Drowning in Honey

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Melissa Wraxall has it all: a luxurious house in Bath, a successful small business, a good-looking husband, and supportive friends. She's lucky and she knows it. But then an unexpected summons to jury duty shocks Melissa out of her sweet golden existence. In a highly publicized murder trial, the prosecution accuses Michael Bauer of brutally murdering his wife, stabbing her seven times in the chest. The defendant's lawyers claim he acted in self-defense. Initially, Melissa can weigh both sides objectively. But as ...
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St. Martin's Press, 1996. first edition. as new hardcover in d/j

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Overview

Melissa Wraxall has it all: a luxurious house in Bath, a successful small business, a good-looking husband, and supportive friends. She's lucky and she knows it. But then an unexpected summons to jury duty shocks Melissa out of her sweet golden existence. In a highly publicized murder trial, the prosecution accuses Michael Bauer of brutally murdering his wife, stabbing her seven times in the chest. The defendant's lawyers claim he acted in self-defense. Initially, Melissa can weigh both sides objectively. But as the trial progresses, she begins to hear disturbing echoes of her own marriage in the tangled and tragic family life of the accused. By the trial's end, when most of the jurors are convinced of Bauer's guilt, Melissa Wraxall is forced to judge not only the defendant but also herself - and the people she has always loved.
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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
A British work that begins as a riveting psychological novel on the subject of marriage and violence, then sadly sinks into melodrama.

Hatfield (author of several historical and crime novels under the pseudonym Daphne Wright, including The Distant Kingdom, 1987) begins with the wretched life of Michael Beechen, a struggling young actor, doting father to three small children, and husband of a shrewish and physically abusive wife. The narrative jumps from Michael to the personable Melissa Wraxall, a young entrepreneur with her own restored Georgian rowhouse in Bath and a fast-track, corporate accountant husband. Called for jury duty, she finds herself among the 12 chosen to decide Michael Beechen's fate: He stands accused of having stabbed his wife to death. The prosecution ridicules the strapping Michael's claim of spousal abuse and self- defense. Juxtaposed with the trial testimony are scenes from a marriage—not the one that ended in death, but the quickly deteriorating union of Melissa and her husband Martin. Newly fired, the caustic Martin strikes out at every turn, emotionally abusing Melissa and coming very close to raping her. As Michael continues his testimony, cataloging eight years' worth of broken bones and assaults with screwdrivers and steam irons, Melissa begins to lose her objectivity: The psychological similarities between the two marriages become more and more apparent. Added to Melissa's distress is the revelation of family secrets that throw light on her own potentially masochistic behavior. Luckily, fellow juror Adam Blake, a sensitive and sensible fellow, befriends Melissa—though, as their friendship turns to love, the plot loses some of its taut focus. In the cathartic finale, the deadlocked jury finally comes to a verdict, Martin gets his comeuppance, and love, conquering all, prevails.

Often too predictable, and burdened by one too many plot digressions, but, still, a generally compelling portrait of the psychology of love and violence.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312145903
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/1996
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.83 (w) x 8.53 (h) x 1.17 (d)

Meet the Author

Kate Hatfield, who also writes crime novels as Natasha Cooper, is fascinated by relationships: how they work;why they go wrong; how they change people's lives. Born in London, she worked in publishing for ten years before becoming a writer. She now divides her time between the city and the Somerset Levels.
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