I’ve been a fan of Heidi Perks since reading Now You See Her in 2018, and I was delighted to be offered an early copy of her latest novel, Three Perfect Liars, and a spot on the blog tour.
When a body is pulled out of an office fire, three women are first in line for questioning. All of them have reasons for wanting revenge against the company’s CEO.
It could be Laura, who has returned to work to find that her maternity cover isn’t leaving. The CEO insists he’s doing what’s best for the company. Laura isn’t convinced he’s telling the truth.
Or there’s Mia. Brought in as temporary cover for Laura, she has quickly made herself indispensable – and popular – with her colleagues. But if people knew why she was so desperate to keep her job, they might not welcome her so freely.
Then there’s Janie, wife to the CEO, who gave up her courtroom career to support her husband and his business. She has her own secret to protect – and will go to any length to keep it safe.
They never thought it would come to this.
Three Perfect Liars throws the reader straight into the action as a fire breaks out at the offices of advertising agency Morris & Wood. The culprit is unknown, but it soon becomes clear that their plan didn’t quite turn out as expected when a body is pulled from the flames and they realise the impact of their actions. Skipping back and forth between the run up to this event and the police interviews with various individuals following the blaze, the reader gradually builds up a picture of what happened as the narrative unfolds.
It begins with Laura, who – two months prior to the fire – returns to work following six months of maternity leave. She is the main earner in the household, and it makes sense for her to work full time with husband Nate staying at home to look after their child. She is both shocked and angered when she returns to work to find that Mia – hired on a temporary basis to cover her maternity leave – has been made permanent, and has taken over her – and the company’s – biggest client. Laura quickly becomes convinced that this was Mia’s aim all along, and I thought that the structure worked brilliantly to leave the reader unsure as to whether this was a case of paranoia on Laura’s part, or whether Mia was indeed up to something.
Through Laura, Perks is able to explore the pressure on parents to return to work – the expectation that the father is (still) the main earner, and that the mother should be content to raise her child, putting aside her career. Laura faces the judgement of other new mums for returning to work, for returning too soon, and for returning full time rather than easing back into it gently, and she feels isolated from those who she should be able to share her experiences with. Laura’s situation is made more extreme by Mia which adds additional and unneeded stress, causing her to prioritise work over her family, feeling that she has no choice but to prove herself capable.
Mia’s story is altogether different, and it’s very quickly apparent that she has her own secrets. This adds to Laura’s feelings of mistrust, as she feels that Mia is presenting a façade in the office, and is determined to find out why. To me, Mia actually came across as a very pleasant person – she’s friendly to all members of staff, even those who are more junior than she is, and takes the time to chat. While Laura is standoffish with the majority of her colleagues, Mia takes the time to get to know them. Of course, as Mia’s perspective is shared with the reader, we know more than Laura about her own personal circumstances where she is looking after both her mum and her sister, the three of them living together, and I felt more sympathy for Mia than I did Laura. Despite this, I felt that she had indeed wormed her way into Morris & Wood at Laura’s expense, and I was curious to find out why.
The third perspective used is that of Janie Wood, former barrister and wife of the ad agency’s CEO, Harry Wood. Janie’s perspective isn’t used as much as that of Laura and Mia, although it’s clear that her last case has affected her, playing on her thoughts even after five years. I liked the way in which this raised the question of how those who work in such a capacity can defend those accused of heinous crimes, particularly if they know and / or believe their client to be guilty. With Janie getting less page time than the other two ladies, I found her to be a somewhat mysterious character, although I didn’t see her – rightly or wrongly – as a contender for having started the fire, certainly not at first, anyway.
Three Perfect Liars is another brilliant novel from Heidi Perks. It’s cleverly plotted with intriguing characters, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I thought that the movement back and forth in time worked brilliantly, and the police interviews with the staff of Morris & Wood served to give a little additional information and added a few extra little twists to the narratives of the three main characters and the events leading up to the fire. Recommended.
Three Perfect Liars is published on 12 March as an eBook, and on 30 April in hardback. Many thanks to the publisher and Rachel Kennedy for the early copy and the opportunity to take part in the blog tour.
Make sure you check out the other wonderful bloggers taking part in the blog tour: