65 pages • 2 hours readJacqueline Winspear
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Maisie arrives for her rendezvous with Billy, who reports that the men seem to be thriving with a supportive community and meaningful work to occupy them. He indicates, however, that there is some anxiety over one man’s desire to return to the wider world. The men believe that many of their comrades who have left have since died by suicide, unable to face the pressures of ordinary life and the scrutiny of society. Billy is certain Jenkins is doing the community a great service by providing them all a safe space. Maisie begins to doubt her initial suspicions.
Maisie spends her days waiting for telephone calls and updates, seeing her father, and analyzing the case with Maurice. Maisie and Maurice agree that the autopsy reports from the deaths at the Retreat seem deliberately vague and note that all the men died near sunrise. They note that the autopsy reports are signed by a medical examiner who shares a surname with Adam Jenkins.
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During a meeting, Maisie reads Billy’s body language and notices he is uncomfortable. Billy admits that he has come to “admire” Jenkins, and Maisie assures him that he need not find incriminating evidence, only continue observing. Billy mentions that the one man who had recently expressed a desire to leave seems to be missing.
By Jacqueline Winspear