The Lies of Fair Ladies

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Set in the seemingly idyllic countryside of East Anglia, England, THE LIES OF FAIR LADIES is Jonathan Gash’s fifteenth Lovejoy mystery. Lovejoy is once again struggling to keep his antiques business solvent. He takes on a new assistant, Luna, who happens to be the wife of the local borough’s mayor. As always, antiques and beautiful women are Lovejoy’s two greatest loves. Because of his two passions, life for Lovejoy is never simple or peaceful. He can never resist the chance to ferret out a valuable antique from what looks to be a pile of junk. Lovejoy also seems to be incapable of keeping his hands off attractive married women. As in all of the other Lovejoy mysteries, Gash includes a wealth of antiques lore as well as a number of unusual characters.

Never one to be on the good side of the police, Lovejoy is accused of stealing valuable items from a vacant house. Although he may at times skirt the letter of the law, Lovejoy is not responsible for this particular crime. An old friend of his, Prammie Joe, is discovered to be the culprit. Joe had been dropping hints that a major antiques scam was in the works. Because of this, Joe is murdered, and Lovejoy decides that he must become involved in the case. To get to the bottom of what is truly going on, Lovejoy poses as a dealer who wishes to be part of the scam. With the help of Luna, he sells stolen and fake antiques in order to get close to those who are in charge of the operation. After another murder, Lovejoy realizes that his own life is in danger. No matter how convoluted the plot may get at times, THE LIES OF FAIR LADIES is rescued by Lovejoy’s wit and sarcastic humor and the many quirky characters whom he encounters.