A 25 Year-Old Mystery Ensnares a Young Journalist

In 1968 Dublin, ambitious journalist Nicoletta Sarto struggles to compete in a male dominated profession at the Irish Sentinel. Her parents, who run a grocery, do not support her decision to chase criminals rather than help them run the business. But when the bones of Julia Bridges, an actress who disappeared 25 years ago, are found in the garden of a house on the outskirts of town,  Nicoletta is onto the biggest story of her nascent career. But digging into the dead woman’s past, will force Nicoletta to face secrets involving her own family.

Claire Coughlan (Photo credit: Beta Bajgartova)

Gloria Fitzgerald, a midwife who also performed abortions, was tried for the murder of Julia, but because a body was never found, never convicted. Instead, Gloria was sentenced to life in an institution for the criminally insane and a few years later apparently died by suicide. Nicoletta is driven to discover who actually killed Julia and she turns up many suspects. Once her byline appears on breaking stories, however, Nicoletta attracts more attention than she bargained for. Her fellow journalists resent the competition – from a woman, no less – while those who might have had something to do with Julia’s death will resort to violence to keep the past buried. 

While Nicoletta works overtime to advance her professional life, her personal life is in crisis. She began an affair with Barney, another writer at the paper, when he separated from his wife, Marie and seemed headed for a divorce. Marie, however, has returned with their son hoping for a reconciliation and Nicoletta, now pregnant, realizes she may have to abandon her job to become a single mother.

Nicoletta’s relationship with her mother, Daniela, has always been difficult, but she is shocked to discover that Daniela not only knew Julia, but acted alongside her in the theater. What has Daniela been hiding all these years? What Nicoletta learns will make headlines and shake her world.

Claire Coughlan, who has worked as a journalist for the past 18 years, has created a realistic, atmospheric mystery where there are enough plot turns to satisfy the reader and characters that are interesting and, in some cases, engaging. Because the novel is set in 1968, before the internet, DNA, and other sophisticated investigative methods were available, Nicoletta must rely on shoe leather and instincts to uncover the truth.

Where They Lie
Claire Coughlan

Top photo: Bigstock

About Charlene Giannetti (690 Articles)
Charlene Giannetti, editor of Woman Around Town, is the recipient of seven awards from the New York Press Club for articles that have appeared on the website. A graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Charlene began her career working for a newspaper in Pennsylvania, then wrote for several publications in Washington covering environment and energy policy. In New York, she was an editor at Business Week magazine and her articles have appeared in many newspapers and magazines. She is the author of 13 non-fiction books, eight for parents of young adolescents written with Margaret Sagarese, including "The Roller-Coaster Years," "Cliques," and "Boy Crazy." She and Margaret have been keynote speakers at many events and have appeared on the Today Show, CBS Morning, FOX News, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and many others. Her last book, "The Plantations of Virginia," written with Jai Williams, was published by Globe Pequot Press in February, 2017. Her podcast, WAT-CAST, interviewing men and women making news, is available on Soundcloud and on iTunes. She is one of the producers for the film "Life After You," focusing on the opioid/heroin crisis that had its premiere at WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival, where it won two awards. The film is now available to view on Amazon Prime, YouTube, and other services. Charlene and her husband live in Manhattan.