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Who killed Hannah Schneider?

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Showing 1-25 of 57 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 11, 2006 11:25:19 PM PST
Claire Kelly says:
Someone, anyone, please!!

We know a few things about the killer:
1. He wears glasses
2. He smokes
3. He knew where they would be
4. He learned his skills in South America (the demoiselle)
5. Hannah knew him

Anyone want to contribute?


In reply to an earlier post on Dec 18, 2006 6:47:03 PM PST
Cedric's Mom says:
Hmm, well, I'm on page 322 Now (they're on the backpacking trip), but it occurs to me that the story is probably counting on us making certain assumptions; for one thing, Blue sees her dad as some kind of hero/god, but he sounds like a shmuck to me. It's easy to impress a 16 YO kid; a woman of Gareth's own age won't think he's so great (like Eva). Could he have done it?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 11, 2007 2:21:37 AM PST
You're probably right. That man bamboozled his daughter in thinking he was a completely different person from what he eventually turned out to be. And the fact that he disappeared is mightyly suspect.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 28, 2007 9:45:02 PM PST
M. Kindt says:
There's no way he did it. Through the whole book he abhors violence -- a point made over and over again. Towards the end I think she practically tells you that the gardner guy did it -- using the camo he bought at walmart....

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 12, 2007 5:58:32 PM PST
hey, this has nothing to do with this topic, but what type of flower was frequently mentioned in the book? just wondering.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 12, 2007 8:30:40 PM PST
nyc2cents says:
I think it is basically irrelevant, other than it was orchestrated by The Nightwatch 'hierarchy'. I don't think Gareth was involved in the actual operation of arranging it, otherwise he would have been more knowledgeable about the crisis that happened with Blue--and also, more apprehensive to let her go on the campout--because he would have known about the campout--and not from Blue. If it is meant to be tied up neatly, then I would vote for the "gardner" who already has a history of activities that involve gunshot wounds.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 17, 2007 1:59:07 AM PST
E. Johnson says:
Regarding Claire Kelly's #4 on her list.

The killer did not learn the demoiselle in South America. He learned them in the *south* of America where they were used for lynchings by the KKK.

I'm curious about your #5--why do you think that Hannah knew him?

By the way, I think that the killer was the gardener.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 18, 2007 4:13:35 PM PST
Claire Kelly says:
#5 - it has been a few months now since I read the book but it is clear that Hannah was involved with Gareth when Blue was a little girl - she was trhe one who took care of Blue when her mother died, it just took us a while to understand that. It seems that she and gareth were having an affair and that's why Blue's mother was upset and drove off the road. Hannah and Gareth hadn't been in proper contact since then.
Thanks for clearing up the South American vs Southern North America - I thought demoiselle sounded more Mississippi than Argentina! But Gareth (and for that matter Blue) went everywhere.
I think the gardener was involved - but I think Gareth killed Hannah. I decided that after my second reading of the book.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 18, 2007 6:13:08 PM PST
nyc2cents says:
But Gareth doesn't like to get his hands dirty, so I don't think he did it. Also, the killer was wearing glasses--which Gareth doesn't (I believe). But most importantly, Gareth was genuinely concerned for his daughter's welfare, particularly in the scene when she was 'rescued' from the camping expedition and quite traumatized by being lost in the woods. So if he had been the killer, it wouldn't be a surprise to him that she was lost in the woods, and I don't think he would have put his daughter at risk.

My question is why did Gareth come to Stockton, NC--presumably knowing that Hannah was there? (because when Hannah passes them in the supermarket the first time, Gareth is completely blase--so if he had not known she was in Stockton, he would have registered some surprise).

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 19, 2007 6:02:13 AM PST
DVL says:
If I remember correctly, Pessl made it rather clear in the final exam that Andreo Verduga was a part of the Nightwatchmen the entire time and that he, with his camoflauge gear, was the one who killed Hannah. Remember also, Blue smells a certain cologne at the very end of the last chapter; remember also, Andreo's infamously strong cologne.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 19, 2007 2:52:05 PM PST
Claire Kelly says:
Really? I wouldn't have said anything was 'clear'...

