Study Guide

Detective Riley in The Girl on the Train

By Paula Hawkins

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Detective Riley

To Protect and Serve

We would not want Detective Riley on our case, especially not if we're a woman. There are two officers working on Megan's disappearance: Detective Gaskill (a man) and Detective Riley (a woman). We barely see Gaskill, so we don't have an opinion on him.

But we do have an opinion about Detective Riley. And she definitely has opinions on Rachel—Detective Riley is very suspicious of Rachel and her motivations. She calls Rachel "a stalker, a nutcase, mentally unstable" (7.79), and she even tells Scott that Rachel is "an alcoholic, possibly mentally unstable" (15.30). None of this strikes us as particularly professional.

It's not just us, though; Scott doesn't like her either: "I don't trust her. She's supposed to be on my side, but all the time I feel like she's snooping, like she's trying to trip me up" (11.98). This we can't be as upset about because it's Riley's job to investigate the husband, but her hatred of Rachel is so unusual, it almost feels personal.

Detective Riley in The Girl on the Train Study Group

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