Witness in Death Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 37 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Witness in Death.
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Witness in Death Summary & Study Guide Description

Witness in Death Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on Witness in Death by Nora Roberts.

WITNESS IN DEATH by Nora Roberts writing as J.D. Robb is an interesting murder mystery centering around a group of actors with ties that bind them all to the past. Eve Dallas, a lieutenant in the New York Police and Safety Department is called in to solve the murder of Richard Draco, the leading man.

Eve Dallas witnesses a murder while enjoying a night at the theater with her husband, Roarke. Richard Draco, the leading man, is stabbed through the heart and killed when someone switched the prop knife on stage with a real one from the kitchen. Eve begins investigating at once, and before long the main list of suspects is narrowed down. The actors in the play are all honest enough, reporting that Richard Draco was a vile man. Dallas does not care what type of character he was; she is only concerned with finding the killer and bringing him or her to justice.

A second murder is committed when Linus Quim, head stage hand, attempts to blackmail the killer. Though the murderer attempts to make the killing look like a suicide, Eve Dallas sees through the ruse and continues on her quest for justice. The main players become more nervous and defensive as their pasts are linked to Richard Draco. All the players are tied to him, either directly or indirectly, and all have reason to despise the man. Even Eve's close friend, Nadine Furst, has reason to despise Draco, having been in a relationship with the actor years before and being tossed aside in the end. When searching the victim's residence, Eve uncovers videos that Draco made while having sex with many women over time, videos of which the women are unaware. A stash of drugs is also found, drugs that Draco used to make his partners much more willing. Draco's character drops even more in Eve's opinion; however, it is not her job to like the victim; she is only there to catch a killer.

Digging deeper into the past Eve discovers that Richard Draco had been assaulted by Kenneth Stiles 24 years earlier after Draco had nearly destroyed the woman Stiles loved. The past returns when the daughter that Draco had fathered with that woman is cast in the play at the New Globe Theater. Carly Landsdowne is unaware that the leading man is actually her father, but her mother knows who Draco is. Areena Mansfield, the female lead in the play begs Draco to leave Carly alone, but the egotistical man instead pursues her and engages in a sexual relationship with her. Mansfield threatens to expose Draco for the vile man that he is and he breaks off the relationship cruelly, until he decides that perhaps a sexual relationship with both mother and daughter would be much more interesting. It is then that Mansfield decides that Draco must die and uses the play they are all cast in to deliver the killing blow.

Eve arranges a confrontation with the actors, accusing Carly Landsdowne of the murder in order to flush out the true killer. Mansfield confesses at once to protect the young woman that she had put up for adoption so long ago. Carly is devastated with the knowledge that her birth father could be such a disgusting human being but is left with the knowledge that her birth mother would go to the ends of the earth to keep her safe. Dallas had arranged the confrontation so the young woman could take something positive from the entire horrible experience

Throughout the novel, Eve Dallas is relentless in her pursuit of justice, despite the fact that the victim was a truly horrible person who deserved the death that was his fate. Though parts of the case mirror the youth that Dallas can only remember small pieces of, the lieutenant still needs to close the case and find truth in the end.

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