Little Black Lies Little Black Lies discussion


485 views
What did that mean? *(spoilers possible)*

Comments Showing 1-24 of 24 (24 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

Sandy So I just finished this. God, as usual Ms Bolton has put us through the ringer. But I have a question about the very last sentence.
Are we meant to read something into the family on the beach not noticing that their child is missing as Ben leaves on his boat from Catrin's old house?


Tanya That is an interesting question. I never considered it besides the fact that I was so disappointed that Rachel was going to act like she never saw what happened.


Jasa (Lost in Plots) I think that the last sentence actually clears the mystery of the disappearing boys: remember how Ben was supposedly the one who got over the loss of his two sons quickly whereas Catrin was completely heartbroken? And how everybody suspected that Catrin was the one who killed the two missing boys because they bore a striking resemblance to her own dead children? Personally, I think that Rachel witnessed Ben kidnapping a third little boy, that is why she said she is never planning on coming back and that is why she couldn't look back at the beach; she understood what was going on and who was behind the disappearances of the two children, and she could never bear to tell someone, not even the police because she still loved Ben...so in her head, the less she knew about what was really going on, the more she would be able to pretend that what she saw didn't actually happen...


Sandy Jasa wrote: "I think that the last sentence actually clears the mystery of the disappearing boys: remember how Ben was supposedly the one who got over the loss of his two sons quickly whereas Catrin was complet..."

Thanks, Jasa. I was left with the horrible feeling Ben was responsible but never saw that coming. Then I thought, how does he explain taking the boy to his son who is with him on the boat?
I wouldn't be surprised by Rachel deciding to live in her "happy place" in her head as I always thought her grip on reality was tenuous at best. I could almost hear her chanting "lalalalalalalal...." as she drove home.


Jasa (Lost in Plots) Sandy: I never saw it coming either, I was completely shocked! But I guess it kind of makes sense; the only person who could possibly be as hurt about the death of the two boys as Catrin was her husband, but we only ever saw him as a down-to-earth doctor, so it makes sense not to think about him as a suspect, especially because we really don't know that much about him!
Also: is the boy Rachel is talking about really Ben's son? She only refers to him as "the boy" and I think it's the son of the family having a picnic at the beach...
I think that Rachel simply decides that she cannot be bothered by yet another shocking secret, having her life sort out not too badly after all what happenned, and she doesn't want another thing weighing her down, so she does what she does best - ignores the whole deal...
Have a nice day! :)


Gary Van Cott I also found this confusing but didn't think there was enough information to come to any conclusion. There was nothing earlier that I recall in the book that would suggest one.


Sandy That seems to be one of Ms. Bolton's specialties. Several of her books end with a situation that's left open as if she wants the reader to make up their own mind as to its' significance.


message 8: by Jan (new)

Jan Marie Ben's young son would be 3 years old at the most. (The novel ended on the fourth anniversary of the death of Ben and Catrin's sons).

IMHO, it's pretty clear that Ben is the one who killed the two boys. And that Rachel (as usual) is just going to shut herself off.

I wonder what happens after the end? Another child missing, no Catrin as scapegoat to pin it on?


Lisa I was totally confused by this! I don't understand why Rachel would be ok with Ben being a child killer?


message 10: by Jan (new)

Jan Marie I think she can't bring herself to get involved. She was obsessed with Ben for... how long, almost a decade? The entire time he was married to her best friend? An obsession which led to the death of Ben's children, remember.

She wants it all to go away; she wants to pretend none of it happened, that the two missing boys were accidents - just like everyone else in town.


message 11: by Candice (new)

Candice Anderson I absolutely did not see that coming at the end. It left me considering it for hours, but in the end, I decided that Ben had taken the other children and that his calm exterior masked an very messed up man. I love Ms Bolton's books and the way she leaves me thinking.


message 12: by Graham (new)

Graham I dont think these admittedly well considered explanations hold water. I think the author was fixed on the idea of the triple confession and boxed herself into a corner with the real solution to the missing boys. A cock up.


message 13: by Mia (new)

Mia Didn't Rachel kill the boys in anger of being turned down by Ben? That's what I read into this very confusing ending. Then his way of dealing with that guilt he decided to kill those other boys? But then again, why would he do that? I'm not usually this confused after a book but this one I really don't understand.


message 14: by Jan (new)

Jan Marie No. Rachel left the boys in her car and the brake failed. But she didn't kill them on purpose.


message 15: by Graham (new)

Graham I think we have to be careful here about the words precisely used. Missing boys are not the same as dead boys. The two boys dead in the car are by definition not dead. There were, if my memory serves now, three missing boys, in the aftermath of the car crash. They served to precipitate some of the present day actions that lead to the denouement. One missing boy was found alive; it was not clear why and how he had disappeared. One missing boy was found skletelised in the ship. And a third I think remained missing. No answer was given as to how they disappeared and by whom. Certainly not Ben


message 16: by Graham (new)

Graham I tried to edit this remark, but couldn't find out how to save the edited version. "are by definition not missing", should read.