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 19, 2007 2:53:40 PM PST
Claire Kelly says:
Yes, it was clear that Verduga was in the Nightwatchmen, and had done things. I wouldn't have thought, though, that there was anything 'clear' about the end...

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 19, 2007 2:57:04 PM PST
Claire Kelly says:
Very true, Gareth likes to dodge any actual blood. The glasses thing has always bugged me.
Gareth was genuinesly concerned for Blue's welfare when Verduga got shot and she took him to the hospital, too - but I think sometimes his concern is more about getting busted - she is an accessory to him, something that makes him more 'real' or 'human'. Not worthy of suspicion. Which is not to say he doesn't love her, but he wants her alive and as much like him as possible, not necessarily happy. He resents her making friends with people who are different to the sort he would choose for her.
As for being so blase when he sees Hannah in NC - I think he is just very good at appearing blase. A lifetime of experience.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 17, 2007 3:37:42 PM PDT
LDW says:
I agree (after just finishing this book) that it was indeed the gardener. The question over glasses.......wasn't there a hint that he had purchased night vision eyewear?
I think it was intentional for Gareth to move to the town in which Hannah lived....whether for romantic or business reasons, who knows.
So Blue had actually seen the gardener in the "wal-mart" type store with her father and then later in Paris (she thought she was mistaken both times...)

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 26, 2007 5:27:47 PM PDT
Karen K says:
Thanks for the interesting forum. What I consider to be a few hints:
- In the intro, Jade says to Blue, "I know what happened had nothing to do with you. She just lost it, ..." Blue writes that she "thought about interrupting her with my little cliff-hanger, my about-face, my kick in the teeth, ..." I took it at first to mean that Blue felt responsible for Hannah's death (because Gareth did it?), but it's vague enough that it could just mean that Hannah was murdered.
- While Gareth usually avoids violence, he was there when Smoke was killed, and he was arguing with Baba au Rhum / Kouropoulos / Gracey about "hiding behind the lecture podium". Was the argument about planning Hannah's death or having Gareth actually doing it?
- Whoever killed Hannah was someone she trusted to help her disappear. Did she not tell Blue goodbye (as she did the others) because she thought she would see Blue after she disappeared? Gareth wears glasses in the sketch.
- Was Gareth too protective to do it if Blue was there? I don't think so. He would have known what was planned for Hannah and he must have known that she was going camping despite her excuse. He has put her in danger himself with the gardener, spending time with Gracey in Paris, dinner meetings with recruits, etc. I believe he loved her, but not so much that it stopped him from abandoning her.
- Gareth tells Blue that "The clearest, most palpable things in life... often go unnoticed." It might be the obvious choice--Gareth--and the gardner is easily as likely. A character not introduced in the book is unlikely.
- As in the film "L'Avventura" with the ellipsis ending, we aren't supposed to know for certain.

One more thing that I found when looking for the first reference, St. Gallway's admission catalogue was in the back of the Volvo with five copies of Gareth's essay, "Nachtlich: Popular Myths of Freedom Fighting." This seems to prove what seemed obvious: He chose the school because Hannah was there.

In reply to an earlier post on May 22, 2007 4:45:19 PM PDT
I think it was Andreo Verduga. I think the key clue Pessl gives us is the smoking cigarette butt at the campsite. When Verduga first comes into the novel, Pessl specifically points out this quirk - that he threw his butts onto the ground without taking the time to extinguish them. Verduga must have been the Nightwatchmen's hit man, sent to eliminate Hannah because she was becoming a liability to them.

In reply to an earlier post on May 26, 2007 11:53:16 AM PDT
Julia S says:
Verduga is Spanish for "hangman" or "executioner"

In reply to an earlier post on May 26, 2007 7:28:02 PM PDT
Claire Kelly says:
Wow - that is interesting - lends more wight to that theory... I think it was probably him ultimately - I would like to know though, whether Gareth knew it was going to happen. He wouldn't have been aware that Blue was going on the camping trip. Although if he was aware, perhaps he was worried that Hannah was going to confess her involvement with Garerth when Blue was little, and possible her involvement in Blue's mum's death...

