Monday, March 8, 2010

2010 YA Edgar Nominee Review: If the Witness Lied by Caroline B. Cooney

I always look forward to a Caroline B. Cooney novel, since hers are strong YA mysteries in a genre where straight mysteries are hard to find. If the Witness Lied starts strong, with Jack, Smithy and Madison as our siblings lead characters, and Diana, who babysits three year-old Tris in the family. Aunt Cheryl is the kids’ guardian, after their father died in an accident that has been blamed on little Tris.

Cleverly using shifts, Cooney uses a trail of clues to uncover who killed the kids’ father. Meanwhile, Aunt Cheryl is determined to get the family on TV, painting Tris as an evil child.

Although the mystery in this book is solid, the ‘bad guy’ was so glaringly obvious from even the book jacket description, I felt like putting the book away pretty quickly. Still, nicely plotted, and I might be a too-seasoned mystery reader for this book. I give If the Witness Lied a 4 out of 5.


  1. It must be hard to determine if a twelve year old could spot it or not. That's the thing about whodunnits. So much rides on it.

  2. This one was soooo obvious, I wonder. But yeah, it's hard to have a good trail of crumbs to the dunnit without giving too much away.