The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

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Judy Boone (Christopher’s mother) Character Analysis

Judy is Christopher’s mother, who works as a secretary. Christopher believes her dead for two years before finding her letters to him hidden in his father’s cupboard. In fact, Judy couldn’t handle the stress of having Christopher as her son, and thought that Ed was taking better care of him, so she left to live in London with Mr. Shears. She feels terribly guilty about this decision, as she expresses in her letters. When Christopher shows up at her London flat, she’s shocked to find that he believed her dead and realizes that she needs to take a more active part in her son’s life. She brings Christopher back to Swindon and rents a house there.

Judy Boone (Christopher’s mother) Quotes in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time quotes below are all either spoken by Judy Boone (Christopher’s mother) or refer to Judy Boone (Christopher’s mother). For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Growing Up Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Vintage edition of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time published in 2004.
Chapter 67 Quotes

Mr. Shears used to be married to Mrs. Shears and they lived together until two years ago. Then Mr. Shears left and didn’t come back. This was why Mrs. Shears came over and did lots of cooking for us after Mother died, because she didn’t have to cook for Mr. Shears anymore and she didn’t have to stay at home and be his wife. And also Father said that she needed company and didn’t want to be on her own.

And sometimes Mrs. Shears stayed overnight at our house...

Related Characters: Christopher John Francis Boone (speaker), Ed Boone (Christopher’s father), Judy Boone (Christopher’s mother), Eileen Shears, Roger Shears
Page Number: 42
Explanation and Analysis:

When Christopher leaves Mrs. Alexander’s house, he’s thinking about the mystery and realizes that Mr. Shears should be his prime suspect, because Mr. Shears didn’t like Mrs. Shears and might have wanted to hurt her. This passage actually provides much of the background needed to solve the mystery, but Christopher approaches it from the wrong angle. Mr. Shears left around the same time Judy supposedly died, and Mrs. Shears became close to Ed in the aftermath. These are the fundamental clues needed to figure out that Mr. Shears actually left with Judy, Ed hoped to take up with Mrs. Shears, and he became angry when she refused him. Thus, Christopher unwittingly provides the reader with the clues needed to solve the mystery, even though he doesn’t realize they’re clues. The matter-of-fact way in which Christopher presents these circumstances shows how oblivious he can sometimes be to the nuances in the relationships of the adults around him.

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Chapter 97 Quotes

And Mrs. Alexander said, “Your mother, before she died, was very good friends with Mr. Shears.”

And I said, “I know.”

And she said, “No, Christopher, I’m not sure that you do. I mean that they were very good friends. Very, very good friends.”

I thought about this for a while and said, “Do you mean that they were doing sex?”

And Mrs. Alexander said, “Yes, Christopher. That is what I mean.”

Related Characters: Christopher John Francis Boone (speaker), Mrs. Alexander (speaker), Judy Boone (Christopher’s mother), Roger Shears
Page Number: 60
Explanation and Analysis:

When Mrs. Alexander realizes that Christopher believes his mother is dead and doesn’t know about her affair, she decides that she has already said too much and has to reveal the truth. This is the moment in which Christopher finds out that his mother was having an affair with Mr. Shears, an essential piece of information that leads to the unraveling of Christopher’s life as he knows it. Mrs. Alexander, a kind old lady, doesn’t feel she can say what she means outright, instead calling Judy and Mr. Shears “very good friends.” Christopher, who usually doesn’t understand implied meanings, catches on surprisingly quickly, responding in his usual blunt style. This forces the reader to wonder whether Christopher might have, on some unconscious level, already known this information about his mother.

This is an important moment in Christopher’s process of growing up, as he learns an awful truth about his mother, and its repercussions will force him to face an unraveling strand of lies.

Chapter 109 Quotes

But I don’t feel sad about it. Because Mother is dead. And because Mr. Shears isn’t around any more. So I would be feeling sad about something that isn’t real and doesn’t exist. And that would be stupid.

