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Lipstick and Lies: A Pucci Lewis Mystery (Pucci Lewis Mysteries Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Margit Liesche
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.95
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Book Description

Women Air Force 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?

Buchanan-Dineen was a real-life figure who led a German spy ring that operated in Detroit 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, had 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. Then she infiltrates a posh women’s club where Buchanan-Dineen, billed as a “charm consultant,” once lectured. Could the club really be the center of a spy ring?

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This promising but flawed debut WWII-era spy novel introduces Pucci Lewis, a charming, savvy Women Airforce Service pilot who helps the FBI infiltrate a German spy ring in Detroit. To get to the bottom of things, Lewis must go undercover, first as a prisoner and then as a journalist. Some of the plot devices are predictable, and easily decoded cryptic messages also figure a little too prominently. Still, Liesche teases out interesting parallels between the 1940s and the present day: Lewis wonders whether the FBI's wartime domestic surveillance efforts erode "the individual's right to privacy... the bedrock of our nation's foundation." If Liesche will invest more in character development and rely less on formulaic plotting, she may produce a successful series. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

In World War II, Pucci Lewis, a female air force pilot and undercover spy, is sent to jail to cozy up to a notorious counterspy under suspicious of treason. It's an interesting premise, and Liesche, new to the writing game, pulls it off with mixed results. The story is well constructed and believable, but the characters feel insubstantial, as if they were people from other war stories recast into this one. Still, the strength of the story and the period detail are enough to sell the novel. Readers who enjoy a rousing WWII adventure will find enough to satisfy them here--and may be better rewarded by Liesche's subsequent efforts. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 540 KB
  • Print Length: 329 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1590583205
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press (May 25, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003X27SRA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #754,714 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fabulous WWII espionage action adventure April 7, 2007
In 1943 Women Air Forces Service Pilot (WASP) Pucci Lewis flies planes around the country as needed by the military. Pucci also works for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) as a counter spy insuring no axis rings operate within the United States.

She flies a B-24 to Willow Run aircraft factory near Detroit. There Pucci stumbles on the corpse of a worker when FBI Agent Dante finds her and informs her that the deceased was a Nazi spy. He further explains they are shadowing another factory employee Otto Renner suspected of giving the Germans aircraft information. Finally he drafts Pucci to go undercover as a caught jewel thief sent to prison. Her assignment behind bars is to determine whether exposed double agent Countess Grace Buchanan-Dineen is working for or crossing the Bureau as she is supposed to obtain evidence against her cohorts. The interrelated cases seem simple enough until Pucci ends up at the Cosmos Club, where she wonders if this spy and counter spy scenario consists of no Nazi sympathizers as the adversaries seem to belong to either the FBI or the OSS.

LIPSTICKS AND LIES is a fabulous WWII espionage action adventure that gives the audience a taste of the era from a rarely seen focus; that of a WASP. Besides a fabulous spy thriller and a vivid look at Detroit in 1943, the tale also provides a fascinating undercurrent as the two federal agencies compete rather than cooperate as it is heresy to collaborate; apparently based on the 9/11 Commission that rivalry had not changed as of September 2001 except the OSS morphed into the CIA. Margit Liesche provides a soaring historical thriller that takes off at the onset and never lands until the final quite interesting especially because of who's who confrontation.

Harriet Klausner
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4 and a half Stars... August 21, 2012
I understand that this was ML's first novel, I have to believe she had some previous writing experience due to the 'color' she put into her characters.
The plot bogged down a bit in the middle (I agree with what PWeekly said), but it picks up the tempo in the last few chapters starting with a rather miraculous de-coding of a German secret message.

1 criticism:

I believe her use of the term 'Medical Examiner' was an anachronism (shouldn't this have been "Coroner" for those times?).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating Revelation of Counter-Espionage in 1943 January 19, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I found this book a well-written novel based upon an actual investigation and conviction of Countess Grace Dineen in Detroit, Michigan. It holds your attention from the beginning, as I did not put it down, until,I had finished reading it. I found the factual events substantially accurate, as I remember them from 1943. Literary privilege served only to make the novel a fascinating read. Its five-star rating is well deserved. During that period I was a federal investigator.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Enjoyed This Book January 13, 2013
By Pamella
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I usually listen to audio books, but I couldn't find this one in audio, so I downloaded it to my Kindle app for my Droid. I'm almost done with the book, and I've been enjoying it. I'm going to go ahead and get the second book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A different perspective on WWII, from the home front September 29, 2007
Readers who enjoy strong female characters and mysteries with a historical setting will find LIPSTICK AND LIES a welcome addition to their library. Pucci Lewis is a gutsy young woman in an unusual position, making the most of her opportunities.

It is 1943, and there's a war on. Pucci Lewis is one of the elite Women Air Force Service (WASP) pilots, usually found ferrying supplies to wherever they are needed. She's been tapped by the FBI to be an undercover agent, an unusual selection because she doesn't speak any foreign languages. This fact is offset by her ability to go just about anywhere as a WASP.

Right now she's in Detroit, at the Willow Run aircraft factory; there's been some evidence of German spying going on. The first thing the FBI does is send Pucci to jail; she's supposed to worm her way into the good graces of Grace Buchanan-Dineen, a countess-counteragent suspected of being a triple agent.

The FBI agent in charge of this case is Dante Cavaradossi, a very attractive single man who may or may not be putting the moves on Pucci. When the jail plan doesn't work out, he moves Pucci to the prestigious Cosmos Club where she can mingle with the upper crust women who flocked to hear Buchanan-Dineen speak. Pucci is quite startled to run into one of her cohorts from espionage training. It would seem that the right hand of the FBI doesn't know everything that the left hand of the Army is doing.

By the end of LIPSTICK AND LIES, we know who the bad guys are and what their motivations are. We also have a nice portrayal of a part of the war that few think of, and of the role that women played in that war.

Liesche gives Pucci quite a lot to do, especially considering she's a woman.
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More About the Author

The author of LIPSTICK AND LIES and HOLLYWOOD BUZZ, WWII home front mysteries featuring the engaging WASP pilot Pucci Lewis and highly praised for their authenticity, Margit Liesche has appeared on PBS' History Detectives program.

The child of Hungarian missionaries who settled in the U.S. after WWII following years of service in China, she grew up near Chicago and has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for nearly 40 years. Margit's parents' stories about their family's experiences in 1956, told in dark, hushed conversations, filled an impressionable seven-year-old's imagination. These along with Life magazine photographs of carnage in Budapest streets and a visit from an escaped freedom fighter, underpin her new novel, TRIPTYCH.

In recovery from a long career in marketing professional services, Margit now does what she loves: writing, tramping the glorious hills near her home, and frequenting the stacks at her favorite bookstores and libraries.

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