October is Domestic Violence Awareness month, an issue that author Maggie Toussaint addresses in her newest Cleopatra Jones mystery. Integrating such a dark and all-too-real issue into fiction meant mainly to entertain isn't easy - read Maggie's thoughts on the value of making the effort. Leave a comment and you will be entered for a drawing for an ARC (advance reader copy) of Dime If I Know. ~ Sheila
Mystery with a Social Issue
by Maggie Toussaint
My Cleopatra Jones mystery series is often irreverent, often lighthearted, but at the heart of newly released book three of this series, Dime If I Know, is a dark tragedy. The youngest sibling in my sleuth’s boyfriend’s family died in a shooting accident years ago.
The Golden family kept the accident out of the press, but every family member is affected by the cover-up. Now, years later, a current murder shines a spotlight on the past event, and family secrets come to light.
Worse, the family is forced to admit that the first death was no accident. Something very wrong is within their ranks, something which pits family member against family member.
While this violent incident served the plot of a story, domestic violence is a very real concern in our world. By definition, domestic violence is a behavior used by one person to control another person. Behaviors may include belittling, halting communication with others, withholding money, interference with a career, actual or threatened harm, sexual assault, stalking and intimidation.
|Missie, who inspired Madonna, the|
"mama dog" of Maggie Toussaint's
mystery series, doesn't believe in
violence at all.
Fortunately for the Golden family in my fictional world of Dime If I Know, penetrating the veil of secrecy is enough to start the chain of healing. My sleuth Cleopatra Jones is the catalyst for change. Once the Goldens quit perpetuating the lie told over the years, they realize there is a problem.
In the story, the perpetrator is a chameleon, appearing to be no different than anyone else, similar to abusers in real life. This character perpetuates a cycle of violence within the family, destabilizing the family unit behind the scenes whenever she/he needs to reassert control.
Cleopatra Jones once again rises to the occasion of solving the mystery, demanding the truth, and refusing to let closed doors hamper her quest to clear her boyfriend’s good name. She brings healing to a troubled family.
For more information on Domestic Violence, start here: http://www.domesticviolence.org/
Formerly an aquatic toxicologist contracted to the U.S. Army and currently a freelance reporter, Southern author Maggie Toussaint loves to blend murder and romance in her fiction. With ten published books to her credit, her latest releases are Hot Water (romantic suspense) and Dime If I Know (mystery). She’s an active member of Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, and Sisters In Crime.
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