“Once Upon a Lie”

What starts out as a breezy, almost funny, mystery evolves into something very dark.  Maggie Barbieri writes strong women characters.  In her previous novels–the Murder 101 series, Alison Bergeron was a college professor who gets involved in murder cases.  In this newest novel,”Once Upon a Lie,” Maeve Conlon is a divorced mother of two teenagers living in a small Westchester community.  A CIA (Culinary Institute of America) not the other CIA,  graduate,  she owns a upscale bakery in her home town.  Her best friend Jo, who was dumped by her husband while she was undergoing chemo therapy, helps in the shop.  Maeve’s father, an ex-policeman, lives in a nearby assisted living facility.  He experiences bouts of forgetfulness that have become more frequent.  These characters lend themselves to some funny situations, at least at the beginning of the book.

When Maeve’s cousin Sean is found death with a bullet hole in his head, Maeve and her father become “persons of interest” to the police.  As we learn more about Sean and the part he played in Maeve’s childhood, the more sinister the plot becomes.  It isn’t until the very last pages of the book that the killer is revealed.

“Once Upon a Lie” is an easy to read mystery.  No blood and gore but a lot of heartache and tragedy.


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