SPOILER ALERT: Dinna read unless you've finished Book 5 in The Fiery Cross. (Shannon - that means you. Go 'way and read something further down the page, Lass!)
OK forgive me if I rush this but there is so much happening in book 6 (or am I on book 7??) now that I have to get to it PRONTO. But the following must be mentioned, so let's get to it.
So here's Claire - all happy after some good stable lovin' with Jamie... where she got a new lesson in Jamie Nethers Aesthetics, if you will. And next thing we know, Betty is no longer drunk in the slaves quarters. No... Betty is now dead in the slaves quarters. How do I know? Because the poor woman is spitting up blood and just keeled over right in front of Claire's face - and in front of "the good doctor's" face - who is now a fan of Claire because she made him feel better after he lost one of his patients. I was proud of Claire for putting away her condescending attitude toward ignorant 19th century doctors for a minute or two, to make him feel better. Go Team Claire.
So Claire - feeling in her gut that Betty was murdered - and in her infinite need to find the culprit (a la Fred from Scooby Doo) - decides she's going to give poor, ol' Betty an autopsy, right there in the shed where she's laid out, awaiting burial. And why is she awaiting burial? Because Jocasta isn't about to bother herself or her guests with the nasty business of burying a slave woman - heaven forbid. Because, you know, she's just a HUMAN BEING and all. (I plan to do a whole post at some point about how the slave storylines are tearing my heart right out of my chest.) So Jamie accompanies Claire to the shed to help hold the lantern steady while she slices Betty into pieces, without asking her next of kin or anything (um, that would be Phaedre, a character I absolutely adore and could read an entire series about, I'm sure.)
So yada yada yada - cut cut cut, "Jamie hold the lantern steady"... and who should come flying in the door but Philip Wylie - followed closely by STEPHEN BONNET. Um, hello? WTF??? Where'd HIS RANK DIRTY IRISH ASS come from???? I was like "Um - did I skim something??" but alas - no - because there he was, all ready to steal some gold from the shed, until JAMES ALEXANDER MALCOLM MACKENZIE FRASER saw him and chased his ass down like a panther chases an antelope in one of those Animal Kingdom shows my dad is obsessed with. It ruled. But unforch - Jamie lost him. And in the skirmish, the shed went up in flames - and poor Phaedre is turning into a mental patient after all this hubbub with her poor mom, Betty. And THEN we find out Bonnet had tied up Jocasta and Duncan, after messing up Duncan pretty dang good... because he's looking for gold she's had hidden in the house since her late husband was alive. (Remember Dougal's gold? Yeah - it's the same gold. Enough said.) And Bonnet had an accomplice who Jocasta knows - because he didn't speak while he was in the room with her, Bonnet and Duncan - so she is assuming he didn't want her to hear his voice.
Anywho.... after all of that... Claire and the gang had a big, ol' powwow in Jocasta's room - and again at breakfast the next morning (god I salivate when the talk about their breads and all those jams) and they all tried to come up with theories about who the mystery tier-upper was.... but to no avail. I'm sure that will come back in another book. But for now... it's just back to life on the Ridge!