a shimmering, Massachusetts morning, Martha Brailsford stepped aboard the
"Counterpoint" and went for the last sail of her life. She had no way
of knowing that the boat's owner, Tom Maimoni, had a dark side, that he'd lured
other women onto his boat. What
happened that morning of July 12, 1998? Was
Martha's death an accident? Or,
was she murdered? Would
there be enough evidence for a jury to convict Maimoni? In
this nonfiction debut, mystery novelist Margaret Press takes us into the heart
of Salem, introducing a cast of real-life characters—the other women who
encountered Maimoni, the team of dedicated investigators, the
"lobsterman," and the modern-day witch of Salem. As the lives of these
townspeople intertwine, readers are drawn in to an intriguing maze of surprise
and contradiction, where all the paths lead back to that fateful July morning
aboard the "Counterpoint."
In the summer of 1991, 37-year-old Martha
Brailsford befriended a neighbor, Tom Maimoni, who told her his wife had
recently died of cancer. Subsequently, Brailsford disappeared and her body
"tied to an anchor" was found off the coast of Salem, Massachusetts.
Maimoni, who was actually married to his fourth wife, had a history of
approaching women with the "dead wife" gambit. He claimed that he
panicked after Brailsford died by accident aboard his boat, Counterpoint, but he
was convicted of second-degree murder. Press, a local resident and author of two
mystery novels set in Salem, keenly illuminates the people and places
surrounding the tragedy of a woman whose compassion led to her downfall. Of
special regional interest and also recommended for larger true-crime
Gregor A. Preston, formerly with Univ. of California Lib., Davis
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
Mystery novelist Press helps uncover a
real-life murder in her hometown of Salem, Mass. Press, known for her convincing
fictional portraits of New England's seamy side (Elegy for a Thief, 1993, etc.),
came across a poster in 1991 of a missing local woman, was intrigued, and
followed the tangled trail. Artist Martha Brailsford went for a quick sail with
her neighbor, Tom Maimoni, a recently widowed engineer. She never returned.
Press does a solid job of conveying the anxiety of Martha's husband and her twin
sister, and the sordid whispers that swirled around the small town. Within a few
days, the police discovered that Maimoni was not an engineer, nor was he
widowed, and when Brailsford's body was found by a lobsterman, Maimoni became
the prime suspect in an ugly murder investigation. Other women stepped forward:
In the weeks before Brailsford's death several had gone sailing with the
suspect; he would strip once they were out on the water, and the experience had
left them either embarrassed or afraid. Maimoni, when questioned by the police,
offered a series of conflicting tales, including the assertions that a nude
sunbather had killed Brailsford and that the dead woman had been drinking and
slipped off the boat. The obligatory trial scenes are dull, and Press's
fascination with Salem witch Laurie Cabot, who added little to this case, seems
jarring. While Press believes Maimoni to be a psychopath, she offers little
corroboration for her claim. The stage for the crime is evocative, but the
telling of the tale is flat and, coming from a crime novelist, strangely lacking
in mystery. (8 pages photos, not seen)
Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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