Baby, Would I Lie?

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Branson, Missouri, is the home of Country Music, USA. Its main drag is lined with theaters housing such luminaries as Roy Clark, Loretta Lynn, and Merle Haggard - but you'd better get there early because the late show's at eight. Branson is one big long traffic jam of R.V.'s, station wagons, pick-up trucks, NRA decals, tour buses and blue-haired grandmothers. Now Branson just got a little bit more crowded. Because the murder trial of country and western star Ray Jones is about to begin, and the media has come ...
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Overview

Branson, Missouri, is the home of Country Music, USA. Its main drag is lined with theaters housing such luminaries as Roy Clark, Loretta Lynn, and Merle Haggard - but you'd better get there early because the late show's at eight. Branson is one big long traffic jam of R.V.'s, station wagons, pick-up trucks, NRA decals, tour buses and blue-haired grandmothers. Now Branson just got a little bit more crowded. Because the murder trial of country and western star Ray Jones is about to begin, and the media has come loaded for bear. The press presence ranges from the Weekly Galaxy, the most unethical news rag in the universe, to New York City's Trend: The Magazine for the Way We Live This Instant. In the middle of the melee stands Ray Jones himself, an inscrutable good ol' boy who croons like an angel but just may be as guilty as sin - of the rape and murder of a 31-year-old theater cashier. Sara Joslyn, of Trend, isn't sure about Ray. The sardonic Jack Ingersoll, her editor and lover, is sure of this much: this time he's going to do an expose that will nail the Weekly Galaxy to the wall. A phalanx of reporters and editors from the Galaxy are breaking every rule, and a few laws, to get the inside story on Ray Jones's trial. Meanwhile, the IRS is there, too. They want all of Ray Jones's money, no matter what the jury decides. Set to the beat of America's down-home music, as raucous as a smoke-filled honky-tonk, as funny as grown men in snakeskin boots, Baby, Would I Lie? is a murder mystery, a courtroom thriller, a caper novel, and a classic Westlake gem.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In Trust Me on This , his comedy mystery published in 1988, Westlake and the reader both had a great deal of fun with the scurrilous goings-on at a supermarket tabloid whose models are on view every day at--well, supermarkets. This time the Weekly Galaxy is covering and how! the murder case against popular Missouri country singer Ray Jones. So is pretty Sara Joslyn, a Galaxy escapee who now works for a trendy New York magazine called--well, Trend. Ray is also being pursued for zillions in back taxes by the IRS and seems determined, despite his lawyers' best efforts, to screw up everything in sight, in court and without. Meanwhile, can Trend expose Galaxy 's hideous newsgathering methods and get their own scoop as well? Westlake's practiced hand soon has these elements spinning cheerfully. Sara is a delightfully feisty, smart heroine; Ray is suitably enigmatic; there are some spot-on takeoffs on typical country lyrics; and the windup is both utterly surprising and entirely logical. For light entertainment conducted by an ace practitioner, they don't come any better that this. Author tour. Sept.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Mystery author Westlake's humorous 1994 parody of the country-music world seems doubly hilarious when spoken aloud by soap-opera and Broadway actress Nicola Sheara. Acting out the voices of a legion of overweight, RV-driving, fast-food-eating fans who flock to Branson, Mo., Sheara hits the nail on the head with her ability to quickly switch gears from a deep rasp, a sweet drawl, or even various English and Australian dialects. With a gravelly voice, and the help of Westlake's awkwardly phrased song lyrics, Sheara perfectly captures the gritty vulgarity of country music star, Ray Jones, whose upcoming murder trial and troubles with the IRS have hordes of reporters jostling for a scoop. Among them are New York Trend magazine reporter Sara Joslyn, and her editor/boyfriend, Jack, who can't quite get a handle on Jones, even after they are given personal access to his private life. Based on the Warner mass market edition. (May) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Library Journal
This novel, yet another of the author's sprightly comic crime capers e.g., Don't Ask, LJ 3/1/93, is set in "the new Nashville": Branson, Missouri. Singer Ray Jones is accused of one murder and then of a second. Out on bail, he continues to entertain in his theater. Meanwhile, an army of troops from the sleazy tabloid Weekly Galaxy descends to bug offices, lie, infiltrate, and do anything else necessary to get some sort of story on the upcoming trial. Also arriving are reporters Sara and Jack, lovers and representatives of a trendy New York magazine called Trend: The Magazine for the Way We Live This Instant. The action is jet-fast, and the satiric commentary on country western stars and fans is wonderfully wicked. This enjoyable romp will do well in popular collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/1/94.]-Robert H. Donahugh, formerly with Youngstown & Mahoning Cty. P.L., Ohio
Stephanie Zvirin
Westlake uses his mischievous wit to take potshots at the tabloids in this spunky departure from the Dortmunder series. The tribulations of singer/songwriter Ray Jones, who's battling the IRS at the same time he's being tried for murder, bring an eager press corps to Branson, Missouri, country music's home away from Nashville. Sent from New York to cover the action, intrepid girl reporter Sara Joslyn finds herself enthralled by the down-home tourist mecca, an eccentric combination of tackiness and sincerity. After gaining entry into Jones' personal entourage, she discovers she rather likes the hillbilly crooner, who's a lot more savvy than he seems. Things take an interesting turn when Sara runs into cronies from her tabloid days who are up to their eyeballs in sleazy tricks. Westlake delights in poking fun at country music (check out the corny lyrics) and dishing up Branson ambience with every flip of the page. Like the town's choked main drag at tourist time, the plot here is tricky to negotiate at first. Not to worry, thoughonce you're in the flow of traffic, there's lively scenery aplenty and lots of ingenious twists and turns.
Digby Diehl
"The dean of comic science fiction bring a load of trouble to Branson Missour....A funny honky-tonk caper." -- Playboy
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786203437
  • Publisher: Macmillan Library Reference
  • Publication date: 12/31/1994
  • Pages: 438
  • Product dimensions: 5.79 (w) x 8.77 (h) x 0.97 (d)

Meet the Author

Donald E. Westlake, the winner of three Edgar Awards and a Mystery Writers of America Grand Master, died on New Year's Eve, 2008. He was 75.
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Table of Contents

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2000

    Unadbridged audio tape/disc is delightful

    Like a book you can't put down, this audiodisc is one I couldn't turn off. Nicola Sheara (Reader) brings a unique -- and believable -- voice to every character and enthuses the prose with a sense of lively anticipation. Audio tape/disc listeners won't be disappointed in this rendition of a very entertaining tale. The plot revolves around the murder trial of country music star Ray Jones in Branson, Missouri. Our hero is Sara Joslin, 'girl reporter' for Trend monthly magazine, who previously worked for supermarket tabloid 'Galaxy' in a previous Westlake novel entitled 'Trust Me on This.' Sara has a insider's view of the trial defense when she is befriended by Jones' best friend. Westlake weaves a unique story with some surprising twists, and - true to form - keeps us laughing with his own brand of humor.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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