It seems that Daphne Caruana Galizias enemies finally decided that her courageous journalism needed to be silenced
In her last blogpost, published the day she died, Daphne Caruana Galizia signed off with a sentence that seems particularly chilling now.
There are crooks everywhere you look. The situation is desperate.
Caruana Galizia, 53, felt she had good reason to feel pessimistic about Malta, and her enemies had good reason to fear her. Someone, it seems, was worried enough to want her silenced.
In that last post, which appeared just before a bomb blew up the car she was driving, Caruana Galizia had taken aim, and not for the first time, at Maltese politicians. But they were far from the only people in the firing line.
She believed, in essence, that malign and criminal interests had captured Malta and turned it into an island mafia state; she reported on a political system rife with corruption, businesses seemingly used to launder money or pay bribes, and a criminal justice system that seemed incapable, or unwilling, to take on the controlling minds behind it all.
Proof of her fears included the 15 mafia-style assassinations and car bombings that have taken place on the island in the last 10 years and, ultimately, perhaps, her own murder too.
Though there will be many on Malta who will not trust the police to properly investigate her death, including her son, Matthew, detectives will be urged to look at what she has written in recent months, and what she had been looking at just before her death to see what clues, if any, they provide.
Had this fiercely independent journalist finally got too close to something or was she proving too much of an irritant to someone?
Caruana Galizia was certainly used to stirring up trouble.
Those about whom she has written in the past year range from government ministers to the newly elected leader of the opposition; the characters in her stories included a convicted drug smuggler and a local millionaire who complained after she alleged that he had built a private zoo without planning permission.
Her style was fearless, witty and sardonic. Her posts there were lots of them made uncomfortable reading for those in power. She became the islands most celebrated reporter and teller of plain truths.
Probably her greatest achievement over the past year was to spark, more or less singlehandedly, an extraordinary political scandal that has embroiled the islands prime minister, his closest political allies, and the ruling family of Azerbaijan.
It led to Maltas prime minister, Joseph Muscat, calling a general election in June.
The tale is complex; it involves a whistleblower from inside a secretive private bank, alleged kickbacks to senior politicians and a plethora of offshore companies that caused chaos for Muscat, the leader of the ruling Labour party.
There is nothing to suggest any of this is linked to her murder but the episode highlights the courageous way she tackled those in authority, and her doggedness in the face of legal threats.
Caruana Galizias investigation was built on documents uncovered in the Panama Papers, published in April last year. Among the many names of government officials were two Maltese politicians: Keith Schembri, chief of staff to Muscat, and Konrad Mizzi, the countrys energy minister.
Both had set up similar structures, involving Panamanian companies owned by New Zealand trusts.