Hello and welcome to the second discussion of the No Time for Goodbye Readalong! I hope you enjoyed last week’s recap of the first ten chapters and are ready to continue with the story. If you’ve just found us and not sure what this event is all about, you’ll find all the information you need on the No Time for Goodbye sign-up page.
Last week’s chapters came to an end when Cynthia gets a call from the TV company – who’s filming a documentary about her family’s disappearance – saying that someone phoned in and might be able to help her find them. As it turns out, she’s a psychic. Terry is sceptical – as most of us would be in this situation, I think – but not having anything to lose, they decide to give her a shot. When it turns out that all she wanted was their money they leave and head back home.
And that is when it happens.
As Cynthia steps into the kitchen, she notices a well-worn fedora hat on the kitchen table – one that she’s all too familiar with and one that was definitely not there when they left the house that afternoon. All the doors were closed and nothing seems to be missing or broken or indicate that someone’s been inside the house. Apart from the mysterious hat. There doesn’t seem to be a logical explanation and the police can’t really help the Archers either. And that’s when Terry remembers. Just before they left for the TV studio, Cynthia ran back inside to fetch a box full of old family photos and other mementos, but seemed to take a long time to come back to the car. She was the last one to leave the house that day. There’s no sign of forced entry and the lost spare key Terry noticed a few days earlier is found in one of the kitchen drawers. Terry doesn’t say it but you can feel the thought had crossed his mind.
What if Cynthia is making this all up?
It crossed my mind while I was reading it too. Cynthia’s been acting very suspiciously right from the beginning which does make you question whether she’s telling the truth or not – taking it one step further – whether she’s sane or not. It made me question her sanity too – the only reason I wasn’t convinced she was behind all these is that it doesn’t help her in any way. Is she doing it for the attention? Yes, that could be a possible explanation but as you read on and you uncover more and more secrets you begin to realise it’s more complicated than that and even if she wanted a bit of attention, you wouldn’t take it this far.
Another key thing in these chapters is the fact that Terry and Cynthia decide to hire a private investigator to help them find out what happened to her family. We’re starting to get to know the detective and he’s starting to uncover some information – or rather the lack of it – about Cynthia’s father. There’s no information about him whatsoever – no trace of his employment, tax record, or anything else – not under his real name, at least. (I knew there was something fishy about him! I still can’t remember what happened to him but it’s still very fishy.)
And something possibly just as important as Clayton Bigge’s identity is the first tragedy in the book, which closes chapter 20. When the Archers visit Aunt Tess one night they find her lying on the kitchen floor. Someone realised she knew something, possibly knew too much (and knew about the anonymous payments that were sent to Cynthia all these years ago) and stabbed her. Who was it and why did s/he strike now, 25 years later?
I’ve read the book before but I honestly can’t remember. Do you have any guesses yet? What did you think of these chapters? Do you think Cynthia is acting suspiciously or there’s something else going on?
If you’re reading along with us, make sure to leave a comment below so that we can discuss chapters 11-20 together – or tweet about it using the #NTFG hashtag, or post about it on your blog and leave a link here – I’ll make sure to visit you back. See you next Wednesday when we’ll be talking about chapters 21-30!