Related Characters: Christopher John Francis Boone (speaker), Judy Boone (Christopher’s mother), Siobhan, Roger Shears
Page Number: 75
Explanation and Analysis:

Christopher tells Siobhan this after she reads his account of Mrs. Alexander’s revelation concerning his mother. Siobhan is worried that Christopher might be upset about it, even if he isn’t acknowledging his feelings to himself. However, Christopher insists that it would be stupid to feel sad about the situation. He manages to an admirable extent to live in the present moment, as he argues for the irrationality of being upset by saying that since the affair is over and his mother is dead, it’s now irrelevant to his life. This attitude also relates to his need for logic and facts. He says the affair “doesn’t exist,” which is, in theory, true, because he believes it’s now nothing more than an intangible memory. As something that’s now only thought of, the affair ends up in a similar category as lies, which Christopher avoids thinking about. However, the information about the affair will soon have tangible consequences, and Christopher will be forced to consider it more deeply.

Chapter 157 Quotes

And I couldn’t walk properly for a month, do you remember, and your father had to look after you. And I remember looking at the two of you and seeing you together and thinking how you were really different with him. Much calmer. And you didn’t shout at one another. And it made me so sad because it was like you didn’t really need me at all.

Related Characters: Judy Boone (Christopher’s mother) (speaker), Christopher John Francis Boone, Ed Boone (Christopher’s father)
Page Number: 108-109
Explanation and Analysis:

This passage comes from one of Judy’s letters to Christopher, in which she reminds him of an incident where they got in an argument and he threw a cutting board, which broke her toes. At this point, she was having an affair with Mr. Shears, but didn’t want to leave Ed because that would mean leaving Christopher. This passage, then, explains her justification for finally leaving. Judy wants to believe that leaving was the right choice, not just for herself, but also for Christopher. She felt crippled not only physically, but also in terms of her ability to mother him. She wanted to be an absolutely necessary part of Christopher’s life, someone without whom he couldn’t thrive, but she decided that she was not fulfilling this role.

This passage provides a view into Judy’s inner turmoil and pain over being Christopher’s mother. Additionally, however, it raises the question of whether Christopher really does need Judy. Before he finds her letters, he does seem to be living a complete, relatively happy life alone with Ed. However, this life is based upon a lie, and it is the very existence of the lie and Ed’s choice to tell it that proves that the family does, in fact, need Judy.

Mother had not had a heart attack. Mother had not died. Mother had been alive all the time. And Father had lied about this.

I tried really hard to think if there was any other explanation but I couldn’t think of one. And then I couldn’t think of anything at all because my brain wasn’t working properly.

I felt giddy. It was like the room was swinging from side to side, as if it was at the top of a really tall building and the building was swinging backward and forward in a strong wind (this is a simile, too). But I knew that the room couldn’t be swinging backward and forward, so it must have been something which was happening inside my head.

I rolled onto the bed and curled up in a ball.

My stomach hurt.

Related Characters: Christopher John Francis Boone (speaker), Ed Boone (Christopher’s father), Judy Boone (Christopher’s mother)
Page Number: 112-13
Explanation and Analysis:

This is the essential moment in the book at which Christopher, having read a number of the letters that his mother sent to him and his father hid from him, realizes that Ed has lied about Judy’s death. This would obviously be an extremely traumatic experience for anyone, but Christopher in particular needs the truth in order to feel safe and secure in his life. Furthermore, he needs to be able to trust people completely in order to feel comfortable around them. His mother being alive is enough of a shock, but on top of that, he has to deal with the fact that Ed, whom he thought he could trust more than anyone because Ed loves him, has deceived him to an enormous degree.

With these basic facts of Christopher’s life suddenly uprooted, the shock prevents him from thinking properly, and since logic is another pillar of his existence, he begins to feel completely disoriented. He experiences a physical reaction to the psychological trauma, and begins to feel sick.

Chapter 227 Quotes

And then she made a loud wailing noise like an animal on a nature program on television.

And I didn’t like her doing this because it was a loud noise, and I said, “Why are you doing that?”

And she didn’t say anything for a while, and then she said, “Oh, Christopher, I’m so sorry.”

