Maggie Barbieri’s series featuring Maeve Conlon consistently presents compelling mystery plots woven into dramatic and realistic relationship dynamics. The third book in the series, Lie in Plain Sight, was recently released and may just be the best one yet. Like the other novels, this one centers on Maeve and her interaction with her family and friends.
When Maeve Conlon gets a call from the school nurse saying that one of her employee’s children is ill, she thinks nothing of giving permission for the girl – Taylor Dvorak – to be sent home. Taylor’s mom is out on a delivery for the bakery and a decision needed to be made. But when it turns out that Taylor never makes it home, Maeve faces blame from all sides.
Meanwhile, Maeve is also having difficulties communicating with her youngest daughter. Now that Heather is in high school, she seems to have settled into a pattern of quiet isolation and angry flare-ups. With her older sister off to college, Maeve realizes this could just be natural growing pains for Heather, but she also wants to do her best as a mother and solve everything.
The only problem is that Maeve can’t even get her own personal life under control. She is dating and enjoying her time with Chris Larsson, the policeman she started seeing in an earlier novel, but her ex-husband still lurks around and wants more of a relationship than Maeve is really comfortable with. And let’s not forget Rodney Poole, the one man who knows all of Maeve’s secrets.
The mystery plot involving the disappearance of Taylor Dvorak brings to light topics of importance to middle-class Americans. The solution is wrapped up in a complex look at the excessive costs of higher education, the pressures of high school athletics, and the complexities involved in non-traditional family structures. But at the core of the mystery – and the novel – is the sometimes difficult, but always loving relationship between mothers and daughters.
The first novel in the series (Once Upon a Lie) centered on the dynamics between aging parents and their children, while the second book (Lies That Bind) focused on sibling relationships, so it only seems appropriate that with this third novel Maggie Barbieri examines the mother/daughter bond which has always been a part of the series. As with any human interactions, there are no easy solutions when problems arise, but Maeve Conlon demonstrates that if every exchange comes from a place of love and respect, families can work through anything.
Fans of Maggie Barbieri and Maeve Conlon will find much pleasure in Lie in Plain Sight. While the book can certainly be enjoyed as a stand-alone, readers who prefer to watch their favorite characters develop over the course of a series are encourages to start at the beginning with the first book. Maeve Conlon’s journey throughout these three novels is both realistic and fascinating to watch.
Disclaimer: A print galley of this title was provided to BOLO Books by the author. No review was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.