Domestic Malice was the 38th book published in the series based on famed TV Series Murder, She Wrote. Written by Donald Bain and Jessica Fletcher the book was released in October 2012. Most of the books as part of this series are pretty easy to read and fun. However, this particular one touches one of the dark corners in human nature - explores about domestic abuse. Per statistics there are so many people abused on a daily basis in their own homes - be it a child, man or woman it didn’t matter for the abuser. I was glad that Donald touched upon this grim topic in this book.
The book opens with a heated debate at the town council meeting on whether funding should be provided to the women's shelter. Richard Mauser, an elected member of the Town Council and owner of a metal-fabricating factory was the only one against the funding. Edwina Wilkerson - who had spearheaded the establishment of the shelter two years ago - and Seth Hazlitt had shared their strong points on why the shelter should continue getting funds that tipped the voting scale. Jessica Fletcher who also aided and supported the shelter was very pleased at the outcome. She showed her support by volunteering at the shelter once a week. And she also knew first-hand that the shelter had indeed helped many wives, children and in one case a husband who were abused by the people they had trusted and loved.
One such day when she was volunteering along-side Edwina, in walks a battered and beaten Myriam Wolcott. Her husband Josh Wolcott, a well known (not necessarily well-liked) business person, had been at Myriam particularly bad that day which caused her to run to the shelter for help. Despite kind words and hopeful options provided by Edwina, Myriam refuses and goes back to her home - which was typical of any victim / survivor in such a situation. A few days later Josh Wolcott is shot in their drive-way by his car. Investigation leads to Myriam Wolcott getting her arrested much to the shock from community - although some agreed that she could have done it unable to take the abuse anymore. Jessica and Edwina were the ones who believed in her innocence and turned every stone to help her even though roadblocks were put across. Her friend Harry Mcgraw comes to her aid inadvertently when he was hired by Myriam's lawyer Cy O'Connor for investigating if anyone else knew about the abuse.
What surprised Jessica was that Myriam's mother, Mrs. Warren Caldwell, had hired Cy O'Connor was not a criminal attorney. What was the reason behind it? Why did Cy O'Connor even consider taking this case? Perhaps to go up the ladder as he always wanted? Why was Mrs. Caldwell so bent upon changing the story that Myriam had stuck to all along - that she never shot her husband? Why was Richard Mauser so much against the women's shelter? What was his hidden motive? Or was he just being a bully that he always was? Why is Mort Metzger reluctant to explore other avenues and find other suspects? Clearly Josh didn’t have a successful business and with his shady schemes he definitely would have had one or two enemies needless to say. And above all why was Myriam succumbing to the pressure by Mrs. Caldwell and her attorney? What is the secret in her family that she is hiding from the world?
An intense journey through life of Myriam Wolcott and the efforts by Jessica Fletcher to prove her innocence. Well written and portrayed right in all aspects. Although it left me with a tear in my heart, I still liked the flow of the plot, the journey and the results. A definite pick if you are looking for a good mystery.