Study Guide

Gone Girl Chapter 17

By Gillian Flynn

Chapter 17

Nick Dunne—Four Days Gone

  • The cops are finally checking out Lonnie from the mall as a potential suspect. While they wait, Rand and Nick chill at Find Amy Dunne Headquarters, where they're pretty much the only people hanging around (it's five in the morning). They talk about their own short list of suspects: Desi (whom Rand never liked), the psycho high school stalker Hilary Handy, and the newest addition, Noelle Hawthorne, Amy's alleged best friend who seems a little too interested in her life.
  • Nick remembers Noelle's husband telling him that Noelle was crying and looking at pictures of Amy and how his first impression was that they were Internet pictures—now he's wondering if they were actual photos she captured while stalking Amy. Rand adds that Noelle was talking to him the day before and quoting Amazing Amy books. There's something kind of weird about that, and not just that there can't be much to quote from the Amazing Amy books.
  • At 7:00AM it's time for a summit with Boney and Gilpin at IHOP, where all great summits about kidnappings take place. Nick and Rand confront them about their poor handling of the case and share how inappropriate it is that they have to do things like go to the mall in the middle of the night.
  • Boney rebukes them for taking matters in their own hands. She shares how the meeting with Lonnie went, or rather, how it didn't go—according to her, he doesn't seem like suspect material because he was pretty upset that he'd crossed paths with Amy and remembered specific details about her clothing and interaction with him that day. Plus he has an alibi, so that's the end of that.
  • Boney adds that the investigation is taking on a search for a new, more personal motivation. Nick asks if that means they are going to check out Hilary Handy, and although she doesn't seem like a likely lead, Boney agrees that they will. Noelle is also on their interview agenda for the day. Other than this though, the detectives want to spend more time with Nick and "pick his brain" about Amy.
  • When Nick asks why, Boney says that one of his neighbors overheard him and Amy having an argument the night before she disappeared. Although Nick claims that it was a stupid argument over whether they could keep their anniversary tradition of having lobster, it seems to be a matter of concern to the police—that and the fact that no one witnessed Nick's alleged trip to the beach before he went to The Bar on the morning of.
  • As they conclude breakfast and walk out to their cars, Boney asks Nick if Amy was a size two. He says yes, and Boney's reaction is a disconcerted facial expression.
  • Back at the hotel, Nick makes an attempt to call Hilary Handy. It doesn't go well, and she yells at him over the phone and tells him that whatever it was that happened back in high school, it taught her to avoid Amy—she is married now and the mother of three kids. She hangs up on him.
  • In one of the most poorly timed phone hang-ups of all time, Shawna appears just as the conversation ends. She made Nick a pie and starts following him around again, asking if he's getting enough sleep and other things that really aren't any of her business. Nick sharply tells her to go see Marybeth for something to do, and Shawna seems hurt by being told to leave, but says she hopes he likes the pie.
  • The parade of weird women continues when Noelle shows up and asks if there's any news about the case. Nick is convinced that Noelle is either crazy or a publicity hound who's crafted some story about being best friends with a missing person. After emphasizing twice that she's Amy's best friend, Noelle says she has information about Amy, but then refuses to share it, saying that the police will track her down in regard to it. Nick snaps at her and Noelle turns red and walks away.
  • That night, Nick drives to his father's vacant house. They put it on the market a year ago when he went into assisted living, but it has yet to sell. It's more than just his dad's house, though—it's also the location of the next clue in Amy's scavenger hunt.
  • The clue alludes to two inside jokes between the couple. The first refers to Nick's dad's residence as a "little brown house." After his parents' divorce, Nick eased his pain as a child by creating a story that his father was an important man named Mr. Brown who worked for the United States and used Nick as a cover to avoid drawing attention to himself. The house is actually blue though, and Amy is the only one he's ever told that story to. Another line in the clue mentions "goodwill," a reference to an emotionally charged afternoon they spent packing up his father's things to donate to Goodwill.
  • Nick's intention is to go inside, get the next clue, and get out as fast as possible. This plan gets thwarted, though, when he enters his security code on the house alarm and it gets rejected. The code is his birthday, and Amy has always been mad that he chose his birthday over their anniversary as the combination—Nick thinks that Amy must have changed it as a passive aggressive move.
  • The security company calls Nick's cell phone and demands that he give them the name of Amy's first pet to prove that he's legitimately allowed to be there. Nick, though, cannot remember the name and instead gets in a verbal scuffle with the security lady that almost leads to her calling the cops. He hangs up and when he calls back, he gets connected to someone more reasonable, who agrees to disarm the alarm.
  • Inside the house, Nick finds Amy's next note on the counter. The note is an apology from Amy for not considering his feelings more and having unreasonable expectations for him, as well as a statement that—contrary to his fears—Nick has not become his father.
  • Back in the car, Nick opens the next clue. Unlike the others, though, this one isn't so easy to solve. It cryptically refers to Amy as a bad girl who "needs to be punished" and the location of "goodies" for their fifth anniversary, where "a good time was had," followed by drinks. After dealing with Boney, Shawna, Noelle, the security lady, and now Amy's weird clue, Nick is just about done with women for the day. Except for one.
  • Nick drives to Go's place, where she makes him grilled cheese, chips, and beer in a plastic cup. He rehashes one of the weirdest moments of the day for his sister—when Boney asked him if Amy was a size two. Go suggests that maybe they found Amy's clothes, but Nick thinks they would have called him to identify them rather than beating around the bush about it. They have a random, meandering conversation, a ritual they've developed for when they're bored that imitates their mother's affinity for telling long, pointless stories.
  • Nick is about to take an Ambien and knock himself out for the night when he gets a text message on his disposable cell phone (you know, the one the mystery person keeps calling him on). It reads, "im outside open the door."
  • Who is the mystery text from? Who keeps calling Nick? Is it the return of Amy? Is it the kidnapper? Or is it somebody else altogether? We'll find out after the following brief word from Amy's diary.

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