The Stories We Tell: A Homefront Mystery

Written by Liz Milliron
Review by Peter Clenott

America is enmeshed in World War II. While “our boys” fight overseas, on the home front, young women like 18-year-old Betty Ahern work in the factories producing the weapons and airplanes that will ultimately win the war. Betty is hardly out of high school when she is called upon to do her part. In Buffalo, New York, in the dead of a frigid winter, little does she know that war is about to be brought right to her doorstep.

The Stories We Tell is the second novel in Milliron’s Homefront Mystery series. Betty has already earned a reputation as someone who can solve the deepest, darkest, most threatening of mysteries. In this book, a young coworker hires her to find out why her healthy grandmother Pelagia, a Polish immigrant, dies so suddenly of a heart attack. Betty’s co-worker suspects otherwise. But who would want to kill a harmless old woman?

With the able assistance of her friends Dot and Lee and the budding partnership of Buffalo police detective Sam MacKinnon, Betty must unravel secrets that go back decades to a time of a distant war in a bloodbath involving foreign countries and national betrayals.

When a delegation of Poland’s government-in-exile visits Buffalo and one of the delegation is murdered, the death of Pelagia no longer seems so innocent. What is her connection to the murdered Pole and to the wealthy Witkop family who, themselves, left Poland many years ago?

Betty Ahern is not your average American 18-year-old. She works hard, smokes like a sailor, and is stubborn, fearless, and determined to resolve any mystery even at the risk of her own life. The Stories We Tell jumps right into the murder mystery and does not let up until the end. What lies in a story, Betty discovers, is a matter of life and death.