THE WYCHERLY WOMAN              Part Eighteen

                                                                                                      Spoiler Alert





                                              IT ALL COMES TOGETHER


Archer’s last stop, first thing the next morning, is Trevor’s room at the Terranova hospital. Trevor is completely bedridden after the heart attack he suffered when he identified the body as Phoebe’s. Macdonald sets the mood perfectly.


He was watching me with the ragged awareness of a poker player after an all-night game.


            After Archer confronts him with his deliberate misidentification of Catherine’s body as Phoebe’s, it isn’t long before the truth comes out:


  • When the dying Catherine told Phoebe that her father did it, Catherine didn’t mean Homer. She meant Trevor.
  • Phoebe still doesn’t know that Trevor is her father.
  • The reason Catherine had insisted that Phoebe visit her the evening Homer sailed was to tell Phoebe the truth about her paternity, and probably to confirm Phoebe’s suspicions that Catherine and Trevor had resumed their affair. Trevor killed Catherine because Catherine was determined to ruin Trevor’s marriage.
  • When Phoebe broke down, near the end of the two months, and told Merriman that her mother had said that “her father” was her murderer, Phoebe didn’t know that the information incriminated Trevor.
  • Merriman set up an appointment with Trevor to meet at Catherine’s house to blackmail Trevor, but Trevor killed him instead.
  • Stanley Quillan knew about Trevor being Phoebe’s father as well, from listening to the tape. When Stanley needed getaway money he called Trevor, hoping to shake him down. Trevor was prepared to give him the $50,000 to buy his silence, but when Quillan saw the satchel, he knew where the money came from and probably concluded that Trevor had killed Merriman. Trevor killed Quillan with Merriman’s gun but left the money. After he’d talked to Phoebe, he knew it was all going to come out and he lost heart.
  • Some background: When Trevor first met Catherine as Homer’s fiancée, she was only 18. Trevor and Helen were no longer intimate after the loss of a child. Catherine became pregnant and they passed the baby off as Homer’s.
  • Catherine and Homer’s marriage did not thrive. She had affairs. Then after Trevor’s heart attack, he and Catherine resumed their affair after many years. As we know, she wanted to marry him and start a new life but Trevor resisted.
  • Trevor was not aware of what happened to Catherine’s body and he didn’t know that Phoebe was missing for two months. That was all Merriman’s doing, with the help of Stanley Quiillan.
  • Trevor knew where to find Phoebe from a paid bill for the Champion Hotel in Merriman’s pocket. Trevor got her away from the Champion and moved her to the Hacienda so she would have a nicer place to stay. That’s where she met Archer.
  • Trevor’s only concern is to protect Phoebe from the knowledge that Homer is not her father and Archer agrees to cooperate. Archer tells Trevor to write a brief confession, saying he killed Catherine for “resisting his advances,” and that he also killed Quillan and Merriman. The final lines of the novel:


I lifted the tablet from his blue-nailed hands. He had added after his signature:

“May God have mercy on my soul.”

And on mine, I thought.  I tore out the page and laid it on the bureau, out of Trevor’s reach. Shadows lay like sleeping dogs behind the closet door. Darkness and silence. We didn’t speak again.





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