Thursday, June 07, 2007

Mystery Book Review: Lipstick and Lies by Margit Liesche

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written a review of Lipstick and Lies by Margit Liesche. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.Lipstick and Lies by Margit Liesche

Lipstick and Lies by
A Pucci Lewis Mystery

Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-59058-320-5 (1590583205)
ISBN-13: 978-1-59058-320-3 (9781590583203)
Publication Date: April 2007
List Price: $24.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Women Airforce Service Pilot and undercover agent, Pucci Lewis, did not want to go to jail. But how else could she unmask Grace Buchanan-Dineen, an imprisoned countess-counteragent suspected of triple dealing and possibly putting our country's future at risk?

Dineen, a real-life figure, led a German spy ring that operated in during WWII. Confronted by the FBI, she agreed to act as a counteragent helping to nail the other ring members. Jailed along with her cohorts--"for her own protection"--her rancor ran deep.

Enter Pucci, landing in a B-24 bomber at the Willow Run aircraft factory. Late for a meeting, she takes a shortcut and stumbles upon a corpse. Agent Dante appears and reveals the dead man to be a German spy. A fellow Willow Run employee, Otto Renner, has been under surveillance and the FBI suspects a link between Renner and the imprisoned countess. Dante convinces Pucci to become a sister inmate to see what she can learn.

Pucci's undercover work quickly ratchets up. In addition to her jail assignment, she infiltrates a posh women's club where Dineen, billed as a "charm consultant," once lectured. Her mission: Are Dineen's former club contacts, the chic Barclay-Bly sisters and the club's beautician, Mrs. Otto Renner, moles?

A romance brewing between Pucci and Dante is sidelined by professional demands when they partner up on a surreptitious break in. As the story unfolds, they not only expose the espionage ring but also confront an even greater threat to home land security.

Review: Margit Liesche's debut mystery, Lipstick and Lies, is a fictional story of the many women who during World War II exhibited loyalty and a willingness to do anything to help the war effort on the home front. She dares to introduce the reader to actual people who were a part of the chaos that threatened America in 1942. Although her story depicts to some degree the many facets where women became critical to the defense of America, she focuses primarily on the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) and the Morale Operations (MO).

Margit Liesche takes the reader through the highs and lows of Detroit in 1942. The action begins with the MO working in conjunction with the FBI. Nearby was the Ford Motor Plant where the design and manufacture of new and complex parts for planes, tanks and trucks were crucial to the war effort overseas. There were spies and traitors in the Ford Plant, and also in the FBI. The task of unmasking these people fell to Pucci Lewis, who had just been transferred from WASP to MO. FBI Agent Dante guides Pucci through her new assignment: she must go to jail to question and hopefully to get answers from a countess/counterspy. It is subsequently necessary for her to join an exclusive women’s club and become friends with whomever the FBI deems suspicious. It is her obligation again to ask questions and trust she will get answers.

Lipstick and Lies is a truly provocative story. Those who lived during that period will experience memories among the words of the story. Those who did not live during that time will find the story intriguing, suspenseful, and exciting. It was a time when women volunteered to do the jobs of men on the home front so that the men could fulfill their eagerness to go overseas where the action was. Pucci was happy being a WASP. She loved to fly all the Air Force’s planes, from the smallest to the largest, across country. Duty called her, however, to the MO division with the FBI. During her stint she expresses deep emotions of loneliness, fear, pain, and anxiety. From the women Pucci meet at the jail and the club, and the men she connected with both at the FBI and the Ford Plant, she is pretty confident who is loyal to America and who is true to the Axis Powers. Without substantial proof, is Pucci right? Only a showdown will tell.

The ending of the book is great! It is also a mystery—one that Margit Liesche encourages the reader to give some serious thought and to solve for themselves.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of Lipstick and Lies and to Poisoned Pen Press for providing an ARC of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2007 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

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Lance Wright owns and manages Omnimystery, a Family of Mystery Websites, which had its origin as Hidden Staircase Mystery Books in 1986. As the scope of the business expanded, first into book reviews — Mysterious Reviews — and later into information for and reviews of mystery and suspense television and film, all sites were consolidated under the Omnimystery brand in 2006.

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