Where They Lie

Harper Perennial. Feb. 2024. 304p. ISBN 9780063344600. pap. $18.99. THRILLER
DEBUT Dublin-based reporter Nicoletta Sarto seizes the opportunity of a lifetime when she answers the newsroom’s phone late one December evening in 1968. A body discovered in the garden of an influential businessman has been tentatively identified as long-missing actress Julia Bridges. Knowing this story could advance her career to the position of “women’s editor,” Nicoletta is intent on pursuing it. Julia was last seen in 1943, entering the home of notorious illegal and unsafe abortionist Gloria Fitzpatrick. While the prevailing belief is that Gloria was responsible for Julia’s death, the absence of a body allowed Gloria to remain free. Several years later, Gloria was convicted of murdering another woman during an abortion attempt and subsequently killed herself in a psychiatric hospital. Unable to interview Gloria, Nicoletta begins questioning friends and family members of both women. In her quest to find justice for Julia, Nicoletta begins to uncover extensive secrets that extend to her own family.
VERDICT Irish author Coughlan’s debut offers a mildly suspenseful narrative that effectively conveys the challenges working women faced in the 1960s. Readers interested in exploring the historical quest for women’s rights and independence will enjoy.
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