1. The island presents a unique setting for the story, as it is both a paradise and an escape, and also in the midst of political turmoil. How do you think this environment impacts the behaviour of the characters?
2. Across the island there is tension between the white people and the black Bahamians. Emerald is an interesting character as she has her foot in both camps. When push comes to shove, where do you think Emerald’s loyalties truly lie?
3. Throughout the novel Tilly presents herself as a self-assured good friend to Ella. But when Dodie speaks with her, she catches a “glimpse of a loneliness that tugged at something in her”. Do you pity Tilly at all? What about Hector, who goes to extreme lengths to protect his wife?
4. At various points throughout the novel, love is equated with gold. Hector says, ‘Everything is always about money …. or love.” We are led to believe throughout the novel that the killings are all in pursuit of gold, but that doesn’t turn out to be the case. Do you think the decisions people make out of financial greed are similar to the irrational decisions people make when they are in love?
5. Throughout the novel, Reggie is described as a good and decent man. At the end of the novel, he seems clearly to have forgiven Ella for her infidelity, even though they don’t speak of it. Do you respect Reggie for this decision? Why or why not?
6. Ella says, “As the wife of an MP she would be able to do something positive, influence his policies. She could leave a dent in the world that said Ella Sandford was here.” Do you think that Ella and Dodie have made their mark on the world by the end of the novel?
7. What purpose does Mama Keel’s character serve in the story? What does her presence say about the island, its culture and its people?
8. When we first see Ella, she is helping Reggie with his cufflinks while wearing an evening gown, seemingly happy with her lifestyle. By the end of the novel she has thrown herself into an affair with Dan and is more outspoken in her search for truth about what happened to Morrell. Is there one particular moment, or character, in the story who you think first sparks this change in Ella?
9. Do die calls Morrell a “killer” in front of Flynn, which naturally would extend to Flynn as well. Yet Dodie has relatively few reservations about Flynn and dives headfirst into a relationship with him. Why do you think she is so trusting of this man?
10. Why do you think Dodie and Ella are so protective of each other? Is it simply because they are both women, or are there other reasons that they form such a strong bond?