The book opens by letting us know that Tallulah Murray suffers from arachnophobia (fear of spiders) and that she’s “in the dark”.
Chapters 1 – 5
June 2017. Kim Knox, 39, is watching her daughter Tallulah’s 1-year-old baby, Noah. Tallulah, 19, is out with the baby’s father, Zach Allister, also 19. Tallulah and Zach had broken up for a while after Tallulah first found out about the pregnancy, but now they’re back together.
When Kim wakes at 4:20 AM, they’re still not home. Kim tries calling both Tallulah and Zach, but it goes to voicemail repeatedly. Eventually, Kim contacts Zach’s mother, Megs. They call around and learn that the two of them went off with someone named Scarlett Jacques who Tallulah knows from college.
In Tallulah’s things, Kim find Scarlett’s contact information, but Scarlett says they left her house — a place called “Dark Place” — at 3:00 AM. Soon, Kim’s son Ryan gets back from work at the grocer’s. He suggests driving over to Scarlett’s place to take a look.
August 2018. Sophie Beck, an author of detective novels, arrives with her boyfriend Shaun Gray at the Maypole House, a private remedial boarding school owned by a company called Magenta for students who have flunked their school exams. They are greeted by Peter Doody, who runs the place.
Shaun is the new head teacher at Maypole. Shaun, in his forties, and Sophie, 34, have been together for six months. Shaun has a set of twins, Jack and Lily, with his ex-wife Pippa. Sophie has uprooted her life in London to be with him here in this quaint village in Surrey Hills.
As Sophie surveys their surroundings, she spots a piece of cardboard in the garden nailed to the fence. It says “Dig Here” in marker with an arrow pointing downwards. She feels a sense of déjà vu that she has seen this before, but can’t remember where.
The next morning, with Shaun at work, Kerryanne Mulligan, the school matron, shows up at their cottage to welcome Sophie. Kerryanne says her daughter Alexandra Rose “Lexie”
Mulligan, comes around sometimes.
She also warns Sophie that it’s easy to get lost in the woods nearby. Through the woods, you can get to a hamlet called Upley Fold (to the left) or a large house called Dark Place (straight), which is empty and owned by a hedge-fund manager and his wife. Their daughter, Scarlett, was a former Maypole student.
Chapters 5 – 13
September – December 2016. Tallulah and Scarlett are first-year students at the Manton College of Further Education, a local college in Manton. Tallulah is studying to be a social worker while Scarlett is studying Fine Art. Scarlett hangs out with a group of friends, all fellow rich kids who previously attended Maypole. A month later, Scarlett chats with Tallulah as they wait for the bus to campus. Scarlett then joins her friends when the bus arrives, while Tallulah sits alone.
In December, Tallulah heads to a college Christmas party with her friend Chloe Minter, which has been planned by the “cool kids” (Scarlett and her friends). At the party, Tallulah ditches Chloe to drink and dance with Scarlett. Eventually, they end up chatting outside about their lives and families. As Scarlett comments on how pretty Tallulah is, they are interrupted by Scarlett’s friends, Amelia “Mimi” Rhodes and Roo.
June 2017. What they arrive at Dark Place (named after a dark section of the house that burned), Kim and Ryan are greeted by Scarlett’s mother, Joss. Upon questioning, Scarlett says her friend Mimi was also there around the time they left last night. Lexi had been there earlier, too, but left.
Kim has already called the cab companies nearby who all say they didn’t pick up anyone from Dark Place, so Ryan suggests that perhaps they tried walking. Joss asks her son Rex to see if he can figure out how to look at the security camera footage, and she promises to call if they find anything. Afterwards, Kim drops Noah off with Zach’s mom while she and Ryan spend the next two hours scouring the woods behind the Dark Place.
