The Luminaries Ending Explained: Crosbie Wells, Lies, Magic and the Trial

    Lydia arranged to meet Lauderback – who knew her only by her maiden name and was unaware she was married to Wells or involved with Carver – in The Godspeed. Instead, he found Francis Carver there with a trunk bearing the name A. Lauderback. Carver, posing as Crosbie, explained that the trunk was filled with five dresses, the seams of which contained the gold he/Crosbie had struck at the goldfields. Carver blackmailed Lauderback into signing ownership of The Godspeed to ‘Crosbie Wells’, threatening to destroy his political reputation by having him accused of theft, smuggling and adultery if he didn’t agree.

    Lauderback thought he was speaking to his half-brother Crosbie, who had been writing to him (unanswered) for years and had mistakenly followed him from England to New Zealand, thinking his name on the shipping charter was that of their father.

    When Anna let the drugged Crosbie out of his locked room and told him his gold was in a trunk on The Godspeed, it interfered with Lydia and Carver’s plan to kill Crosbie, and saved his life. Crosbie stowed away on the ship, then escaped, while the trunk containing the dresses washed up on the Hokitika shore and was bought by Anna’s pimp as salvage. He gave Anna the gold-filled dresses, unaware of the gold contained in their seams.

    Lydia and Carver also conspired to keep Anna and Emery separated so Lydia could use Anna as her apprentice. Lydia lied to the illiterate Anna about the hotel name Emery had written down, then burned the newspaper notice he posted trying to find her. She had Carver lure Emery into leaving Dunedin for Hokitika by sponsoring his stake on the goldfields there.

    How was Anna proved innocent of Crosbie Wells’ murder?

    Ultimately, because Francis Carver confessed to it at the trial, taking full responsibility for the murder and swearing that Lydia Wells was ignorant of the blackmail and murder scheme (even though she had concocted it with him). He confessed to making Crosbie drink a fatal overdose of laudanum, telling the jury it was because he needed him dead for his identity-stealing plan to work.

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