Summary: Part 5, Chapter 1-3

Chapter 1  

In her final diary entry, written shortly after her final therapy session with Theo, Alicia notes that she is writing quickly as she doesn’t have much time. She writes that when Theo first began working at The Grove, she felt that something was familiar about his eyes and the smell of his cigarettes, but she wasn’t sure that he was her stalker until their second session together, when he repeated a phrase that he used on the night of Gabriel’s murder: “I want to help you–I want to help you see clearly.” When she realized who he was, she attacked him on wild instinct, intending to kill him. Afterwards, when she is heavily sedated following the attack, she begins to doubt herself, unsure why he would take the risk of working so close to her. However, she concludes that he is thrilled by the risk and wants to continue toying with her. She lies about Gabriel’s death in a way that will communicate to Theo that she knows the truth. Fearful that she will incriminate him, Theo returns to The Grove and, without saying a word, sticks a needle in her vein. She accepts this as a just punishment for her own guilt but writes the diary entry before losing consciousness to ensure that Theo is also punished for his role in the murder.  

On the night of the murder, Theo broke into her home and tied her up, as she previously recounted. However, when Gabriel returns home, Theo knocks him out and then ties him to a chair. Alicia begs him not to hurt Gabriel, professing her love for him, but Theo laughs and states his intent to kill him. When Gabriel regains consciousness, Theo accuses him of adultery and gives him a choice, permitting him ten seconds to choose between his own life and Alicia’s. When Theo reaches the end of his countdown, Gabriel chooses to save himself. Theo fires the gun at the ceiling and then exits the house, leaving both Alicia and Gabriel alive, having succeeded in his goal of proving to Alicia that Gabriel would not sacrifice himself for her. Alicia is suddenly reminded of her father’s wish that she had died in place of her mother, and again, feels that she has been condemned to death by a loved one. She undoes her binds and picks up the gun, shooting Gabriel five times and killing him.  

Chapter 2 

Later, Alicia remains in a coma, and the staff at The Grove move her belongings out of her room to make space for another patient, as she is unlikely to regain consciousness. Indira and Theo go through her few things, packing them into a box, and examining some of her sketches. Indira asks Theo if he wants to keep Alicia’s painting of The Grove on fire, but he declines, noting that it’s the only painting by her that he doesn’t like, despite being portrayed in it. When Indira leaves, he looks around the room for Alicia’s journal, which contains the evidence Theo needs to pin blame on Christian, but he can’t find it.  

Theo insists to the reader that he never thought that Alicia would shoot Gabriel, and that he was unaware of her psychological instability. Instead, he claims, he only wanted to prove that Gabriel didn’t love Alicia and their marriage was a sham. Feeling responsible for the murder of Gabriel, he claims that he applied to work at The Grove to help Alicia and thereby reduce his own feeling of guilt despite the risk that she would recognize him. It is only when he hears Paul’s story in Cambridge that he understands why Alicia shot Gabriel. Later, when she lies about the events of Gabriel’s death, he realizes that she had indeed recognized him, and resolves to protect himself by silencing her permanently, injecting her with an overdose of morphine. He states that he is glad she is in a coma, rather than dead, as he can still visit her whenever he wants. He feels content to allow Christian to take the fall for Alicia’s condition, as he failed her as a therapist.  

Chapter 3 

Later, Julian McMahon from the Trust that funds The Grove approaches Theo. Diomedes, Julian notes, has resigned, taking early retirement rather than facing an inquest regarding Alicia’s overdose. Though Diomedes recommended Theo as the perfect man to replace him, Julian admits that The Grove will be shut down permanently in favor of a new, more cost-effective facility. However, he does recommend that Theo apply to run the new treatment center, and Theo states to the reader that he feels excited by the opportunity to make a real difference and to help others, just as Ruth once helped him. Theo then reveals that he and Kathy left central London years ago, moving to the house in Surrey where he grew up after his father’s death and his mother’s decision to move to a care facility. Despite their ambitious plans to redecorate the house, they have made little progress a year later. Returning home after Alicia’s overdose, he informs a depressed and overweight Kathy that a therapist at his hospital deliberately poisoned a patient, though she shows little interest. Theo notes that he has recommended that she see a shrink, but she is reluctant.  

Reflecting upon his immoral choices, Theo wonders how Ruth would respond if she knew that Theo had ruined the lives of three people. He feels that she would be, above all, disappointed in herself for failing to adequately address Theo’s psychological problems despite hundreds of hours’ worth of therapy sessions. He then wonders if therapy could ever really reform someone such as himself, who he now believes was born evil. That evening, Chief Inspector Allen, who is overseeing the case of Alicia’s overdose, drops by Theo’s home, claiming that he was simply in the neighborhood and had a few questions. He then reveals that he has recently spoken to Jean-Felix, who found Alicia’s diary in the one place Theo didn’t think to look: wedged in the back of her painting of The Grove. Theo is uneasy as the Chief Inspector begins reading the final entry, which Theo has not read. The diary entry implicates Theo in Alicia’s overdose, and, feeling suddenly calm, Theo asks Allen to read the whole diary entry to him. As Allen begins to read the diary aloud, Theo looks at the snow falling beyond his window, and reaches out for a snowflake, and then another.  


Alicia’s diary entries cast light upon previous events in the novel, such as her seemingly inexplicable attack of Theo during their second section, prompted, as Alicia notes here, by her recognition of Theo as her stalker. Further, her interpretation of Theo’s motivations in applying to work at The Grove offers a stark contrast to his own. While he insists that he wanted to expiate his guilt by aiding in Alicia’s recovery, she believes that he sadistically enjoyed the opportunity to exert further control over her. In her revised account of her husband’s murder, she acknowledges that she killed Gabriel after his apparent betrayal of her triggered a traumatizing childhood memory. After Theo injects her with an overdose of morphine, she puts up no resistance, believing that she deserves to die for her murder of Gabriel. Still, she dedicates her remaining consciousness to ensuring that Theo, who shares in her guilt, is exposed.  

Despite finally acknowledging his crimes in the final two chapters of the novel, Theo remains evasive, creating excuses for himself and wallowing in self-pity. Unconvincingly, he maintains that he only ever wanted to help Alicia by revealing her husband’s infidelities despite the clear pleasure that he took in wielding power over her. Similarly, he insists that he only came to The Grove to help Alicia, bravely assuming the risk of exposure in order to undo his past wrongs, though his attempted murder of Alicia in order to protect himself directly contradicts this claim. He puts on a convincing act for Julian McMahon, who represents the Trust, positioning himself to replace Diomedes and run his own facility, a terrifying prospect given his past behavior.

Even after all that he has done, Theo still claims that he only wants to help as many people as possible, though it is obvious to the reader that Theo would only become more dangerous with more power. He is glad that Alicia is comatose rather than dead so that he can visit her daily, sitting by her bed and holding her hand. Immobile and powerless, Alicia is now fully under his control, as is his wife, Kathy, whom he has successfully isolated from her friends and colleagues. Despite Ruth’s warning to get trapped in the cycle of the past, Theo has transformed into his father, ruling over his own childhood home with a deeply depressed wife.  

The conclusion of the novel is deliberately ambiguous. Theo feels an unexpected sense of calm when the Chief Officer reads Alicia’s diary, suggesting that he has finally accepted that he cannot evade the law and finds peace in no longer having to maintain his complex web of lies. Reaching out of the window to catch a snowflake, Theo recreates an important memory from his childhood. The final lines of the novel, “And I went to catch another one,” invites a variety of possible readings. Theo may have accepted his fate, holding out his hand passively, or he might have leapt from the window, either to escape or commit suicide.