Next, Kim reaches out to Kerryanne asking to talk to her daughter Lexie. Lexie confirms she was at Scarlett’s house last night and saw them. They’d all been at a bar, the Swan & Ducks, but a bunch of them ended up at Scarlett’s. Lexie was the only sober one, so she stayed to keep an eye on everyone while they were drunkenly swimming in the pool. When they all went inside, Lexie went home, sharing a cab with Liam John Bailey, Scarlett’s ex-boyfriend and a guy who works as a teaching assistant at Maypole.
Kim then wonders if Tallulah and Zach had gotten into a fight. She’d found a ring in Zach’s jacket pocket and assumed he was going to propose to Tallulah last night. However, Tallulah had been reluctant to back together with Zach for a long time since he’d originally freaked out when he’d first learned about the pregnancy. Kim wonders if Zach had proposed and Tallulah had said no, and whether he could’ve responded poorly to that. Later, Ryan confirms that Zach did say he was planning on proposing, but didn’t say when.
That night, Kim files a missing persons report for Tallulah and Zach, and the next morning Detective Inspector Dominic “Dom” McCoy shows up to investigate.
August 2018. Despite the warning about the woods, Sophie is outdoorsy and eagerly sets off to explore. She eventually comes across the empty and huge Dark Place. She snaps a quick photograph. Later that night, Shaun and Sophie go over to Kerryanne’s apartment. Sophie talks about how she writes a series of detective novels (the Little Hither Green Detective Agency) under the pen name P. J. Fox. Kerryanne then tells Sophie they have their own mystery around here — last year the police had searched the woods a few times for some missing people.
The next day, Sophie researches what Kerryanne had mentioned about the missing persons. She comes across some articles about the disappearances of Tallulah and Zach. In one, it mentions that Tallulah’s mother planted a rose bush near the bus stop (“where Kim Knox used to watch her daughter as she waited for the bus to take her to college”) in Tallulah’s memory. Sophie goes to see it, gathering that Kim must live near there.
Next, she goes to the Swan & Ducks where Tallulah and Zach had been that night. As she orders a cappuccino, she recognizes (based off of newspaper photos) that the woman making the coffee is Kim Knox, Tallulah’s mother. While she’s tempted to ask questions, Sophie wants to respect Kim’s privacy and leaves after finishing her coffee.
Afterwards, Sophie heads towards the currently empty house in Dark Place. Behind the front door is a splay of unopened mail. She uses a wire hangar to reach under the door and grab one, seeing that it’s addressed to “Mr Martin J. Jacques”. She then pushes it back under the door. (A later Google search reveals that he and his wife are now separated, and Martin is now living in Dubai.)
Back at her cottage, Sophie decides to dig at the spot marked “Dig Here”. After a while, her trowel hits something. It turns out to be a ring box containing an engagement ring. Later, when she cleans it, she sees the box is labelled “Mason & Son Fine Jewellery, Manton, Surrey“.
Chapters 14 – 22
January – February 2017. On Christmas, Tallulah’s father Jim comes to see them. Later, Zach comes over. Tallulah and Zach have been broken up since Zach learned about the pregnancy, but he’s been coming over to see baby Noah. Tonight, Tallulah is reminded of how comfortable they are together, and Zach expresses regret over his past behavior and asks for another chance. Tallulah resists at first, but she eventually gives in and they exchange “I love you”s.
Kim is pleased that Tallulah and Zach are back together. Meanwhile, Tallulah finds herself wanting to talk to Scarlett again after their chat at the Christmas party. She goes looking for her, but runs into Mimi instead. Mimi says that Scarlett isn’t returning to school, though no one knows why. A while later, Kim learns from friend of hers, Keziah Whitmore, that Scarlett lives in Dark Place, the big house in Upley Fold. Tallulah tries sending Scarlett an e-mail, but gets no response.
