter about Jon we learn that when he was thirteen, his mother died, and that traumatized as he was all alone with her. A couple of years later his father married another woman, and he didn’t take it well because the woman wasn’t kind to him, and his father never took his side. As a consequence, he didn’t bother to study, so he had to change schools, and in his new school he met Walker. The two of them weren’t up to no good, and Jon enjoyed breaking into some of the houses in the ravine as he got to know when they were away and where they had their keys.  Jon had a motorbike, so that is what makes me think that he was one of the people visiting Greg and Shelly. Also, Jon smoked dope, and Walker sold it, so maybe Walker became Greg’s dealer when they were in Santa Teresa.

Apart from this, Kinsey gets to learn more about her relatives. Her cousin Tasha calls her and they meet. Tasha gives Kinsey a manila envelope where she finds a bunch of letters from her grandmother to her aunt Gilly, and she recognises her aunt’s handwritten ‘address unknown’. It seems that her grandmother tried to have some kind of relationship with them, but it was her aunt who stopped that possibility. Tasha also found some invoices for a private detective, and she thinks that maybe their grandmother hired him to find Aunt Gilly and Kinsey. This news is shocking for Kinsey as she was determined to loathe her grandmother, but it seems that things are not as she thought. Kinsey keeps the letter as she wants to read them without Tasha hovering over her. I am curious to read what these letters said.


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