The Hiding Places 4 (Chapters 5 – 7)

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SPOILERS!!!

The police – Superintendent Blackman and Constable Pete Dempsey – believe that Donny killed Alistair, and they do not try to find any other suspects. We know that Alistair was killed by the Tanners, but it is not certain if it was the father Isaac Tanner who killed him or one of his sons. Clemmie knows that Alistair was killed because the Tanners had broken into to rob the mill, and she struggles with her conscience how to act. In any case, she is unable to communicate what she knows as she can’t speak and has been unable to learn to read. In any case, she feels unable to betray the man who she loves, Eli, and even if she could talk, she wouldn’t be able to say anything. Now things will become difficult for her as she is pregnant, and now her sisters have found out. I wonder what will happen with poor Clemmie. Will her family kick her out as Trish Tanner predicted some days before? And will she be forced to live with the Tanners? The prospects are not very good for her.

Pudding is determined to prove her brother’s innocence. She even accuses Irene of murdering Alistair for her inheritance in front of the police, Irene herself and Nancy. Constable Dempsey doesn’t take her seriously, but he questions Pudding some days later, telling her that maybe the reason why Donny murdered Alistair was because Irene seduced him into killing her husband for her. So in the end Pudding realises that her accusation, which she later realises is groundless, helps Donny little as the police have already judged him.

The day of Alistair’s funeral Irene bears the day as well as she can. The rumour that Pudding accused her has spread, and the locals know she didn’t love her husband as she should. Even Alistair’s friend Cora blames her for what has happened to Alistair. Later that evening Irene finds shelter in the living room and starts drinking. Fuelled by alcohol, she decides to venture outside and as she walks by the cemetery, she sees someone. It is Pudding, and when Pudding sees her, the two women talk, and Pudding apologises for accusing her that day. Irene invites her to the house, and as they sip some hot cocoa, Irene tells her about her story with Fin. Irene explains that she had an affair with a married man, and they were going to elope, but Fin stood her up at the station. When Irene went to his apartment, Serena was there and humiliated while Fin didn’t do anything for her. Pudding is shocked and outraged on her behalf, but she says that Fin didn’t seem to love her as much as he claimed.

Irene then says that now she thinks that Donny didn’t kill Alistair. Then she tells her about her hunches and the feelings she had since she came to the village. First, there was the doll found in the fireplace in her study; then the visit to Ma Tanner and her prediction that the doll meant change, and then the fire in the living room that Nancy and the servants claimed nobody had lit. Pudding says that they need to prove that Donny didn’t kill Alistair and asks Irene for help. The woman hesitates, but then a few days later she goes to find Pudding to tell her that she will help her.

One suspect is Isaac Tanner, but he has a airtight alibi. The owner of the local pub claims that he was so drunk that he passed out in his back room and he was there the following morning. Irene and Pudding go there to ask the man who only confirms what the police know. Irene also goes to talk to the foreman and enquiries about Tanner’s dismissal. The man tells her that Alistair had fired Tanner but promised to reinstate him as long as she stays sober for one month, which is what he has also done several times before. So Irene realises that there was no acrimony and Tanner had no more reasons to kill Alistair than other previous times. I am curious to know if Tanner really killed Alistair or maybe it was someone else. Why does Irene say that the groom Hilarius gives her a bad feeling? Could the man be involved in the murder? And what about Eli? Is he guilty of something?

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