Tallulah loves how great Zach is with Noah and how much he coddles him. At the same time, she finds Zach’s attentions towards her a little overbearing. She realizes she appreciates him more as a father than a romantic partner. She tells her mom how she’s been feeling. One day, when he suggests that Tallulah drop out of college and do an easier job, she gets irritated with him. The next time Zach is out of the house, Tallulah heads toward Dark Place to find Scarlett.
June 2017. After DI McCoy leaves, Kim talks to Mimi. Mimi suggests that there was tension between Tallulah and Zach that night and that they might’ve had a fight.
Next, Kim goes to the Swan & Ducks. The guy behind the bar is Nick, a young out-of-work actor. Kim asks Nick if he was there on Friday night, and he says yes. He saw Tallulah and Zach there having a romantic evening. Then, they were interrupted by the louder, drunker Maypole group.
Afterwards, Kim goes to Chloe’s place, but Chloe says she hasn’t hung out with Tallulah since the night she saw Tallulah ditched her for Scarlett at the college Christmas party. Kim says Tallulah claimed to be hanging out with Chloe one night back in February, but Chloe says it definitely wasn’t her.
On Monday after the disappearance, Kim asks DI McCoy whether they’ll be searching the woods, and she tells him her theory about the two of them having gotten into a fight. He agrees to send a search party, which embarks later that day. Meanwhile, Megs is still skeptical that any of this is necessary, which angers Kim. Hours later, the search party comes up empty.
August 2018 – September 2018. Soon, things are gearing up at Maypole for the new term. At the Registration Day Dinner/Party, Liam introduces himself to Sophie, saying that he’s a former Maypole student and current classroom assistant. Eventually, Sophie asks Liam about the missing people from last year, and he says that he was there the night they disappeared but he didn’t see anything.
Sophie makes her way to Manton to find the Jewelry shop. The man there determines that the ring was purchased in June 2017 by Zach Allister for 350 pounds. The address listed is in Kim’s area. Sophie heads there next, and Kim answered the door. She explains to Kim how she found the ring and shows it to her along with a photo of the “Dig Here” sign. Kim thanks her sincerely, notes that the sign looks new and says they need to take this information to the police.
Unable to concentrate on work, Sophie goes to find Liam instead. She says she wants to ask him more about the disappearances, and he offers to come by her cottage. In the meantime, she does more research on Dark Place, which has a storied history with many colorful inhabitants. One historian notes that the house is rumored to have an escape tunnel that leads into the woods.
When Liam arrives, Sophie tells him about her discovery and asks him to tell her what he knows about that night.
Chapters 23 – 26
September 2018. Liam had been at Maypole for two years when Scarlett showed up mid-year in January one day. By February, they were dating and soon he was welcomed into her group of friends (Mimi, Roo, Jayden and Rocky). They dated for 18 months, and her family loved him. However, once Scarlett left Maypole for summer break and then college, they had less time together. By Christmas 2016, she’d broken up with him. He was heartbroken, but accepted it.
He was planning on going home to help with the family farm, but in January 2017, she’d called him asking him to please come over. She’d had some type of breakdown. After that, he’d accepted a position at Maypole to stay close to Scarlett. However, in summer 2017, she left again and didn’t ever come back.
As for that night in June 2017, Liam says Tallulah and Zach had seemed out of place there. Tallulah didn’t seem to want to be there, and Zach had been brooding about something. Tallulah wanted to leave with Liam and Lexie, but Zach had pulled her back into the chair and insisted they stay.
February 2017. Scarlett is surprised to see Tallulah when she shows up at her house, but she invites her in for tea. Scarlett has no interest in re-connecting with her friends, and asks Tallulah not to tell them about seeing her. When Tallulah asks Scarlett why she left, Scarlett answers vaguely. Afterwards, she shows her around the house. Then, after securing a promise to keep it secret, Scarlett reveals that she found the hidden tunnel passageway in her house, and she urges Tallulah to come check it out with her.
