Where the Crawdads Sing

by Delia Owens

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Chapters 39–49 Summary

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Last Updated on June 8, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1020

Chapter 39: Chase by Chance

1969: Kya motors to Cypress Cove and is surprised when Chase shows up. He tells her that a marriage between them could never have worked but wants to go back to the way things were. Chase tells Kya that she is “his” and that he knows she wants him. He tries to rape her, slugging her hard in the face. Kya finds supernatural strength and beats him off of her. Kya lands a solid kick directly to his testicles just before escaping and then notices two men in a boat watching her leave.

Chapter 40: Cypress Cove

1970: Rodney Horn testifies that he witnessed this attack; he was one of the men in that boat. He also testifies that before getting away in her boat, Kya screamed at Chase, “Leave me alone, you bastard! You bother me again, I’ll kill ya!” 

Chapter 41: A Small Herd

1969: Kya is terrified that Chase will come looking for her at the shack after she injured him, so she packs a few things and escapes to the old cabin she used with Tate. Humiliated, she is convinced that she brought this on herself through premarital sex. With her eye swollen shut and cuts covering her body, Kya begins to understand why her mother had to leave her abusive father. Back at the shack, she watches a female praying mantis eat the head off her mate and privately notes that female insects know how to take care of their lovers.

Chapter 42: A Cell

1970: Kya has been held for two months prior to the trial without bail in a cell she prefers to call a cage. She tries to calm her mind by recalling Amanda Hamilton poetry. Kya doesn’t fear death and views it as an escape from her “shadow life.” But she cannot fathom dying at someone else’s hand and on a timeline another person has decided.

Chapter 43: A Microscope

1969: Tate stops by to visit, and Kya tries to hide her injuries from him. She shares with Tate that her editor is coming to Greenville the next month and wants to meet her; Tate encourages her to go. Before she leaves, he gives her some bread crumbs to share with her gulls and tosses her a red ski cap. On her way home, Kya is nearly spotted by Chase, who is on his way to catch her at her house. She hides her boat in an overhanging thicket of trees and brush until she hears Chase leaving. She realizes that he will never give up and can’t imagine continuing to live in fear. 

Chapter 44: Cell Mate

1970: Kya’s lawyer encourages her to consider pleading guilty to a lesser crime to avoid life imprisonment or the death penalty. She refuses. Jumpin’ and Mabel send her a package of thoughtful items to comfort her. Sunday Justice begins visiting Kya’s cell, and she relishes the company he brings, sharing her food with him. She finally agrees to see Tate on one of his many visits, and he tells her that he’s been taking care of her gulls. He also tells her that he can never forget her, but she responds that she no longer believes that she is capable of having people in her life who won’t abandon her. 

Chapter 45: Red Cap

1970: The coroner testifies that Chase’s injuries are consistent with those to be expected if he was pushed backward through the opened grate. He also testifies that the red fibers found on his coat exactly match those of the red cap found in Kya’s...

(This entire section contains 1020 words.)

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home. Upon cross-examination, the coroner notes that if Chase fell backward accidentally, it would have produced the same injuries, and there is no way to tell how long the red fibers had been on Chase’s jacket. Since he and Kya had dated, they could have gotten on the jacket any time the two wore that combination of items. He concludes that there is no evidence linking Kya to Chase Andrews specifically on the night he died. 

Chapter 46: King of the World

1969: Kya goes to Jumpin’s to get the bus schedule and tells him about her invitation to Greenville. He notices her yellow bruise and guesses that Chase hit her. She confesses that it was Chase who injured her but begs Jumpin’ not to say anything. He wants Chase brought to justice, but Kya convinces him she is not a believable accuser. Jumpin’ tells Kya to let him know if she goes to Greenville; if she disappears for more than a couple of days, he’s coming to check on her with a “posse if need be.”

Chapter 47: The Expert

1970: The sheriff takes the witness stand and testifies that all evidence, including footprints and fingerprints, had been erased from the crime scene. Upon cross-examination, Kya’s lawyer reveals that the tides that night could have erased Chase’s footprints after he climbed the tower and that no fingerprints or hair belonging to Kya were found at the tower. Additionally, Tom provides a request that the sheriff had submitted just months before Chase’s fall asking for the Forest Service remedy the grates, which were constantly left open and could therefore lead to injury or death. 

Chapter 48: A Trip

1969: Kya leaves for the trip to Greenville on October 28th and returns on October 30th at 1:16 p.m. She goes to Jumpin’s the next day, and he tells her that Chase has died. Some in the town are calling it murder because of a missing shell necklace and the lack of footprints. Kya returns home whispering an Amanda Hamilton poem.

Chapter 49: Disguises

1970: Bus drivers testify that it is possible to take a bus from Barkley Cove and back again on the same night. One bus driver notes that his bus ran very late that night, not arriving until 1:40 a.m. and that there was a man on the bus who could have been a woman in disguise—but he isn’t sure. The second bus driver testifies that there was a tall older lady on his bus, which departed for Greenville at 2:30 a.m.


Chapters 30–38 Summary


Chapters 50–57 Summary