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Telling Lies (Laurel and Helen New York Mystery Series Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Cathi Stoler
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $4.95

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Book Description

How many lies does it take to get away with murder? Magazine Editor Laurel Imperiole is vacationing in Florence, Italy, with Aaron Gerrard, Chief of Detectives of New York City’s 13th Precinct Identity Theft Squad. A chance encounter brings Laurel to a startling realization: she’s just bumped into a dead man: Jeff Sargasso, an art dealer and husband of a close friend who supposedly died in the World Trade Center on 9/11. When he vanished, Sargasso had been brokering the sale of a priceless masterpiece that was lost during World War II to CEO Alfred Hammersmith and billionaire Miayamu Moto. Hammersmith perished along with Sargasso on 9/11, and it is believed that the access codes to the $15 million deposit--ten percent of the asking price--died with them. Could Sargasso have faked his own death to steal the money? The painting’s whereabouts are unknown. Laurel enlists the help of private detective Helen McCorkendale, and together they follow the threads that lead from Florence, Italy, to New York. On the way, the women tangle with Israeli Mossad agent Lior Stern and several stop-at-nothing collectors. All are determined to have the painting for themselves. Ignoring Aaron’s advice, Laurel puts their volatile relationship in jeopardy. As Helen and Laurel search for Sargasso, the painting and the money, they find themselves enmeshed in a sinister skein of lies that could end in death.

Editorial Reviews


"Telling Lies is a gripping, suspenseful read packed with memorable characters and deft twists and turns."

--Judith Kelman, Freelance Journalist and Author of 16 novels, including Summer of Storms, Winner of the 2002 Mary Higgins Clark Award for Best Suspense

"Telling Lies tosses two feisty and impetuous heroines into a crisp salad of financial scam, Nazi art looting, law enforcement rivalries, and post-911 identity fraud against a glamorous backdrop of Florence and New York, with a MacGuffin that the reader can't help wishing really existed."

--Elizabeth Zelvin, two-time Agatha Award finalist

"A fast-paced tale of art, espionage and murder set against the backdrops of Italy and New York, Telling Lies grabbed my attention from page one. With her knack for compelling characters and storylines that are anything but predictable, Cathi Stoler establishes herself as an author to watch."

--Camille Noe Pagán, author of The Art of Forgetting

"A priceless painting stolen during WWII, a man missing on 9/11, and a love affair gone awry--add up to a thriller not to be missed!"

--Robin Hathaway, Author of Sleight of Hand

"Cathi Stoler brings the jet-setting world of shady high-end art collectors to life with skillful strokes in Telling Lies. Don't be surprised if you find yourself booking a trip to Italy when you reach the last page of this satisfying thriller."

--Peggy Ehrhart, author of the Maxx Maxwell mysteries

About the Author

Native New Yorker Cathi Stoler started out as a fashion copywriter and later moved into advertising, where she developed award-winning campaigns for clients such as The New York Times, Folgers' Coffee, DuPont Lycra, and the Marriott Marquis hotel. Telling Lies, her first full-length work of fiction, was selected as a finalist in the Brighid's Fire Books Fiction Contest. Two other novels in this series are in the works. A short story, "Out of Luck," will soon appear in the upcoming Sisters in Crime Anthology, Murder New York Style II. A member of Mystery Writers of America as well as the New York Chapter of Sisters in Crime, Cathi posts regularly on the blog. She lives with her husband, Paul, and their cat, Merlin, in Manhattan. Find her on the Web at

Product Details

  • File Size: 365 KB
  • Print Length: 273 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 160381843X
  • Publisher: Camel Press (April 6, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #541,322 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent Spy Novel October 22, 2011
I have to admit that the introduction portion of this book truly captured my interest. Any time a book uses 9/11 as a springboard for a story, I think I become intrigued. Could someone truly have survived 9/11 and faked his own death? I just had to keep reading to find out!

I enjoyed the way that the author wrote the chapters because when I got to the end of one chapter, she often left me hanging. I wanted to read on. And sometimes she would write something about a certain character's predicament, and it would be several chapters later before that character's issue was resolved. It was a fast-paced book, and it kept my interest all the way to the end. I just had to know how it ended!

My disappointment with the book was two-fold. I found Laurel a little too "dumb" to be in the position she was. Although she was investigating the situation, and it was clear that she was right, she made some costly mistakes that I don't think most women would have made. I actually wished that her part of the story had ended a little differently than it did. I became quite annoyed with her, and I didn't always find her believable.

My other disappointment was the abundance of profanity. This is a constant problem with contemporary fiction, and generally I don't complain unless the words are used too much. In the beginning, I was hoping that the author would only use these words once in a while, but it seemed like the amount of these words increased. It is a pet peeve of mine, so for me, it detracted from the story.

In spite of these disappointments, I would certainly be willing to read something else by this author because she is definitely an author that writes a well-crafted story.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my review. All opinions are 100 percent mine
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Telling Lies July 12, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have a kind of rule of thumb that if I finnish a book, it can't be a 1. I'm rethinking that position, having stuck with this boring tale to its boring conclusion.
As for the story line, there is virtually no suspense and very little action, even in the course of the un-climactic ending.
Character development is abysmal. It is difficult to say, with certainty, exactly who is the author's intended main character. Relationships are poorly formed and do not help the story develope or move along. As such, there is simply a collection of shallow characters that fail to promote any interest.
I won't be looking for additional offerings by this author.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Fingers on a Chalk Board July 6, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I admit that the review by "Like Brussels Sprouts" is pretty much dead on! The idea for this story is good. Someone decides to disappear from his everyday life & does his best to stay that way. A chance brush-by in a museum in a completely different country by an old friend, and his plans begin to unravel. But the story is told mostly thru the old friend's point of view, not the man. The fact the old friend is a woman is actually a nice idea.

