Several weeks after the events of the last chapter, Jutta and Max have left Essen by train for Saint-Malo. Jutta is carrying Werner’s notebook, along with the tiny model house (which was also in the duffel bag). As the train approaches the town, Jutta is struck by the beauty of the sea. She remembers a letter Werner wrote her, in which he talked about being unable to follow orders while looking at the sea.
Although Jutta recognizes that Werner allowed his pseudo-innocent interest in science to blind him to the evils of the Nazi state, she also sees that he was changing his mind about Fascism toward the end of his short life. Unbeknownst to her, after writing this letter he went on to kill a Nazi officer in order to save the life of an innocent French girl.
Jutta finds a place to stay in Saint-Malo, but can’t quite explain to herself why she’s in town. Max entertains himself by telling Jutta clever riddles. Jutta asks a local man about a large house that stood before World War II, and the man points her to Etienne LeBlanc’s house. Jutta walks to the house, taking Max with her. As they walk, Jutta wonders aloud why anyone would have a miniature model of the house. Max suggests that the house is a puzzle that can be opened.
Max’s flash of insight in this scene is, of course, exactly right: there’s an object inside the model house, which Jutta must discover. The children in the novel are often more creative, brave, and insightful than their parents—or at least have the right eye for the puzzles and hidden connections that bring the novel together.