Sharp Objects opens with Camille Preaker being sent down from St. Louis to her hometown of Wind Gap, Missouri to write a story on the disappearance of a young girl and to maybe see if she can connect it to the murder of another one the year before. By the end of the first episode, Nicole Keene, the missing girl, turns up dead in the same manner as the first. But are there any suspects, other than one little boy claiming he saw "The Woman In White"? Who is The Woman In White on Sharp Objects? Why is this a story everyone is discounting?
"The Woman In White" is originally a ghost story, written by Wilkie Collins in 1859. It is considered to be the grandfather of the modern "mystery novel." Most kids have never read it, but it's a title that catches the fancy and imagination, and many small southern towns have morphed the name of this into the idea of a swap or foggy area being haunted by a ghost of "The Woman in White."
Wind Gap is no exception. It's got a tiny population, a thick woods, foggy early mornings, it's not surprising there's a town legend passed around the kid population here adhering to this idea of a woman of the woods who steals away children.
But the legend isn't the only reason the town's police chief, Bill Vickery, and Detective Richard Willis are discounting the little boy's story. The kid is troubled. His mother is dying of cancer and addicted to meth, which is a hell of a combination. He disappears from school for days and then comes back with fantasies of having been taken to Disney World. He plays with a gun openly in front of adults.
But Vickey's reasoning is probably the most damning. His mother spends most of her time traipsing around wearing nothing but a hospital gown, a thin white figure in a short white dress. And now the kid claims he saw the abducted girl taken by "a woman in white"? He's trying to blame his mother, and crying for help.
Camille isn't quite so ready to give up the only lead in the case, but Willis insists the kid can't be right. Serial killers are almost always men. It fits the profile. There are at least a couple of male relatives of the two girls who "ain't right" as the townsfolk say, and who make far more interesting suspects.
And besides, both the victims, Natalie Keene, and the first one, Ann Nash, had all their teeth pulled out of their heads after being killed. Willis hates to break it to Camille, but he actually tried pulling teeth out of the head of a dead animal (it was a pig, not a human) and it was "exhausting." If he, a fit man in his 30s, can barely do it, there's no way some tiny woman in white did.
So what did the kid see? Does it matter? Perhaps the Woman In White is merely a red herring.