However, in my opinion, the main character of this story (and most books) needs to be someone we care about and like. The "heroine" in this novel is unbelievably unlikeable and I couldn't care less what happens to her. I'm just curious if the author knew this and made it this way. Or does she actually think readers enjoy reading about, (as "Like Brussels Sprouts" says in his review), "arrogant and smug" characters? I hope not for her sake. Otherwise I, along with other readers, will have a difficult time reading any other of her books if her main characters have these type of personalities traits.

I am not a fan of Brussels sprouts either. But I felt hearing the main character's voice in this book was like Fingers on a Chalk Board. By the way, the other woman in this book that helps the first one with the mystery is no better.

Just so you know Ms Stoler, by making both of these woman very unlikeable, eliminates me from reading any other book they are in.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Like Brussels Sprouts April 24, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I purchased this book based on the reviews and because I found the premise very intriguing. About 34% into it I realized I was bored. I found the female characters (especially the main character Laurel) smug, arrogant, self-righteous and very unlikeable. They ask the men in their lives for help, but then don't want to listen to them or respect their opinions. Laurel was always flying off the handle because she knows better than the authorities how things should be done. Let's just forget that a woman has already been murdered. Common sense has no place here. She is on a mission to catch the bad guy, and her self-righteous indignation knows no bounds! By the end of the book, I didn't really care what happened to them. I was generally very disappointed. It had a great plot and could have been a much better book. I cannot in good conscience put down a book even if I'm not enjoying it, but for me this book was like eating vegetables you don't like. It was like brussels sprouts.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intrigue and suspense in the World of Great Art April 16, 2011
In her first book, Telling Lies, Cathi Stoler has written a complex plot filled with lots of lies and intrigue. The action begins immediately when Laurel Imperiole runs into a man in a museum in Florence, Italy. Not exactly stunning until Laurel recognizes the man as someone who shouldn't even be alive. The action starts here and carries readers through the world of glamorous high-end art from Italy to the United States mingling in the dark world of art stolen by the Nazis in World War II.

Cathi's carefully crafted story keeps you turning pages as Laurel, a Manhattan magazine editor, and her friend, private investigator Helen McCorendale, unravel a hideous plan that keeps the reader guessing to the end. Helen works undercover while Laurel strives to discover why she ran into someone who's supposed to be dead.
The lies and subterfuge get bolder and more desperate as Laurel finds herself in the middle of an international mess as a well-known Massod agent enters the picture with his own agenda.

While Laurel and Helen work under the surface, Laurel's boyfriend Aaron, an NYPD cop, pursues the criminal elements from the law's perspective with an FBI pal who specializes in art fraud and left. Things really heat up as Laurel's efforts to learn more about what's going on back the bad guys into a bleak corner. They come out with murderous intent that leaves a lot of collateral damage along the way.

The story moves smoothly thanks to the author giving the location of events at every chapter's opening. She has skillfully crafted an intricate story that is provoking and satisfying to the end.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars intriguing!
A real captivating tale of love, loss, deceit, betrayal and suspense! The author draws you in with a reasonably plausible story line that is developed masterfully until the ending... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Neil Lamont
3.0 out of 5 stars Telling Lies
This book was hard to stay with. I reread many chapters as the characters were not distinctive enough for me to keep track. Read more
Published 4 months ago by janice
2.0 out of 5 stars Sorry, hated it.
I loved the premise of this book and even recommended it to a couple of friends when I was still in the first chapters. However, I ended up hating this book. Read more
Published 4 months ago by hrchic
2.0 out of 5 stars Good start/middle with a flop at the end.
Pretty good for about the first three quarters the book but really comes up short at the end. Leads you on, trying to guess what happens in the end only for there to be no good... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Joshua Webster
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Storyline
Great storyline and lots of interesting characters. I could see them involved in another mystery. Even though there were some twists and turns to this story, it would have been... Read more
Published 13 months ago by NoraC
5.0 out of 5 stars pure excellence
Laurel Imperiole, an editor for Women Now magazine, is vacationing in Italy with Detective Aaron Gerard, of the NYPD Identity Theft Squad. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Wendy L. Hines
2.0 out of 5 stars Falls short...very short
This could have been a very good story if it had been given the correct attention.
Great story line but very poor development of the story. Read more
Published 19 months ago by C. Ouellette
4.0 out of 5 stars Slow at first!
This book was slow in the beginning and left some things a little confusing. However, at the end it was all wrapped up and really good
Published 22 months ago by J. Wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars International Intrigue and the Art World
I found the atmosphere of Florence, Italy, and New York City to be spot on in this intriguing story of art theft and duplicity. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Mark Rubinstein
1.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't finish this
Lost interest in this after reading first third of this book. It had good writing for a first novel.Telling Lies
Published on October 12, 2012 by Boo
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More About the Author

Cathi Stoler was an award-winning advertising copywriter. TELLING LIES, her first mystery/suspense novel from Camel Press, takes on the subject of stolen Nazi art. Other novels in this series include KEEPING SECRETS (November 2013), which delves into the subject of hidden identity, and, THE HARD WAY (April 2014), a story of International diamond theft. She has also written several short stories including FATAL FLAW and MONEY NEVER SLEEPS, published online at BEAT TO A PULP, OUT OF LUCK, in the Sisters in Crime MURDER NEW YORK STYLE Anthology and MAGDA, in MALFEASANCE OCCASIONAL: GIRL TROUBLE. Her novella, NICK OF TIME, will be available on Amazon in November 2013. Cathi is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America. You can contact Cathi at

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