Murder She Wrote: Domestic Malice
Donald Bain

ISBN-13: 978-0451238030
Publisher: Penguin Group
Line: NAL Hardcover
Release Date: Oct 2, 2012
Pages: 304
Retail Price: 23.95


In the latest novel in the USA Today bestselling series, Jessica Fletcher must tread lightly when investigating a homegrown homicide…

Jessica has always been civic-minded, so when the director of the Cabot Cove Women’s Shelter asks her to join the board of directors, she readily accepts, even though the shelter has been in the crosshairs of an unreasonable councilman who’d like to see it closed.

One night while Jessica is at the shelter, a woman walks in battered and bruised. Her husband is a respected businessman and regarded by all as a pillar of the community. Could this paragon of virtue have beaten his wife?

Despite Jessica’s support and advice, the woman refuses to stay at the shelter, press charges, or even report the abuse. But a few days later, the entire town is shocked to hear that domestic abuse has turned to murder.



Mystery-writer and amateur sleuth Jessica Fletcher is lucky enough not to stumble over any dead bodies, but she still finds herself involved in a murder investigation. Josh Wolcott has been murdered and his wife Myriam is Cabot Cove Sheriff Mort Metzger’s only suspect. Jessica has recently become acquainted with Myriam and knows something that not everyone in town is aware of – Josh had been physically abusing his wife. Jessica continues to believe in Myriam’s innocence, even when it appears that even Myriam’s own mother seems to be against her. Ignoring her friend Mort’s objections, Jessica conducts her own investigation to find other possible suspects and to make sure Myriam isn’t unjustly accused of a crime she didn’t commit.

This installment of the long-running Murder She Wrote series is a gentle mystery like the previous books in the series in that it doesn’t include sex or graphic violence. However, the central theme of this book is the heartbreaking topic of domestic violence. The serious subject matter and an ending that is far from uplifting make this installment different from others. This may not appeal to all fans of the series, but I liked the inclusion of such an important issue.

Although Jessica is a senior citizen, she is as persistent and as feisty as ever. Jessica always follows her instincts to get to the bottom of any situation, and this time is no different. She is someone you would want to have standing beside you if you were ever in need of help. Even though she doesn’t know Myriam well, Jessica sees there is more to the situation that meets the eye and is determined to prove Myriam’s innocence, even when her search for the truth gets in the way of Mort’s official investigation and angers both Myriam’s mother and her lawyer.  Jessica sticks to her principles, as always, to find out the truth behind what really happened to Josh Wolcott. However, this time her questions lead her to a solution she couldn’t have dreamed of, and I was just as shocked as Jessica at the ultimate solution of the murder. Although this isn’t the typical Murder She Wrote book, I enjoyed the book and the fact the author is bringing to light some of the appalling facts about domestic violence.

Many mystery-lovers are familiar with Jessica Fletcher from the television series, but don’t pass up this book if you weren’t a fan of the TV show or haven’t read any of the other books in the series. Although Jessica and her fellow Cabot Cove residents appear from book to book, each book stands alone and doesn’t have to be read in any certain order. Readers who enjoy Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple or TV tie-in books like Lee Goldberg’s Diagnosis Murder series will like this series, but anyone interested in the topic of domestic violence will appreciate the story told in Domestic Malice.

Reviewed by Christine