July 2017 – September 2018. Joss eventually reports to Kim that it turns out the security cameras were off that night, so they have no footage. Soon, Scarlett and her family leave the area permanently. Soon, Noah is walking and talking. Months pass. Noah turns two. Kim starts working at the bar. Then, in September 2018, Sophie shows up at Kim’s door after finding Zach’s ring. Afterwards, Kim calls DI McCoy to tell him there’s finally been a development.
Shortly after, DI McCoy shows up to talk to Sophie. He asks her about the ring, and she leads him where she found it. However, when they arrive, the cardboard sign (“Dig Here”) is now missing.
Chapters 27 – 32
February 2017. When Tallulah gets back from Scarlett’s house after briefly investigating the tunnel, she thinks back to a moment she and Scarlett shared when their hands were momentarily entwined together. Back in Zach’s arms, she feels repulsed by him. She also notices a hardness in his eyes as he questions what she’s been up to.
The next morning, Scarlett appears at the bus stop looking for Tallulah. They chat about random things on the bus, but Tallulah can tell something is wrong. Scarlett says that she’s just a “f*cked-up rich girl having a stupid crisis”. Later, Zach mentions that he saw them together at the bus stop, and they end up getting into an argument about how Tallulah never has time for him.
That night, Scarlett invites Tallulah to sleep over. As a result, Tallulah makes up an elaborate story about Chloe to create an excuse to sleep over at Scarlett’s place on Friday. Meanwhile, Tallulah still has not mentioned to Scarlett that she has an 8-month old baby. On Friday, Tallulah goes over. Scarlett tries to initiate something intimate between them, but Tallulah rebuffs her. It’s late though, so she sleeps over anyway. The next morning, Tallulah has a slew of angry messages from Zach. Before she leaves, she kisses Scarlett.
September 2018 (Kim). With the discovery of the ring, the woods are soon blocked off so the police can search it once again. Though the cardboard sign went missing, the photo Sophie took of it is sent off for analysis. DI McCoy suspects that someone planted that there to draw them back into the case for whatever reason.
Back at home, Kim tries to look up Scarlett and Joss, but there’s no sign of social media activity for them or any trace of Joss. Mimi’s number also returns a dead tone, as it has for the past year. Kim wonders why everyone who was there that night is gone without a trace. The only ones still around are the ones who left early: Lexie and Liam. Thinking about it, Kim suggests to DI McCoy that he should talk to Liam again.
Later, Kim talks to Megs to update her on the situation. When Megs suggests that perhaps the baby isn’t Zach’s which is why Zach left (and that Tallulah’s disappearance us a separate event), Kim hangs up on her.
September 2018 (Sophie). When Sophie sees Liam, he says the cops have just been questioning him again. Sophie and Liam agree to meet again another time to discuss things further.
With the police everywhere, Shaun is slightly upset that Sophie didn’t tell him anything that was going on. However, that night, Shaun sees how much effort Sophie has put into preparing for his kids to visit them that weekend, and his annoyance fades. Over dinner, Sophie thinks about how the next person to talk to should be Jacinta Croft, who had Peter Doody’s job (running Maypole) at the time of the disappearances.
The next day, Sophie goes to London to find Jacinta, who now heads up a large private girls’ school. She also meets up with a friend, Molly. At Jacinta’s current school, Sophie poses as the stepparent of a prospective student. After they talk, Sophie senses Jacinta knows more about the missing teenagers case than she’s said so far, and Sophie calls her again later that day.
Chapters 33 – 35
March – April 2017. Scarlett decides to returns to college in March 2017, telling Tallulah that it’s because she wants them to be able to hang out without Tallulah worrying about Zach’s presence. (Scarlett thinks she should just get rid of Zack, but Tallulah still hasn’t told her about their baby.) Soon, Tallulah and Scarlett’s relationship deepens as they find ways to spend more time together. Scarlett tattoos Tallulah’s initials to the side of her foot.
