Who is really the one who is tipping the balance of Fraser's Ridge?
If there is one certain fact, it is that Malva Christie is an infinitely complex character. To be able to understand it, we must conduct a real investigation, and to do so, we must examine the facts; that is, the tangible elements that we can verify, the accounts of the various protagonists that are like witness statements, and, in this case, the psychological profile of Malva Christie.
The elements of this puzzle are quite subtle to spot during the first reading because, even if Diana Gabaldon regularly sends us warning signals, anticipating the events of volume 6 is practically impossible.
by Lorenza Van Acker
Illustrations : Pitch Mani
o fully understand, let's take the son of this case by starting... by the end. That is, by Allan Christie's confession to Claire at Malva's grave. You can reread these confessions in chapter 122 of volume 6.
First of all, it should be noted that Allan is psychologically unstable and that he is about to commit suicide.
One can therefore think that everything he declares to Claire is the truth; or more accurately, HIS truth. The facts as they know or recognize them.
He confesses to Malva's murder and we have no reason to doubt this confession. Even if before him, Tom had accused himself in order to save Claire who had herself been suspected of the murder, we know that he is not the culprit and we will come back later on the information provided by Tom Christie.
For now, let's focus on Allan's statements.
Apart from the confession of Malva's murder, here's what Allan tells us:
1) Their mother was hanged when Allan was 10 and Malva was 2.
2) They were entrusted to their aunt who neglected and starved them. It was Allan who took care of his little sister.
3) He had an incestuous relationship with Malva.
4) He caught Malva sleeping (or flirting) with Henderson.
5) She told him that she was pregnant and had to find a man to marry her who she could make believe that the child was hers.
6 The idea of accusing Jamie (in order to get money from him and be able to leave) was Allan's.
7) He killed Malva because she no longer wanted to follow the plan and reveal the previously quoted facts to Claire.
t is therefore natural that we reject all the facts about Allan.
This is normal. These revelations are shocking. He confessed. He is the culprit. Case closed.
It's going a little fast in work. Allan does provide us with clarification as to the course of events.
1) We have no reason to deny that there was an incestuous relationship. But of what nature exactly? The touching/sex didn't start when Malva was 2 years old as some claim. Allan is only 10 years old. So he has not yet reached puberty. His sexuality is still dormant.
2) He actually describes the changes he has seen on Malva's body with the arrival of his own puberty. However, at 2 years old, Malva is still practically a baby. Changing it and washing it is something Allan probably took care of... until an age when it was no longer necessary? Possible.
3) During a conversation she will have with Claire, Malva clearly demonstrates that she knows the risks of pregnancy... If she had experienced more than touching from Allan, she would have become pregnant a long time ago. Probably when she herself was only 13 or 14 years old. This was obviously not the case.
4) Finally we can talk about incest but not necessarily rape.
The chronology of the facts as stated by Allan does not agree with what we know.
Let's go back to this chronology before going any further, and trying to draw up the psychological profile of Malva.
June: Discussion with Claire about sex and the pleasures it provides to many women. Malva doesn't seem to know what Claire is talking about. Is she acting or has she really never had sex at that time? We could then hide behind the idea of rape that would prevent the very idea of pleasure. And yet, although it is difficult to admit, it is recognized that in this kind of situation, the human body seeks to defend itself against this attack by all the means it has at its disposal. Therefore, since sexual pleasure largely results from a release of hormones (endorphins) that also allow pain relief, many victims may feel (only physical) pleasure during rape.
Moreover, let us remember that there is no indication that Malva was actually a victim of rape. So the question remains: is she playing the ingénues or has she never actually experienced a real sexual relationship, at most touching? the absence of pregnancy during all these years would favor the second option.
July: Roger catches Malva flirting in the woods with Bobby Higgins. Note in passing that she threatens Roger to spread the rumor that he has a relationship with the widow MacCallum... Malva has a lot of ideas and is not cold in the eyes.
That summer, (we don't know when exactly because we discover the remains with Brianna and Jamie), she casts the spell intended to charm Jamie so that he falls in love with her. It is Tom Christie himself who reveals it to us in chapter 97. But we will come back to that.
September: Malva tries to kill Claire and Tom (Tom also tells us) and tries unsuccessful maneuvers towards Jamie while Claire is supposed to be on her deathbed.
November: She actually gets pregnant.
April: Malva's "Revelation". Slander would be more accurate, by the way. But alas, many people believe the words of this young girl with the face of an angel...
This simple statement of facts seems to bring out the obvious: Malva did not wait until she was pregnant to sleep with several men of the Rigde. It probably started as early as the summer.
Thanks to Ian's testimony, which we find in chapter 82 of volume 6, we know that she must have had a total of 4 sexual partners: we already know Allan and Henderson, we can add Ian and Bobby Higgins. From what Ian tells us, this takes place in the woods...
All 4 are therefore in the running for the title of father of the child she is carrying.
But the important fact here is that she lied. And Allan believed her because she manipulates him too.
Allan, on the other hand, seems to ignore the spell cast on Jamie during the summer. But we are aware of it and, therefore, we know that Jamie has long been Malva's target. That's why she tries to murder Claire in September.
So here's a second false note in Allan's confession. (Who also seems to ignore this double murder attempt.) Why and how would he have the idea, and even the presence of mind, to accuse Jamie? It seems more logical that it was Malva who blew this plan of attack to him.
Another illogic: Allan hoped, he says, that Jamie would pay them to leave... This is totally absurd! Once the accusation was made against the people of Fraser Ridge, Jamie would never have agreed to pay them money, which would have been perceived by all as an admission of his guilt.
Then, what about Tom? He was present at Malva's revelation. It is unthinkable that Allan and Malva could have taken this into account in their escape plan.
