SPOILER: sent in by rjhfpb, Thanks!
Memory in Death by author J.D. Robb (aka Nora Roberts) is the 22nd book featuring Lt. Eve Dallas. The usual supporting cast of characters including her wealthy husband Roarke, her subordinate Detective Peabody, and NYPD Homicide officers from the year 2059 are all present. The time period is several days before Christmas. The book gives us further details about the mysterious childhood of Eve.
The book opens with the suicide jump of a junior executive in a Santa Claus costume during an office party. Because he was high on a futuristic illegal drug, detectives Dallas and Peabody track down the dealer. The arrest of the dealer is important because Dallas allows Peabody to interrogate/trick the dealer into a confession. The by-the-rules Dallas is interrupted in police procedure when a visitor, claiming to be her mother, waits for her in her office. Dallas recognizes Trudy Lombard as the foster mother who took Eve in after her father's death, and abused her emotionally for a year when Eve was 9 years old. The memories overwhelm the usually tough detective, and she literally runs out of the precinct to the home she shares with Roarke.
Roarke understands Trudy's true motives, and Trudy does show up at Roarke Industries the next day demanding 2 million dollars to keep quiet about Eve's past. Roarke makes it clear that Trudy is the one in danger - Roarke protects his own, and Trudy leaves shaken and angry. Once Dallas is past her emotional crisis, she and Roarke go to see Trudy at her hotel. But Trudy has been beaten to death with a blunt object.
Trudy's son Bobby (who was kind to the child Eve) and his newlywed wife Zana become suspects as they were in a room down the hall. Dallas also investigates other foster children in Trudy's care, and finds each one (they were all girls) has the same story of emotional and physical abuse during the time they lived with Trudy. As each foster child grew to adulthood, Trudy has found and blackmailed each one. Zana returns to the hotel, claiming she was abducted and reports her male abductor wants money to keep quiet about Trudy's schemes. Bobby is pushed off a sidewalk and hit by a taxi. Peabody has an anxiety attack about going to visit McNab's family in Scotland for the holidays. Roarke and Eve throw a large Christmas party. Eve has anxiety about Christmas presents. There are several sensual scenes between Roarke and Eve.
Eve suspects that Zana is too good to be true, and finds Trudy's Christmas shopping has made its way into Zana's possession. She finally unmasks Zana as Marnie, a foster child who spent a year with Trudy and was also abused. She married Bobby to get revenge, but when she found out about Trudy's blackmail accounts, became greedy. Trudy actually beat herself up in order to claim Roarke had assaulted her. Zana hit her the fatal blow when Trudy became emotionally abusive. Zana tries to get Eve to admit Trudy had it coming and that Eve would have done the same. But Eve points out that real revenge would have been Trudy spending prison time for blackmail and child abuse. Also, Zana pushed Bobby in front of the taxi because she would have inherited all the blackmail money, and Bobby wasn't aware of his mother's schemes. The book ends with Eve coming home to Roarke, discouraged because Bobby will continue to believe in Zana's innocence and pay for lawyers to defend her.