In April, Zach takes Tallulah to look at a property for them to consider buying so they can live by themselves. All the while, Tallulah thinks about how she wants nothing to do with him and doesn’t want to live there. That night, Tallulah is determined to tell Scarlett the truth about Noah and leave Zach.
However, before she can do so, the next day she finds out that Scarlett is hanging out with Liam again. When they talk, Scarlett says she’s not into monogamy. Tallulah leaves hurt and angry.
September 2018. Before she’s due to depart London, Sophie sits down with Jacinta at a wine bar to talk. Sophie admits to finding the ring linked to the disappearances. Jacinta then tells her about the tunnel going from the Dark Place to the woods, though Scarlett’s family says they never found the entrance. She describes Scarlett’s family as a bunch of narcissists. She says that Scarlett had a way of making people feel like she needed them in order to get them to do what she wanted. Their whole family was cold.
Jacinta also says that Scarlett is bisexual, and that it’s rumored that Tallulah and Scarlett had something romantic going on. And she says the Liam was a wreck after the breakup.
Jacinta also adds that it was a bad year for her personally as well. She and her husband had been separated due to his having an affair. One afternoon, he went for a walk and didn’t come back, nor could he be contacted afterwards. She filed a missing persons report, but they didn’t find anything.
When Sophie gets home, Shaun gets a call from Kerryanne to come over. When they do, she says that Lexie found something in their garden. There, they see a cardboard sign saying “Dig Here” with an arrow pointing down.
Kim soon gets a call from DI McCoy. When he arrives, he tells her about the discovery and Kerryanne’s house. Upon investigation, they ended up finding some type of metal tool, like a U-shaped lever of some sort, that resembles a small garden spade, but they don’t really know what it is.
May 2017. Though Tallulah and Scarlett are no longer speaking, Tallulah doesn’t stop missing Scarlett. One afternoon as she’s taking Noah for a stroll, Scarlett spots her. When confronted, Tallulah admits that he’s her child. Scarlett demands to know why she didn’t tell her about him, and Tallulah responds that she wanted Scarlett to think that she was “a free spirit”, like her.
Scarlett tells Tallulah she would’ve accepted the baby, and that the Liam thing was just about her being frustrated with Tallulah having Zach in her life still. What Scarlett really wants is just for Tallulah to be ready for their relationship to be out in the open. However, Tallulah says that she truly believes that Zach would kill her if he knew.
Chapters 37 – 40
May 2017. The next day, Tallulah runs into her friend Keziah, who invites her to hang out tomorrow. When she gets back, Zach is angry because she left her phone on silent, and they get into an argument. She finally tells him she doesn’t want to move, and she says they should split up. However, Zach refuses to accept that and says he’s not going anywhere.
The next day, Zach is upset about Tallulah going out. At first she doesn’t care, but when they share a rare moment of tenderness, Tallulah agrees to stay in with the hopes of talking to him and convincing him to move out amicably.
September 2018. With the new discovery, Sophie is bothered by the fact that Lexie claimed she spotted the sign in a location where the sign could not have been visible; she feels certain that Lexie is lying. Sophie looks up Lexie’s Instagram account where she posts things about her life as a travel blogger. Lexie appears to be successful at it, so Sophie wonders why Lexie is living with her mother.
Her thoughts are interrupted by Liam, who has just read one of her books. He asks which one of her two fictional detectives — Susie Beets or Tiger Yu — is more like her. Susie has more superficial similarities, but Sophie thinks Tiger has more of her personality traits.
Afterwards, Sophie flips open the first book she ever wrote and then realizes why the “Dig Here” sign was so familiar — it’s exactly what happened in her first novel.
The next day, the twins are due to arrive for the weekend. Sophie, however, is distracted by other. Online, she tracks down what she suspects is Mimi’s Instagram account (@AmeliaDisparue). The last post is dated June 16, 2017. From there, she finds Mimi’s YouTube account, where there is a video posted yesterday. In the video, the young woman discusses post-traumatic stress from “an incident last summer”, a recent realization that someone “is not the person I thought they were” and a revelation about it that’s soon to happen.
Sophie quickly makes her way to Kim’s house to show her the video. Kim isn’t certain, but thinks it could be Mimi. Kim then forwards the link to DI McCoy. As Sophie talks to Kim about her investigation into the case, Sophie neglects to mention the similarity to that one aspect of her book because she’s worried it will make it harder for Kim to trust her.
Chapters 41 – 46
May 2017 – June. Tallulah and Zach end up talking and agreeing for him to move out when he’s able to buy a place, who Tallulah thinks will be soon. She tells Scarlett that if they’re going to be together then it’ll have to be serious, and Scarlett has to stop messing around. She also says she needs to finish dealing with the Zach situation first, and Scarlett agrees to wait.
For a while afterwards, things go smoothly with Tallulah and Zack. As Scarlett is wrapping up her school exams, she and Tallulah plan to grab a drink at the pub. Scarlett finally tells Tallulah why she dropped out of school for a while. She says she’d been walking in the woods when her dog (Toby) trotted off to greet to another dog (Nelson), belonging to Guy Croft (husband of Jacinta Croft). They ended up talking and eventually sleeping together for the next month.
They ended things, but then soon after, Mr. Croft kept sending her messages and texting her and wouldn’t stop. Eventually, he tells Scarlett that he’s going to leave his wife. He asks Scarlett to come with him, and she just says no. In response, he rapes her in the woods, and then she never sees him again. That’s what prompted her nervous breakdown.
When Tallulah gets home, she finds the ring box in Zach’s jacket pocket and knows what it is. Tallulah realizes that Zach has no intention of letting her go that easily, and that he’s just being nice right now with the goal of trying to win her back. As Zach continues being nice, Tallulah feels guilty for wanting to leave him, thinking of what a good dad he is. She tells Scarlett that she wishes he just “didn’t exist” and would disappear.
September 2018. Kim recalls how she’d once noticed a “tm” tattoo on Scarlett’s foot, and she thinks about the way Scarlett had talked about Tallulah. Kim goes to talk to Sophie. She tells Sophie about her theory that Tallulah and Scarlett were having an affair, and Zach found out about it that night. With Dom busy trying to track down the Jaques family, Kim and Sophie agree to team up for their own investigation.
Meanwhile, they check back on Mimi’s Youtube video and see that someone with the screenname “Cherry” has posted a comment saying: “Take this down NOW“. They theorize that this is most likely Scarlett. As they keep researching, they find what they think is Scarlett’s Instagram account (@Cherryjack) with recent photos of herself on a boat. One of the photos has been “liked” by Lexie.
Chapters 47 – 51
June 2017. Tallulah gets ready for a night out with Zach, knowing he’s likely going to propose and determined to turn him down. Kim hints that she knows about the possible engagement as well. Over dinner, Zach is on his best behavior. As they eat, Tallulah sees Scarlett and her friends loudly enter the pub as well.
September 2018. Kim and Sophie go to confront Lexie about what she knows about Scarlett, but Lexie she wasn’t the one who “liked” her photo. She mentions that her mother has access to her Instagram account. Before they leave, Sophie spots a copy of her book in Lexie’s suitcase.
Later, Sophie runs into Liam and goes to his place to chat. When she asks about Lexie, Liam says he thinks she always had a crush on Scarlett. On his wall is a self-portrait of Scarlett that she painted and gave to him. There’s also another painting of a spiral staircase that Scarlett painted as well with a rectangle around the bottom step. There’s a U-shaped lever next to it, like the metal tool they’d found in the Mulligan’s yard. Sophie snaps a photo of it.
Chapters 52 – 60
June 2017. At the pub, Zach finally notices something is up and demands to know what the deal is with Tallulah and Scarlett. Scarlett then sits down with the two of them and introduces herself, soon her friends join and offer them drugs. When Scarlett invites them to a pool party at her place, Zach agrees to go, and Tallulah senses that both Scarlett and Zach are playing some type of game with her in the middle.
By the time they all get into the pool, Tallulah can sense the toxic energy between Zach and Scarlett. Eventually Zach tells Tallulah angrily that he’d been planning on proposing, and Tallulah says she was planning on saying no. Then, she tells him the truth about her and Scarlett. He starts threatening to use her sexuality as an excuse to get custody of Noah. As Zach starts to walk away, Scarlett hits him in the head with a heavy object, and Zach collapses.
With Zach lying motionless on the ground, Scarlett’s mother Joss walks in, demanding to know what’s going on. Scarlett says she did it because Zach was going to take Tallulah’s baby away from her. The only other person in the house at this point is Mimi, who is asleep in Scarlett’s room. Scarlett and Joss agree to put the body in the tunnel.
September 2018. Pippa arrives to drop off the twins at the cottage. When she gets a chance, Sophie messages Kim, implying that she thinks the tool they found opens a passageway beneath the staircase. Kim forwards it to DI McCoy, who says they’re going to get a warrant to search it.
The next morning, Kim and Sophie head to the Dark Place after DI McCoy lets them know they’ve found something. The soon they’ve report human remains for what appears to be a male. They also find a plastic case that Kim knows belongs to Tallulah.
As they wait for more news, Sophie checks Mimi’s Youtube account again, but by now the account has been deleted and the video is gone. When she leaves, she runs into Lexie, who seems to know already that they’d find Zach there. Upon questioning, Lexie admits she was the one who made the cardboard “Dig Here” signs.
June 2017. As Scarlett and Joss deal with things, Joss makes some hot chocolate and gives it to the girls. As Tallulah drinks it, she finds herself feeling sleepy. When she awakes, her mouth is dry and it is dark. She realizes she is in the tunnel with Zach’s body.
Later, it’s now been a full day since Tallulah was drugged. She’s been left with food and water, so she hopes it means she’s meant to be rescued at some point. Finally, Scarlett appears. She says Tallulah needs to stay down there another day, just until the police are gone. Tallulah begs to be let out, but Scarlett leaves.
Chapters 61 – 66
June 2017 – August 2017. When Tallulah finally awakes again, the police have gone and she is no longer in the tunnel. However, she is tied up. Tallulah wants to go back to Noah, but Joss says that the police now believe that she and Zach have run off together, and it needs to stay that way. Joss also is claiming that Tallulah killed Zach, although Tallulah is certain Scarlett was the one who did it. Joss then says they are all going to fly off to Guernsey, with Tallulah pretending to be Rex’s girlfriend, Seraphina Goldberg.
At Guernsey, Tallulah is made comfortable and treated well, but kept inside. Scarlett shares news of she’s going on, and she says her father is working to clear any evidence regarding the crime. However as the weeks drag on, Tallulah wants to leave and face the consequences so she can see Noah. Now, when Scarlett holds her, Tallulah feels suffocated the way she had with Zach.
In August, Tallulah is drugged again and bound. Tallulah now realizes that she’s been kept alive because Scarlett has insisted on it, but it’s clear Joss has now taken control of the situation and wants to get rid of her.
September 2018 (Police Interview with Mimi). In the police interview, Mimi describes the night in question. She overheard when Zach and Tallulah got into a fight and saw him manhandling her. Later, she knew Scarlett had done something, so she ran into Scarlett’s room and pretended to sleep.
Much later, she went downstairs and Scarlett was out cold. Mimi ended up pocketing the ring, knowing it would be evidence. Then, she left the house. Since then, she’s been traumatized by what happened. A few weeks ago, she went to see Lexie and told her about it, and she gave Lexie the ring. Lexie promised to sort it out.
