Study Guide

Serena Chapter 26

By Ron Rash

Chapter 26

  • Sheriff McDowell shows up at the Pembertons' house bright and early—there's been a murder, and he wants to question Serena about it. She's out riding around the camp, but Pemberton tells the sheriff he better watch his mouth.
  • McDowell informs Pemberton that Widow Jenkins's throat was slashed last night. He figures the person who did it was looking for information about Rachel and Jacob but didn't get anywhere.
  • So? Pemberton feigns confusion about why is wife would be involved in that.
  • It turns out there were two murderers there last night: a man and an accomplice with small feet and fancy shoes; there are bloody footprints everywhere.
  • Naturally Serena is a suspect. McDowell knows Pemberton has the coroner in his pocket, but he promises to be back with an arrest warrant.
  • At first, Pemberton panics. Did his wife do this? She's certainly capable and she had a knife in her hand last night…
  • He wants to ditch the knife. Everyone knows to dump the murder weapon, but it was a wedding present, so he's not so sure.
  • He calls the coroner and leaves a message for the guy to call him back pronto.
  • Then he makes his way into town to see McDowell. He tries to bribe the guy, but the sheriff won't budge.
  • Next up? He threatens him. Because that's a good plan.
  • Suddenly Pemberton realizes what the sheriff is doing: He's helping Rachel and Jacob get out of town so they aren't harmed.
  • McDowell tells Pemberton to back off or else he'll regret it big time.
  • As Pemberton rides back home, he looks at the mountain's cliff and thinks about what it would be like to jump off it.