message 17: by reading is my hustle (last edited Jan 11, 2019 07:13AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

reading is my hustle Graham wrote: "I think we have to be careful here about the words precisely used. Missing boys are not the same as dead boys. The two boys dead in the car are by definition not dead. There were, if my memory serv..."

graham- thank you for your thoughts. i'm left wondering if you might have missed the epilogue. when you say that "certainly not ben" who was responsible for the first two boys that went missing, i can't help but think that the author showed us exactly that in the epilogue. when rachel sees ben on catrin's boat she watches him come ashore & approach another young boy that (once again) looks like the other two that went missing (and they all look like his sons that were killed in the accident). rachel sees him approach the boy & show him something in his pocket & soon they both get back on the boat & head out to sea. it ends with rachel wondering how long it will take before the parents (of the boy who got on the boat with ben) will notice that their son is gone. i think it was the author's intent to show the reader that ben had not in fact "moved on" after his sons' deaths; unless you count luring & drowning boys that looked similar to his sons moving on. rachel seems to make the decision to not intervene or report what she witnesses & determines that she will never return to that spot again. her love for ben & guilt for her part in it all influences her decision.

it was an utter gut punch of an epilogue IMHO b/c ben was supposedly the one who was better able to cope & move on after his sons were killed in the accident. but actually the way ben "moves on" is to lure young boys to his boat & drown them at sea. shivers.


message 18: by reading is my hustle (last edited Jan 11, 2019 06:53AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

reading is my hustle Graham wrote: "I think we have to be careful here about the words precisely used. Missing boys are not the same as dead boys. The two boys dead in the car are by definition not dead. There were, if my memory serv..."

oops forgot to address your other points ::

One missing boy was found alive; it was not clear why and how he had disappeared...

it was determined that archie going missing had nothing to do with the other boys' disappearance. he accidentally hid in the wrong car (while playing hide & seek w/his brothers). archie thought the car he hid in was his parents' car but it was one of the islanders' car who was having an affair with someone & when they met at the boathouse for an "interlude" archie was too afraid to tell them that he had gotten into the wrong car & so he got out & stayed in the boat house after they left (they never realized he was in the car). he was later hungry & scared & made his way out to the road where callum saw him while driving. callum & catrin pulled over, found him, & he was returned to his parents. it was a random event & he was not one of ben's victims. (also, his features & skin color differed from the other victims which we learn later is an important distinction).

One missing boy was found skletelised in the ship...

it was theorized that the currents were responsible for where jimmy's body ended up.

And a third I think remained missing. No answer was given as to how they disappeared and by whom. Certainly not Ben...

i think with the epilogue "reveal" the reader is to assume that the theory of the islanders was actually correct: that the person responsible for taking the boys was probably someone the victims knew & someone with a boat which made it easier to "get away" unnoticed & that the bodies were dumped at sea.

i think we are meant to assume that ben drowned both boys & that one on them ended up being found b/c his body was swept by the currents & ended up trapped on the wrecked boat & the other boy's body was swept out to sea never to be found.


reading is my hustle Lisa wrote: "I was totally confused by this! I don't understand why Rachel would be ok with Ben being a child killer?"

i think her love for ben & her guilt for her part in the accident that killed his kids was responsible for her decision.


reading is my hustle Sandy wrote: "So I just finished this. God, as usual Ms Bolton has put us through the ringer. But I have a question about the very last sentence.
Are we meant to read something into the family on the beach not ..."


yes, ms. bolton is revealing to the reader that ben was the killer & rachel had just witnessed him luring another child onto the boat. rachel wonders how long it will take the parents to realize their child is missing.


reading is my hustle Tanya wrote: "That is an interesting question. I never considered it besides the fact that I was so disappointed that Rachel was going to act like she never saw what happened."

i think her guilt over the accident informed her decision. such a sad story. so many lives ruined.


reading is my hustle Jasa wrote: "I think that the last sentence actually clears the mystery of the disappearing boys: remember how Ben was supposedly the one who got over the loss of his two sons quickly whereas Catrin was complet..."

yes! i would only add that her guilt for the accident also played into her decision.


message 23: by reading is my hustle (last edited Jan 11, 2019 07:08AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

reading is my hustle Jan wrote: "Ben's young son would be 3 years old at the most. (The novel ended on the fourth anniversary of the death of Ben and Catrin's sons).

IMHO, it's pretty clear that Ben is the one who killed the two..."


same; it seems that ben would become a suspect given the similarities in the boys' physical characteristics to his own boys (& that catrin is no longer living on the island). i wonder though b/c it was mentioned more than once that the head chief was none too bright.


message 24: by reading is my hustle (last edited Jan 11, 2019 07:16AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

reading is my hustle Mia wrote: "Didn't Rachel kill the boys in anger of being turned down by Ben? That's what I read into this very confusing ending. Then his way of dealing with that guilt he decided to kill those other boys? Bu..."

rachel did not kill them on purpose. it was a terrible accident. her guilt stems from her carelessness of not using the emergency brake & her motivations for being there that day to begin with (hoping she might start an affair with ben).


back to top