September 2018 (Police Interview with Liam). Liam tells the police that the paintings Scarlett gave him were just housewarming gifts and that he’s never seen the lever before.
September 2018 (Police Interview with Lexie). Lexie say that she was told that Scarlett and Joss were trying to escape Martin’s abuse, which is why they left and which is why Lexie was willing to keep it secret. She knew about Scarlett’s secret Instagram account and that Scarlett was hiding out on a boat somewhere. It wasn’t until Mimi came to talk to her a few weeks ago that she knew the truth of what had happened.
Lexie didn’t want to get herself or her mother involved in the police investigation, which is why she buried the ring and had someone else find it. Lexie also says she doesn’t know where Scarlett’s boat is, but she offers to show the police the Instagram account to help them figure it out.
As for the lever, she doesn’t know what it is or who buried it. (Lexie admits to having an affair with a married female teacher, which is why she was out in the garden and spotted the sign.) The cardboard sign is the same one she made, but she swears she wasn’t the one who hid the lever or put up the sign a second time.
Chapters 67 – 71
September 2018. DI McCoy soon calls Kim to say they’ve tracked down the Jacques family. They’ve pieced together that the Jacques family likely took Tallulah with them, masquerading as Seraphina.
Meanwhile, on the yacht, Tallulah is still alive, though everything she consumes is being laced with drugs to keep her sleepy and docile. Then one day, she hears the sound of people onboard and a man with gun asks her if she’s Tallulah Murray. When she sees the Jacques family being arrested, Tallulah inquires about what will happen to the dog, and then Tallulah is taken to a hospital.
Elsewhere, Sophie is on a trip to Denmark to meet with her Danish publisher when she gets a message from Kim saying that they’ve found Tallulah. When she does a Q&A later that day, she starts telling her audience about her recent adventure. She has also realized through this that she is no longer interest in writing her cozy mysteries and is ready to move on. She also thinks that Shaun may or may not be part of her life moving forward.
On September 14, a newspaper article reports that Tallulah Murray, now 20, has been safely recovered, though the police are still unclear on what happened regarding Zach and Tallulah that night.
With Tallulah headed home, Kim gets dressed up for the occasion as she waits for her ex-husband Jim to arrive to greet her as well. While Tallulah is safe, she’s also being treated for drug dependency due to the drugs they administered to her. Kim has not heard from Megs. Kim was informed by DI McCoy that Joss had accused Tallulah of killing Zach, but Scarlett had soon confessed to the crime, saying she did it out of love for Tallulah.
Finally, the moment arrives when Tallulah appears with a large dog (Toby) at her side.
August 2018. In a flashback to August (before Sophie arrived at Maypole, etc.), Liam is at the Dark Place thinking about how Scarlett has always expected him to be at her beck and call. He recalls how Scarlett had called him in January 2017, saying she needed him even though they were broken up then. She had told him that she’d been raped, but wouldn’t say by whom.
It wasn’t until later when he was working on campus that he’d overheard Guy Croft begging Scarlett to run away with him that he knew who it was. Liam watched as Scarlett rejected Guy, but Guy proceeded to put his hands on her. At that point, Liam had attacked Guy, killing him.
Despite Liam’s devotion to her, Scarlett had left (in June 2017) without saying goodbye. Two days ago (in August 2018), Scarlett called him again out of the blue wanting his help again. Scarlett told him what happened last summer (in June 2017) and that Mimi and Lex both know about it. She also said that the body is “in the same place” (in other words, Zach’s body is hidden in the same place as Guy’s body) and that she wanted Liam to “sort it out” and get rid of the evidence. She’d told him where to find the lever.
Now, Liam is in the house, and he finds the lever. He enters the tunnel and burns up Guy Croft’s remains until they turn to ash. As for Zach Allister’s body, he leaves it there (disobeying Scarlett’s request because he’s tired of being her lapdog). He then keeps the lever until he can decide what to do with it.