Deception

Enemy Within

Suspicion

Trust No One

 
Where Truth Lies
by Christiane Heggan
(MIRA, $6.99, PG) ISBN 0-7783-2337-4
***
Christiane Heggan has announced that Where Truth Lies is her last book after nearly twenty years or writing. It is a story comprised of two major plots with interlinking subplots. The primary plot involves the murder of an art gallery owner. Secondly, a rape murder of twenty years ago is catapulted to the forefront again.

Grace McKenzie, a well established museum curator, is notified that her former fiancé Steven Hatfield has been murdered in the small town of New Hope, Pennsylvania. Former fiancé because she had discovered in time that his womanizing ways would never change. The terms of his will leave his art gallery to her. Anticipating that she might renounce the bequest, he asks her to spend one week there prior to doing so. She agrees to do so.

The other principal, FBI agent Matt Baxter, learns his father has been arrested for Steven Hatfield’s murder. Knowing his father, the former sheriff, is incapable of this he takes time off to head home to solve the murder, also realizing full well that the present sheriff has a grudge not only against him but also his father.

Subplots and more subplots begin to appear, such as forged art taken on consignment and a discovery of $250,000 secreted in cereal boxes. These occupy Grace’s time as she is making new friends. One of whom is Denise Baxter wife of the imprisoned Fred Baxter.

In Matt’s investigation he learns that his stepmother Denise had been having an affair with the victim, and immediately prior to the murder all of this was disclosed in a bar where Fred was with friends. Fred immediately raged out of the bar and had no alibi witness for the time of the murder.

Matt leaves no stone unturned in his efforts to exonerate his father and judging from all the discord he finds there are several lines of investigation to pursue. Matt and Grace seem to drift into becoming an item as they start working together. They do so because Matt fears that if it is the gallery that prompted the murder then Grace is at risk as well.

The characters are numerous and only some of them are well defined. As the novel progresses the author takes pains to start tying the subplots together. There are so many that the ending seems very contrived. For all that is going on, the tension is at a pretty low level in every respect. The characters are archetypes and dialog is always consistent with that type. The author’s portrayal of Bucks County adds texture to the story.

The Romance Reader wishes Ms. Heggan well in her new endeavors.

--Thea Davis


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