In Hard Time, what are the important points of chapter 16 ("A Friend of the Family") and chapter 17?
You are speaking about the chapters entitled “A Friend of the Family” and “Spinning Wheels, Seeking Traction.” During chapter 16 (called “A Friend of the Family”) the narrator is questioning Siekevitz and Morrell as they eat at a restaurant and trying to gain access to Regine Mauger (the gossip columnist of the Herald-Star), who could possibly provide ample information about the case. Everyone admits that they continually come into the situation “from the outside.” They have quite a conversation about refugees and deportation (and the use of police dogs). Finally, the narrator admits the interest in Señora Mercedes who was found “lying in the road Tuesday night” and who died a while later. The narrator is mocked as a result of this interest. The focus then shifts to finding Aguinaldo’s body as they drive away from the restaurant, and the narrator is asked to contact Aisha’s family for more information.
The chapter entitled “Spinning Wheels, Seeking Traction” begins with the narrator wondering about C.L. and hitting a roadblock in the investigation (hence the title of the chapter). Due to the roadblock, the focus shifts to investigating Frenada. Another roadblock appears. This leads the narrator to call Murray and try to ditch the case. Afterwards, the narrator meets up with Lotty and then with Morrell, continuing to ask questions about the investigation. Unfortunately, the narrator gets nowhere and admits that “wheels” are only “spinning.” The reader will have to wait until later chapters for the investigation to be furthered and the case to be cracked.