And I said, “It’s not your fault.”

And then she said, “Bastard. The bastard.”

And then, after a while, she said, “Christopher, let me hold your hand. Just for once. Just for me. Will you? I won’t hold it hard,” and she held out her hand.

And I said, “I don’t like people holding my hand.”

Related Characters: Christopher John Francis Boone (speaker), Judy Boone (Christopher’s mother) (speaker), Ed Boone (Christopher’s father)
Page Number: 193-94
Explanation and Analysis:

After Christopher arrives at his mother’s flat, she has him take a bath, and she sits in the bathroom with him while Christopher explains that Ed told him she had died. Her response in this passage shows the deep pain that exists in all the relationships in Christopher’s family, a pain so awful that it can be expressed in no better way than a wordless wail.

When Christopher likens Judy’s wail to that of a wild animal, he gives her emotion a primal quality, connecting it to some deep maternal instinct to protect her son. However, her attempt to soothe her own pain fails, as Christopher refuses to hold her hand. Furthermore, this episode shows the difficulty that Judy has connecting with her son. She needs physical contact to get them both through this awful moment, but physical contact would only make Christopher lash out or feel unsafe.

And Mother shouted, “What in God’s name did you think you were playing at, saying those things to him?”

And Father shouted, “What was I playing at? You were the one that bloody left.”

And Mother shouted, “So you decided to just wipe me out of his life altogether?... I wrote to him every week. Every week.”

And Father shouted, “Wrote to him? What the fuck use is writing to him?... I cooked his meals. I cleaned his clothes. I looked after him every weekend. I looked after him when he was ill. I took him to the doctor. I worried myself sick every time he wandered off somewhere at night. I went to school every time he got in a fight. And you? What? You wrote him some fucking letters.”

And Mother shouted, “So you thought it was OK to tell him his mother was dead?”

Related Characters: Christopher John Francis Boone (speaker), Ed Boone (Christopher’s father) (speaker), Judy Boone (Christopher’s mother) (speaker)
Page Number: 196-97
Explanation and Analysis:

At Judy’s flat, Christopher wakes up in the middle of the night to find that Ed has arrived, and he and Judy are arguing. In this passage, the conflict and the heartache that Christopher’s parents have endured becomes evident. Both of them have made grave mistakes in their parenting. Judy has expressed her feelings of guilt at leaving in her letters, and Ed has expressed his feelings of guilt at lying in his conversation with Christopher. Thus, although each accuses the other of failing as a parent in this argument and tries to defend their own actions, the reader knows that they both are very conscious of their mistakes. When confronted with their mistakes in this way, however, both Judy and Ed lash out, showing the pain that lies in their relationships with each other, with Christopher, and with themselves.

Chapter 233 Quotes

And then, when I’ve done that, I am going to go to university in another town... And I can live in a flat with a garden and a proper toilet. And I can take Sandy and my books and my computer.

And then I will get a First Class Honors degree and I will become a scientist.

And I know I can do this because I went to London on my own, and because I solved the mystery of Who Killed Wellington? and I found my mother and I was brave and I wrote a book and that means I can do anything.

Related Characters: Christopher John Francis Boone (speaker), Judy Boone (Christopher’s mother), Wellington, Sandy
Related Symbols: Dogs, Maths A Level
Page Number: 220-21
Explanation and Analysis:

Christopher has received an A on his A level exam, and he has begun to study for the next exam. In these closing paragraphs of the novel, he dreams of his future. These ambitions are the same ones he has spoken of since the beginning of the story—but at the beginning, they seemed much more far-fetched and difficult to achieve. When he was consumed by fear of his father and the need to find his mother, his dreams sank to the back of his mind, and he even thought for a while that he wouldn’t be able to take his A level, the one concrete gateway to university.

Over the course of the book, Christopher has overcome all of the challenges that came his way, and now he’s done well on his A level, too. Now that his life is back on track, his recent experiences add up to show his ability to face whatever comes. He has matured emotionally, and now he feels unstoppable.

