Thursday, April 28, 2011


How I Came To Write This Book:

Cathi Stoler, Telling Lies

Call me suspicious. I can’t help it. It’s probably from reading too many spy novels when I was a kid. Or from watching how people try and get over on each other with everything from cheating at cards to Bernie Madoff and his ultimate Ponzi scheme. Anyway, being suspicious is part of my nature.

Months after the horrific events on 9/11 over 1600 people were still missing. Friends and families continued to post photos and messages on the subway walls in high-traffic areas in New York such as the Times Square and Union Square subway stations. Temporary tents for the Coroner’s team went up at the corner of 30th Street and First Avenue to process the remains that were unearthed. Hundreds of funerals and memorials were held for friends and family members.

These were the sights I saw every day as I went to work and walked around the city. All these people missing and unaccounted for. Could it be possible that one or two of them were actually still alive? What if someone had used the events of that fateful day to disappear, to change their lives and start over as someone new? What I wondered, would prompt a person to do this? The chance to escape retribution for a crime? Money? Despair? Sex? The more I thought about it, the more certain I became that someone had taken the opportunity that 9/11 had afforded him or her to disappear.

Unfortunately, life intervened and other suspicious scenarios took over my brain. Reading the newspaper will do that to you. Identity theft was becoming a bigger and bigger problem and I began working on a novel about this subject. Yet, I never forgot my 9/11 theory and, eventually, I decided to write about it. The outcome was Telling Lies.

Telling Lies is a complicated story. While a missing person post 9/11 is the catalyst for my plot, it also involves another hot topic often in the news: the high-priced, cutthroat world of International art. Combining these issues, I added in two take-no-prisoners protagonists, Magazine Editor, Laurel Imperiole, and Private Detective, Helen McCorkendale, mixed them up with the NYPD, the FBI, then tossed in a priceless painting stolen by the Nazis and topped it off with the Israeli Mossad—there’s that the spy thing again.

Here’s a mini synopsis of the novel:

How many lies does it take to get away with murder?

When a chance encounter in Florence’s Uffizi Museum plunges Women Now editor Laurel Imperiole and private investigator Helen McCorkendale into an investigation of missing persons and stolen Nazi art, the women find themselves ensnared in a deadly maze of greed and deceit.

Could the man Laurel bumped into have been Jeff Sargasso, an art dealer and friend who perished in the World Trade Center on 9/11? Was it possible he was still alive and had disappeared without a trace?

Searching for answers, Laurel and Helen thread their way through a sinister skein of lies that take them on a whirlwind journey that could end in death.

There you have it. With all that’s going on in my story, I think anyone’s suspicions would be aroused enough to read more. Or, at least I hope so.

Telling Lies was officially released on April 11th and is available at

Cathi Stoler was an award-winning advertising copywriter. Telling Lies is her first mystery/suspense novel. Other novels in this series will include Keeping Secrets, which delves into the subject of hidden identity, and, The Hard Way, a story about the international diamond trade. She has also written several short stories including Fatal Flaw, which was published online this April at Beat To A Pulp and Out of Luck, which will be included in the upcoming New York Sisters in Crime anthology, Murder New York Style: Fresh Slices. In addition to Sisters in Crime, Cathi is also a member of Mystery Writers of America. You can contact Cathi at


Anonymous said...

Patti - Thanks for hosting Cathi.

Cathi - I think it's so interesting the way your own suspicion and the horrible events of 9/11 came together for you. It makes me wonder how much of what we write is affected by the way we naturally think. I'm sure a lot of it is. I wish you much success with Telling Lies.

Dorte H said...

What a great plot idea! One of those you wish you had come up with yourself.

Charles Gramlich said...

Sounds like a great core idea for a novel. Identity theft certainly scares me. I just wish people worked as hard at doing right as they will at doing wrong.

Kathleen A. Ryan said...

Thanks for sharing this, Cathi. I always find it fascinating to find out how an author comes to write a book (exactly why this is a great series, Patti!). Congratulations, Cathi, for seeing your idea through to completion ~ it's a huge undertaking, and you did it! It's a dream come true. Wishing you the best in this and all your future endeavors.