The Secrets We Keep: A Homefront Mystery

Written by Liz Milliron
Review by Erica Obey

This fifth book is a fine continuation of Milliron’s series about PI Betty Ahern and the other women who discover new careers and abilities on the home front during World War II. In this installment, Betty has finally qualified for her license as a private investigator; however, she still can only afford to conduct business out of a booth at the local diner.

Her first official client is a soldier raised in an orphanage who wants to find his birth mother before he returns to the front. It is not a simple task, for the only clue he can provide is a St. Christopher medal that was left with him when he was abandoned. The case rapidly grows more complex when Betty’s client unwisely confronts the society matron she believes to be his mother – and the woman is found murdered shortly after his visit.

As always, Milliron presents a well-researched historical portrait of Buffalo as a city weathering the economic ups and downs of industrialization, the Great Depression, and a subsequent defense manufacturing boom. The series continues to sensitively chronicle the divide between blue-collar ethnic neighborhoods and the wealthy magnates who have brought prosperity to the city, while on a personal level, Betty’s doubts about her engagement to a man serving at the front enter a new and more complex chapter.

The Secrets We Keep is first and foremost a satisfying mystery, while at the same time offering a thoughtful look at the wives, sweethearts, and mothers of the Greatest Generation.