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Judy Boone (Christopher’s mother) Character Timeline in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The timeline below shows where the character Judy Boone (Christopher’s mother) appears in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 29
Truth, Love, and Safety Theme Icon
Perspective and the Absurdity of the World Theme Icon
...because St. Christopher carried Christ across a river. However, this story is also a lie. Christopher’s mother liked this story because it was about kindness, but Christopher doesn’t want his name to... (full context)
Chapter 37
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Christopher doesn’t tell lies, not because he’s a good person, as his mother said, but simply because he can’t. He has fond memories of his mother, who smelled... (full context)
Chapter 43
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Christopher’s mother, Judy, died two years before. One day when Christopher came home from school, no one was... (full context)
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Christopher wanted to bring his mother food, but Ed said he would buy some and bring it to her when Christopher... (full context)
Chapter 53
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Judy died two weeks after she went to the hospital. Ed had said that she seemed... (full context)
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Judy died of an unexpected heart attack. Christopher was surprised, because he knows a lot about... (full context)
Chapter 61
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After Judy’s death, one of the teachers at school told him his mother was in heaven. However,... (full context)
Chapter 67
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...his wife two years earlier, which was why Mrs. Shears came to help out after Christopher’s mother died. Sometimes Mrs. Shears would stay overnight. Christopher doesn’t know why Mr. Shears left, but... (full context)
Chapter 97
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Christopher begins to speculate that Mr. Shears had something to do with his mother ’s death. Mrs. Alexander seems shocked. She suggests they go for a walk in the... (full context)
Chapter 109
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...the next day, and Siobhan reads it. She asks him about Mrs. Alexander’s revelation about his mother and Mr. Shears. He assures her that he’s not going to tell his father about... (full context)
Chapter 113
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Christopher’s memory works like a video camera, and if someone asks about his mother , he can rewind to various memories of her. He remembers going on vacation to... (full context)
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Unlike Christopher, other people have pictures in their minds of things that haven’t actually happened. His mother used to imagine herself living an idyllic in France, and Siobhan imagines herself on vacation... (full context)
Chapter 149
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...and the only people he knows who write this way are Siobhan, another teacher, and Christopher’s mother . Christopher hears his father coming into the house, so he takes one envelope and... (full context)
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...he can open the envelope, since it’s addressed to him. There’s a letter inside from his mother . She writes about getting a job as a secretary and moving to a new... (full context)
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...wonders if the letter might be in the wrong envelope, though he doesn’t know why his mother would be writing from London. Maybe, he thinks, the letter was meant for another person... (full context)
Chapter 157
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...Ed’s bedroom and finds 43 letters addressed to him. In the first letter he opens, his mother writes about getting a new cooker and fridge. She reminisces about a Christmas when Christopher... (full context)
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...the stores were so crowded that Christopher got upset and crouched on the floor. When Judy tried to move him, he broke merchandise and then lay on the floor screaming. They... (full context)
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Arguments like this were frequent, and eventually Judy began spending more time with Roger Shears, their neighbor, because she felt like she could... (full context)
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One evening, Judy and Christopher got into an argument because Christopher had refused to eat for days. Both... (full context)
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When Mr. Shears asked Judy to come with him to a new job in London, she decided it would be... (full context)
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In the third letter, Judy says that she’s been writing to Christopher every week. She’s gotten a job as a... (full context)
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In the fourth letter, Judy writes about going to the dentist to get two teeth pulled. When Christopher got a... (full context)
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Christopher suddenly has to stop reading the letters, because he feels sick. He’s realized that his mother didn’t die, and his father lied to him. He feels dizzy and curls up. When... (full context)
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...he lied for Christopher’s own good. He says he didn’t know what to do when Judy left, and the situation got out of control. He runs a bath, takes Christopher’s clothes... (full context)
Chapter 163
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...Smarties. When she uncapped the tube, there was actually a pencil inside. She asked what his mother would think was in the capped tube, and Christopher said she’d think there was a... (full context)
Chapter 167
