In the closing pages we read the transcript of their last phone conversation. The district attorney’s office had put a recording device on Gwendolyn’s phone to gather evidence for another prosecution. Joel’s rambling, self-pitying conversation is interrupted when Natasha — away at university — calls to let her mother know when she can be picked up at the start of the summer break. This verbatim section, although slightly overextended, still adds to the sense of the shadows closing in. Had the police been more assertive — the officer who was supposed to be watching Gwendolyn’s apartment left his post — she might have survived. Trethewey too is dogged by her own feelings of survivor’s guilt. With this fine book she has at least made amends.