That's far too much incoherent detail.
Finally, many rely on the short story "the outlandish companion", which claims that Allan is indeed the father of Malva's child and that it was he who forced Malva to accuse Jamie.
We have not contradicted these two assertions here. We simply expressed doubts that Jamie's accusation was a find by Allan alone. But with this argument, some claim that Malva was already pregnant in the summer. And therefore, that all her actions were dictated either by Allan's pressure or by the despair in which she found herself.
Seductive but inconsistent theory.
Malva claims at the time of her revelation to be 6 months pregnant. If she was already pregnant around the middle of summer, she has every interest in sticking to her version of a desperate Jamie sleeping with her in September. But it seems much more relevant to say that she knows she got pregnant later, because she hastens to add that "it was the first time (her alleged relationship with Jamie, is understood), and then it happened a dozen times".
Everyone knows that a pregnancy lasts 9 months. It cannot be extended. So why would she claim that she is only 6 months pregnant?
All this leads us to the conclusion that only Malva was able to build this plan.
But why and how?
This is what we will try to understand by drawing up the psychological profile of Malva who is most likely a Manipulative Narcissistic Pervert (PNM)
In order to have the heart clear, let's examine the common traits of the manipulative narcissistic perverts ... and let's check if Malva fits that profile.
1) Many MFNs have experienced childhood abuse and Malva does, indeed. From the age of 5, she was taken care of by Tom Christie, a rigid and rigorous father, using corporal punishment. However, it is necessary to recall the very different point of view of the time on corporal punishment. Jamie explains it to us more than once in the books about his childhood and the beatings received by a loving father. Not all children, including Jamie and little Ian, who have suffered corporal punishment become violent, perverse or cruel people.
1) They are seductive which is undeniably the case of Malva. One of their favorite methods of manipulating their victims is to pretend to have common points of interest with you, which Malva does by taking an interest in medicine, which does not fail to seduce Claire who does not take long to make Malva are apprentice.
2) They make themselves indispensable, which is why Malva offers to help and assist Claire as soon as possible and makes sure that she is the one to whom Claire rests for all delicate operations.
3) They seek admiration and want to be the center of attention. Malva manages to do this without any problems with Claire who even ends up considering her as her daughter. His many "conquests" also demonstrate this. In addition, the PNMs can't stand being resisted and this certainly explains the fate cast in order to seduce Jamie who has eyes only for his wife.
4) They are liars, which is, obviously, Malva's characteristic feature! Let's take a closer look at his accusation against Jamie. His game is perfect. She takes an element of truth: Claire's illness that put Jamie to despair and the fact that she asked him if she could do something for him. Jamie thanked her and fired her... This is where Malva's version diverges. She goes so far as to use the presence of a blood stain on the carpet of Jamie's office as proof that he deflowered it there... This is an odious lie. But only the inhabitants of the big house know that this stain is the work of Jemmy who bled his nose there.
5) Which brings us to the next point: they manipulate using the information in their possession. In this case, this is the famous scar under Jamie's buttock. If the answer is not given clearly in the books, it can be assumed that Malva found this information in Claire's notebook. The same notebook in which she probably found all the available information about the bacteria she will use to try to kill her.
6) They divide and rule, which is exactly the purpose of Malva's "revelation." Moreover, when Claire flees the room after slapping her, she dares to triumphantly proclaim to Jamie: "Your wife believes me!"
7) They have a double face. No one fits this expression better than Malva! Who could expect such a lie and perversity from a person with an angelic appearance?
8) The attraction for money and power. In his confession to Claire (chapter 97 of volume 6) Tom reveals that Malva had an obsession with money and power. That they were synonymous with freedom for her, and that's why she wanted Jamie. We know Jamie is not rich. But many believe the opposite. In addition, he owns the lands on the Ridge. Becoming Jamie's wife would have made Malva "The Lady of the Ridge," in other words the highest social position she could have attained as long as she lived there. That's why she tried to murder Claire.
9) Deviant sexuality often involving incest. We have already admitted that this is the case for Malva with a brother she has been handling for years.
10) A total lack of empathy. There is everything we have already said: attempted murder, slander, manipulation, ... For narcissistic Perverts, everything is acceptable to achieve their ends. It doesn't matter what they destroy in their wake. Only their goal counts. As her father confesses, she would certainly still have tried to murder Claire. She could probably even have tried to kill Jamie in order to get the inheritance for the child she was carrying. And Tom Christie added that she didn't see any harm in what she was doing. How could she have, since she has no empathy. And this is a very important point. Because someone who has no empathy of can not, does not want to change and this is probably also what lost it. For with the power she wielded over Allan without taking into account how he himself felt, she did not imagine for a moment that, taken by a murderous rage, he could kill her. Allan tells us "Malva was everything to him". He couldn't stand that she abandoned him, that "his little Malva" escaped him.
Some readers might be surprised that Claire was fooled so easily.
But how could a person as frank and upright suggest such a perverse functioning as Malva's? A young girl with adorable surroundings, benevolent, and above all who gives hope to a possible heiress of her medical knowledge. We know that this is one of Claire's great worries: who will take over from her? And that's the raison d'être of his notebook.
In addition, we are forced to admit that Claire, despite her undeniable qualities, has never really shone by her ability to judge people at first glance. One need only remember her friendship with Geillis, her first impression of the Duke of Sandringham whom she finds "rather sympathetic", and, conversely, her resentment towards Lord John, whom she is very suspicious of.
I think Malva, is the most dangerous character Jamie and Claire have met on their way since the infamous BJR who, despite his proven madness, worried about his younger brother, while Malva is ready to sacrifice his entire family.