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...he’s joking, but Ed goes on to explain. Mrs. Shears helped out a lot after Judy left, and Ed thought they might move in together. Then he and Mrs. Shears argued,... (full context)
Chapter 179
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...can’t go to live with, and finally realizes that he could go to live with his mother , because he knows her address. However, he doesn’t know how to travel on his... (full context)
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...Alexander asks why he’s going there, and Christopher explains that he’s going to live with his mother because his father lied to him about her death and about Wellington’s. Mrs. Alexander tries... (full context)
Chapter 197
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The train Christopher gets on is crowded. It reminds him of a time when his mother gave two other children a ride home from school, and the car was so crowded... (full context)
Chapter 211
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...London. The woman confirms that he is, and when he gives her the address of his mother ’s flat, the woman tells him which tube station is closest. She’s astonished when Christopher... (full context)
Chapter 227
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Christopher sits against the wall and figures out how the atlas works. He finds his mother ’s road and decides on a route to get there. Then he leaves the station... (full context)
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...touched, and he falls over. Toby escapes again, but Christopher catches him. Mr. Shears and Judy are worried that Ed must be nearby, but Christopher tells them that he came alone... (full context)
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...into the flat. Christopher explores and makes a mental map to help him feel safe. Judy has Christopher take a bath, and they feed Toby. When Toby poops under the sink,... (full context)
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...at the door. It’s a policeman, and Christopher agrees to talk to him only because Judy says she won’t let him take Christopher away. The policeman asks Christopher basic questions about... (full context)
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...the night, he wakes to hear his father shouting at his mother and Mr. Shears. Judy and Ed argue about Ed lying to Christopher. Ed says that writing letters was nothing... (full context)
Chapter 233
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...can’t hear, saying that it’s not going to work for him to stay there long-term. Judy, on the other hand, says that Christopher can stay as long as he wants, and... (full context)
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Judy and Christopher go to a department store to get him new clothes, but there are... (full context)
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When Judy comes home, Christopher tells her that he has to return to Swindon to take his... (full context)
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...the people are gone, and he imagines a pattern of crosses in his head. Eventually his mother runs shouting down the road, and when she finds him, she makes him promise not... (full context)
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Christopher spends the next day in the flat. The day after that, Judy gets fired from her job. Christopher reminds her that he has to take his A... (full context)
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That afternoon, Christopher’s mother takes him to Hampstead Heath, a park. She tells him that she’s called the school... (full context)
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The day after, Judy has Mr. Shears get Christopher some books about science and math, but they’re all too... (full context)
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The morning after this, Judy packs two suitcases, and she and Christopher take Mr. Shears’ car and drive to Swindon,... (full context)
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...is far worse than his best time. In the evening, Ed returns home. He and Judy have a shouting match while Christopher bangs on drums to drown it out. Eventually Judy... (full context)
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The next day, Judy and Christopher are about to get in the car to go to school when Mrs.... (full context)
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...the next part of his exam. That night, Mr. Shears comes to the house, throws Judy’s belongings onto the sidewalk, and takes his car. As Mrs. Shears watches, Judy throws a... (full context)
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That evening, Ed comes to the house to ask Christopher how the exam went. Judy pleads with him to answer Ed’s questions, so Christopher tells him he’s not sure how... (full context)
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The next week, Ed tells Judy she has to leave the flat, but she doesn’t have the money to do so.... (full context)
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...what the future holds. Siobhan tells him to try not to think about the future. Judy buys him a puzzle for which he has to figure out how to detach two... (full context)
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Christopher has to go to his father’s house after school, before his mother finishes work. He pushes his bed against the door so that Ed can’t get in,... (full context)
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One day, when Judy comes to pick Christopher up at Ed’s house, Ed asks to talk to Christopher. Christopher... (full context)
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...and he’s very happy. He names the dog Sandy and takes him for walks. When Judy gets sick, Christopher spends three days at Ed’s house, but he doesn’t mind because Sandy... (full context)
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...he went to London all alone, he solved the mystery of Wellington’s death, he found his mother , and he wrote a book. (full context)