Summary and Analysis Part IV: Chapter 49



While Geyer goes on his Midwest quest to retrace Holmes's recent steps, Holmes remains in prison in Philadelphia. He begins to manipulate prison life to suit his needs, and he gets what he wants, such as a newspaper to follow his growing fame and Geyer's search for more information. Furthermore, Holmes takes to writing a diary of his prison days and a memoir of his life, likely both distortions of the truth. He also writes a letter to Carrie Pietzel, probably in an effort to document the story he told police about the Pietzel children being with Minnie Williams in England.


Larson develops Holmes's character even more by showing that his insanity has no limits or end. The reader cannot help but wonder why Holmes doesn't give up his charade now that he is in prison and he knows that Geyer is investigating him. Geyer's search for the children only excites Holmes. In these ways, Larson burrows deeper into Holmes's insanity, as the killer revels in Geyer's search for the missing children.

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