Where the Crawdads Sing is one of those stories that has all the elements of a good murder mystery. Spooky setting? Check. Complicated femme fatale? Check. A surprise ending that makes you audibly swear? That’s a big check.
In fact, that third little detail is why we’re here today. If you’re someone who has to look at the back of a novel before you commit, we’re here to help. Consider this your guide to the twisting final moments of this book and its film adaptation.
Was Kya Found Guilty of Chase’s Death?
Kya (Daisy Edgar-Jones) may have been hated by her town, but she had a good lawyer on her side. Throughout her trial, Tom Milton (David Strathairn) argued that people had been prejudiced against Kya her entire life. Furthermore, the night that Chase Andrews (Harris Dickinson) was murdered was the one night that Kya was out of town. In order to kill him, she would have had to return by bus in the middle of the night. Since neither of the bus drivers remember anyone who looked like Kya, that possibility seemed unlikely.
The jury eventually sided with Tom on this one. Kya was found not guilty of Chase’s murder and was able to walk away with her freedom.
How Does Where the Crawdads Sing End? What Is The Where The Crawdads Sing Ending, Explained
Kya essentially walked out of the courthouse and into the arms of her one love, Tate (Taylor John Smith). After her name was cleared, Tate apologized for ever leaving her. He explained that he thought the had to choose between his future and her, but after almost losing her, he decided to reject that binary choice. Where the Crawdads Sing ended with Kya and Tate officially becoming a couple. They spent decades together in their little house in the marsh, studying various wildlife and taking samples. In the movie’s final scenes, Kya (Leslie France) died of old age after hallucinating her mother one last time.
Did Kya Kill Chase?
OK, so that was a bit of a lie. Kya’s death happens at the end of Where the Crawdads Sing, but it’s not the very last moment. After Kya’s death in her 70s, an older Tate (Sam Anderson) sorted through her journals. That’s where he found Chase Andrews’ shell necklace.
That shell necklace was a huge part of the case against Kya. Chase’s friends knew that he wore it often, and it was widely known to be a present from the marsh girl. I mean, look at it. It’s a shell hanging from a piece of leather. It looks exactly like the sort of gift Kya would give a person. But when Chase’s body was found, the necklace was missing. Those who were skeptical of Kya argued that she grabbed it while she was cleaning up the crime scene.
Turns out that’s exactly what happened. After Kya fought Chase and he tried to rape her, she went into full-on survival mode. She knew she had to kill Chase Andrews, and to do that she had to have a good alibi. As her book publisher testified, Kya did travel to Greenville the day before Chase was murdered. But like the prosecution argued, she disguised herself and caught a bus back to town in the middle of the night. In roughly an hour, Kya lured Chase out of him home, convinced him to go with her to the fire tower, caused him to fall to his death, and cleaned up the evidence. The book reveals that Kya specifically made sure that Chase would die during low tide, ensuring that the rising waters would wash away their footprints. She then disguised herself again, returned to Greenville, and pretended like nothing had happened.
At the end, Kya was able to get the revenge and safety she craved without facing any sort of punishment. Forget the world of publishing. Clearly this woman was meant to be a professional assassin.