Tarnished by Julia Crouch (Book Summary)

Margaret Thwaites or Peg lives with her girlfriend, Loz in an apartment. Peg works as a library assistant while Loz is a chef.

Aside from being an assistant, Peg does her duty to Doll (her nan/grandmother) and Aunt Jean (her father’s sister). Doll suffers from Dementia while Jean is obese and bedridden.

Because of Doll’s condition, Peg decides to reach out to her estranged father, Raymond. She found him in Spain through his bar called Flamingos. Raymond already has his own family – a new wife named Caroline and a son named Paulie. He’s a rich businessman, and when they met he offered Peg money so she can put the past behind and so he could make it up to her. When Peg mentioned Doll to Raymond, he got furious. He clarified that he will never contact Doll and Jean again. Disappointed, Peg decided to go home.

Since Raymond refused to answer her questions about the past, Peg started researching. She found an article – and it revealed that Raymond was sent to jail due to the mercy killing of his wife (Peg’s mother) who has cancer. While researching, Doll was rushed to the hospital due to a mild stroke and she stayed there for days, so Peg had to stay home to clean up and also to take care of her Aunt Jean.

While cleaning up the bungalow, she discovered a few things:

  • She discovered photos of Raymond with a beautiful blonde
  • She discovered a photo of Jean with a guy
  • She discovered a key

When she confronted Jean about this, she told Peg that the guy she was with was his fiance named Tony. When Peg showed her the photo of the blonde girl, she got angry and tore the photos. Stunned with her reaction, Peg and Loz decided to do some research of their own.

They found out that the pretty woman in the photo is Mary Perkins and she used to work at Raymond’s bar. She went missing, and how she was murdered never got solved. The only progress was when her head was seen by Colin, a neighbor’s son, a beachcomber. Colin eventually hanged himself in jail.

They also discovered another girl that was missing. Her name’s Anna Thurlow, and she was the girl who bullied Peg back then at school.

When Doll got home from the hospital, Peg decided to ask her questions. She answered some, but when she got agitated, Peg left her to sleep so she can do groceries and do more research. However, when she got home, she found Doll lifeless, near the bin where the photos that Jean tore up were thrown. She felt guilty.

During Doll’s funeral, Raymond showed up and there was an argument because Loz started to ask questions. Peg got angry at Loz because she ruined Doll’s funeral. Loz went home, and Peg stayed behind. She had drinks with Raymond and they argued. Peg mentioned about going to the police. They were interrupted when Jean called Raymond.

When Peg woke up, Raymond was gone. Peg decided to go back home and look for Loz because she felt like she was right all along. However, when she arrived at the apartment, it was messy and she called her work – Loz didn’t report for work that day. She later on received a call from Parker – the guy at the garage (they found this garage through the key that they discovered while cleaning up). Parker and Peg opened the garage and found Loz who was weak and struggling to speak. Just in time, Raymond’s men arrived and checked on the garage. They got frantic when they found the garage empty. Before leaving, they threw explosives in the garage. When they were gone, Peg decided to go back home and confront her Aunt Jean.

Before Jean and Raymond talked, Raymond’s original plan was to send Jean to a home so they would no longer have the burden of taking care of her. After they talked, Jean revealed that Raymond changed his plan – he would be building a home in Spain for Jean and he would pay Peg to look after her. Peg confronted Jean, she asked why they locked Loz up in the garage. Jean later on revealed that he ordered Raymond to do that because Loz was ruining their lives. Peg recorded the confession and left Jean, so she can call the police. However when Peg was about to call the police, Jean suddenly emerged – it turns out she was not bedridden after all. She held a knife at Loz, but good thing Parker (man from the garage) came back to the rescue. As they struggled with the knife, Jean’s heart stopped beating. They assumed she had a heart attack.


A few moments later, Raymond’s men arrived and he was able to clarify a few things. Peg found the answers to her questions through Raymond and the commonplace (Doll’s notebooks/diary):

  • Jean accused Raymond of pushing their baby brother Keith to the river but he was too young to know if he did or if Jean made it up, but it was what she used to keep on blackmailing him.
  • It wasn’t Raymond who killed his wife, it was Doll. She has become like that when Keith died – she has become overprotective of her family. He took the blame to escape Doll and Jean, and also because they made him do it. He got no choice but to own someone else’s crime because it’s the two of them against him.
  • It was also Doll who killed Anna Thurlow because she made Peg cry. Doll drew what she did to Anna in the notebook. Her remains are still also in the garage where they found Loz.
  • It was Doll who killed Mary Perkins and Tony, Jean’s fiance.
  • It was Doll who killed Frank, her husband. She killed him because he was on the verge of confessing Doll’s crime. Doll and Jean made it look like it’s a heart attack.
  • Raymond left Peg as a kid with Doll and Jean not because he wanted to but because Jean kept on blackmailing him. Jean also told him that Peg makes Doll happy, and it wouldn’t be right for him to take away Doll’s happiness.

Peg accepted Raymond’s offer to start fresh, and to no longer go to the police in two conditions: 1.) Raymond should accept Loz as her girlfriend and 2.) Raymond should give Parker a job.

Peg decided not to go to the police because it would hurt the families of Mary, Anna & Tony to know how they died. The End.

Published by

Eva Harmoni

There was one night when the rain poured so hard, and i didn't want it to stop. Weird, because i was afraid and amused by the sound of the rain and thunder. The sound of it made me less alone that night. The next day i woke up to find my collection of journals soaked. I keep it near the window to make sure no one could read it. The writings can still be read but i was devastated by the damage. I wanted it preserved but i don't want it published. Still amused by the rain but afraid of the wrath it could bring to my journals, i created this blog.

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