Such a good book I can't wait till Peshl publishes another...

In reply to an earlier post on May 27, 2007 5:36:20 AM PDT
could Garerth have been killed by the nightwatch and Verduga because he did not want to kill Hannah because Blue cares about her?

In reply to an earlier post on May 27, 2007 4:34:20 PM PDT
Claire Kelly says:
I don't think Gareth is dead - I think he realised when Blue put it all together that it put both of them in danger and the only thing he could do was to get out of there. I know he loved Blue - but I think he liked his sense of self-righteousness more!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2007 10:47:07 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 26, 2007 10:47:39 AM PDT
Sylvia Beach says:
I don't think hannah died at all, i think she had some sort of twin (the photograph blue found?) and she only staged her death in order to disappear like all of those newspaper clippings. Verduga killed the twin because he is part of the nightwatchmen and is the hit man and wanted to help hannah (aka catherine) disappear. Catherine Baker and Garerth or "Socrates" are off somewhere together as we speak.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 3, 2007 1:56:55 PM PDT
The photo Blue found was of her mother with Hannah. And why think Catherine would be with Gareth rather than w/Gracey?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 11, 2007 10:15:11 AM PDT
H. Karaki says:
I think an important point in why Gareth left is the 'justice' discussion he had with his daughter. She made it clear that she would seek justice no matter what. He realized if she put together that much in a short time, she'll figure him out before long and will either leave him or report him or both. So he left

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 7, 2007 8:37:45 AM PDT
mellabee says:
I left the book thinking:
1 that Gareth was the darkest (most guilty) character in the book, whether he actually used his hands to kill Hannah or not. His association with the Greek man and his clear affinity for the man, despite his awful personality, darkens him from that point on. Did anyone else catch a strong scent of "Lolita" thoughout the book as Gareth and Blue were traveling? Gareth struck me as evil the entire time.

2 that the gardner may have been more of a metaphor for a variety of mercenaries that Gareth/Hannah/the Greek employed--men that were the brawn of the Nightwatchmen rather than the thinkers.

3 by the way, the finale with Zach was the only disappointing part of the book. The hideout at home was interesting but ultimately sort of fizzled out, and a romance with Zach fizzles for me as well. Why couldn't Blue have come into power somehow? Met Elektra or Pysche, or confronted the Greek? Not gone to Harvard? Rebelled or acted out in some more definitive way?

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 18, 2007 9:10:38 AM PDT
Biblioworm says:
Interested Reader wrote: Verduga is Spanish for "hangman" or "executioner"

To be a little picky, the word is "verdugo."

When I ran across the name "Andreo Verduga" I thought, "Oops, Pessl doesn't know everything! The proper Spanish name is Andrés, not Andreo, and no one would have a surname that sounds like 'hangman.'" But at the end of the book I realized that she DOES know all! The astute reader is supposed to be suspicious of Verduga from the start. This, of course, doesn't prove that he was the killer.

Another example of how Pessl's "errors" are no errors at all: Blue twice refers to Homer as belonging to the "Hellenistic period." This would be a gross mistake. Homer dates from the Archaic period (check Wikipedia if you want a quick refresher course). And who is supposedly a professor of Archaic Greek at the Sorbonne? Servo. Blue's unusual bit of ignorance about Greek history mirrors her ignorance about Servo.

So who killed Hannah? I'm not sure, but Gareth certainly wears glasses: see the "visual aids" pictured in "visual aids" 2.1, 2.2, and 18.0. And what is the truth -- OK, the hypothesis -- that Blue Van Meer would be most eager to avoid considering?

My compliments to Marisha Pessl on an outstanding novel. I look forward to the next one.
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Participants:  37
Total posts:  57
Initial post:  Dec 11, 2006
Latest post:  28 days ago

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Special Topics in Calamity Physics
Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl (Paperback - January 1, 2007)
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