Chapters 30–38 Summary

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Last Updated on June 8, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 961

Chapter 30: The Rips

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1967: Kya jumps into her boat and heads for dangerous waters. The sea is furious, and her boat tips dangerously with the waves and begins to fill with water. She finally makes her way to a small sandbar and recovers a bit, reflecting on how her life has been filled with rejection. She knows that she must “do life alone” and realizes that she has known for a long time that people don’t stay. She equates Chase with any other male in any other species, using alluring mating strategies to hop from one female to the next. She heads for home via a safer route, her head full of the poetry of Amanda Hamilton.

Chapter 31: A Book

1968: Tate finds a publisher for Kya’s work, and advance copies of her first work arrive in her mailbox. With the advance payment of five thousand dollars, Kya makes significant improvements to her shack and pays the back taxes on her land so that she can be assured of her ownership of the property. She invites Tate to stop by for a copy of the book, and he asks her to inscribe his copy. She writes,

To the Feather Boy 
Thank you
From the Marsh Girl

Tate is encouraging, telling her that this is only the beginning of her work. Kya also takes a copy by to Jumpin’ and tells him that she’s going to be okay now. He displays the book in his window like a proud father.

Chapter 32: Alibi

1969: After talking to Jumpin’ and Tate, Joe learns that Kya was supposedly in Greenville on the night of Chase’s death. Miss Pansy Price stops by to tell them that although Chase’s mother is telling everyone that Kya is a suspect, Miss Pansy herself watched Kya get onto a bus on October 28th and return on the 30th. Joe and the sheriff find it suspicious that Kya gave herself an alibi on this particular night when most nights she would be home alone with no alibi at all. They decide to seek a warrant and examine the bus schedules to determine whether it would be possible for her to leave for Greenville and return in one night.

Chapter 33: The Scar

1968: After many years, Jodie shows up at the shack. He has graduated from Georgia Tech and served two tours in Vietnam. He tells Kya that their mother died of leukemia two years earlier and shares the painful details of her life after she abandoned them. Jodie feels like a coward for leaving his baby sister with their monster of a father, but Kya assures him that he was just a kid himself. He gives Kya paintings their mother created in the years after she left; one shows all five siblings together, and one shows a young Kya with Tate. Jodie stays a few days, and the siblings share memories of joy and pain. He encourages her to reconnect with Tate before leaving and promising to keep in touch.

Chapter 34: Search the Shack

1969:  Joe and Ed arrive at Kya’s empty shack. Since they now have a search warrant, they go through her things looking for any evidence connecting her to the crime. Joe finds a red wool hat with fibers that appear to be an exact match with those found on Chase’s body, and they plan to send the hat to the lab for further investigation.

Chapter 35: The Compass

1969: Another published book, this time on seabirds, appears in Kya’s mailbox. Additionally, a gift tucked into a milk carton appears on the old feather stump: a compass from Tate that had belonged to his grandfather. Kya’s feelings continue to leap back and forth between love and pain, but soon after, she heads out one morning hoping to catch sight of Tate on the water. She finds him and hides in a thicket as she recites another poem by Amanda Hamilton.

Chapter 36: To Trap a Fox

1969: The fibers in Kya’s hat prove a perfect match with those on Chase’s body. Joe and Ed want to bring her in for questioning but are stumped about how to catch her. A fisherman named Rodney Horn comes in to talk to them, saying he has information that might be relevant to Chase’s case. When he finishes, Joe declares that they now have the motive they’ve been looking for.

Chapter 37: Gray Sharks

1969: Knowing that the sheriff has been talking to Jumpin’, Kya leaves before dawn to get gas and supplies. When she approaches Jumpin’s wharf, he does not react as kindly as he normally does, and Kya realizes that something is amiss. She tries to get back out on the water, but several boats, one containing the sheriff, emerge from the fog. She tries to escape, but the boats surround her. Kya is arrested for the murder of Chase Andrews.

Chapter 38: Sunday Justice

1970: Tom Milton picks up Kya’s case pro bono. She has been imprisoned for two months, and Tom has had difficulty in getting her to talk at all. His behavior toward her is gracious and kind. He even brings a book about shells to try to put her at ease as he explains court proceedings. Mr. Milton’s request to have the trial relocated due to prejudice is denied. Jury selection begins, and the judge notes that the prosecution will seek the death penalty if Kya is convicted. Mrs. Culpepper, the former truant officer, ends up on the jury, along with the wife of the Methodist minister who whisked her child away from Kya the only time she ate in a diner with her father. The jury is comprised of seven women and five men. The courtroom cat, Sunday Justice, watches over the proceedings. 

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Chapters 39–49 Summary