The Telling of Lies
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Telling of Lies

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  547 ratings  ·  25 reviews
The body of wealthy Calder Maddox is found on the beach, the stately Aurora Sands Hotel supplies the suspects, and amateur sleuth and photographer Nessa Van Horne investigates a grisly murder and man's inhumanity to man.
Paperback, 368 pages
Published 1996 by Penguin Books (first published September 3rd 1987)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Telling of Lies, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Telling of Lies

Waiting for Godot by Samuel BeckettSexing the Cherry by Jeanette WintersonFar from the Madding Crowd by Thomas HardyThe Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick NessThe Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper
Titlemania V: Participles & Gerunds
10th out of 53 books — 5 voters
Perdido Street Station by China MiévilleAmerican Gods by Neil GaimanTitus Groan by Mervyn PeakeAt the Mountains of Madness and Other Tales of Terror by H.P. LovecraftThe Iron Dragon's Daughter by Michael Swanwick
Best Weird Fantasy
32nd out of 59 books — 43 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 788)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Jennifer (aka EM)
One of Timothy Findley's lesser known (i.e., minor) works, but displaying his breadth of style with his characteristic deeper exploration of the human psyche. Vanessa Van Horne--socialite, landscape architect, photographer, spinster ("'Young man,' I said; 'what I said to you was: I have never married. I did not say anything about my profession.'"), survivor of a Japanese internment camp and a series of heart attacks--has spent 45 summers at a family-owned, coastal Maine hotel that has seen bette...more
Max Karpovets
Timothy Findley is a former actor and radio performer and scriptwriter from Canada who has written one incredible novel (Not Wanted On the Voyage) and quite a few good ones. He won the highest prize of Canadian Literal Association and prize of Canadian Governor-general. The author became popular with publishing two incredible novels – Piligrim (1999) and Spadework (2001). There is no such thing as a characteristic Findley novel, and this is no exception.

The story full of secrets, but don’t belie...more
When elderly pharmaceuticals mogul Calder Maddox dies suddenly on the beach at the Aurora Sands Hotel in Maine, some of the other guests believe there may be more to it than natural causes. The main character is 59-year-old Vanessa Van Horne, a landscape designer and amateur photographer who is drawn into the case because she was there on the beach with her camera when Maddox died, and because some of her closest friends, including Calder's mistress Lily Porter, are involved.

The cast of characte...more
Felice Picano
The late Timothy Findley is one of Canada's best known and most accomplished authors and its a shame that this delightful and openly gay man didn't write much about GLBT matters or characters. But the novels and stories he did write are excellent. The Wars and Famous Last Words, especially. And now this odd little mystery, set in a conservative, traditional Maine seaside comunity. The narrator is a woman in her sixties and most of the main characters are about that same age. Meaning that they ha...more
I was a little disappointed in this book after having read The Wars by Timothy Findley and Not Wanted On The Voyage by Timothy Findley. The Wars was brilliant in places and Not Wanted was a very good read as well. In "The Telling of Lies", Findley moved so far away from these other two books in style and story, that I scarcely recognized it as being his. The writing was still good, but the story wasn't very compelling, and I had no deep interest in any of the characters. This was the author's fifth novel, but I didn't find it nearly as compelling as some of his...more
Daniel Kukwa
I'm not entirely sure what Timothy Findley was trying to demonstrate with this novel. Like Issac Asimov, was he simply scratching the itch to write a mystery novel? Or was he trying to construct a novel about buried secrets and facades, under the cover of a modern, Marple-light investigation? I was moderately intrigued for two-thirds of the page count...only for the novel to completely lose my interest after the introduction of a bevy of new characters that overload the story and stretch out the...more
Didn't finish it. Drawn out and rambling. Characters were completely out of their time frame. It was supposed to take place in the '80's but the characters were all 1920's vintage. Weird.
I don't care for mystery books; this is a mystery book.
"Мне все меньше и меньше по душе собственное подозрение, что коль скоро мир всегда исчезает за горизонтом, то исчезает и жизнь. И что мы — подобно кораблям с парусами и шлейфами дыма — переваливаем через этот рубеж и попросту исчезаем. Лучше б я не верила, что смерть не более чем такое же вот исчезновение. Пятидесятидевятилетнему человеку эта мысль почему-то кажется недостойной, хотя я всегда считала большой удачей, что не разделяю широко распространенный взгляд на смерть как наказание или по ме...more
I love Timothy Findley and - with one exception - have loved all his books. But since the disappointment of Spadework I hold my breath a little each time, worrying that I might have found another novel unworthy of him. Fortunately The Telling of Lies is an amazing book, very different from others of his that I've read except for the common thread of wonderfully interesting characters. I rarely find mysteries terribly satisfying - the resolution is usually too mundane, too ridiculous or too obvio...more
I feel like every book Timothy Findley writes is a disappointment after I saw what he was capable of with The Wars. This is no exception. It's a neat little murder mystery that does keep you reading, with interesting moments in flashbacks to World War II, but the mystery wasn't satisfying in the way it would be in the hands of a mystery writer, and the tidbits of a compelling history did not sustain the otherwise lacklustre story. Yet again, I am waiting for a novel it seems Findley could only w...more
(Actual rating - 3.5 stars)

"The Telling of Lies" chronicles the murder of a pharmaceutical magnate at a New England resort community. It's narrated by Vanessa Van Horne, a prickly 59 year old woman who bears hidden scars.

It took me 90 pages to get into this book, which is a pretty long time, considering it's only about 360 pages. However, once I did get into it, I found it very compelling, and I began to enjoy Van Horne's narration.
Kathy H
I should probably rate this book higher than three stars as it really is a well-written novel. Still, it was hard to get into; I couldn't find the story line as flashbacks and hints to the reason for events, friendships, curious behaviours were strewn all over the first half of the book and only just partially explained in the last half. Perhaps I wasn't in the mood for obscure and clever.
A decent enough murder mystery that has ambitions of rising above the label of genre fiction. Unfortunately, despite these ambitions it never quite seems to succeed. Had I read this 15 years ago when I was big into mystery novels then I might have thought more of it.

As such, while I found it an enjoyable diversion and an easy read, it was not much more than that. Mystery fans may find more to love than I did though.
Rebecca House
I was not sure what to expect with this book not having read anything by Findley in a while. This story drew me in and I was soon caught up in the mystery of the ASH and Pine Point guests all juxtaposed viewing an iceberg invade their sandy shores of Maine.
Carol Spears
This book was fine, the characters were interesting and the story was crafted nicely. I recently decided that 4 and 5 stars should be reserved for books I wouldn't mind or even would like to read again and this is not one of those books.
Stevan McCallum
I read, and enjoyed, most of Findley's work. This book, however, was a disappointment. A murder-mystery that couldn't keep my interest enough to finish reading the final 40 pages and find out whodunit.
Devon Dickens
One of my highschool english books that I actually remember. As a teenager reading this I remember being delighted by the comedic characters...were they supposed to be funny?
This book went nowhere. Not exciting nor suspenseful nor inspiring. I just didn't care what the next page might reveal.
this was interesting.. not my favorite book of the year. but i do like timothy findly.
This is one of the few books I could not finish. It just wasn't worth my time.
Just one of the okay Findley books.
when I discovered historical fiction
Feb 09, 2009 Anne added it
No recollection.
Ricardo Neves
Ricardo Neves marked it as to-read
Sep 17, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 26 27 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • A Bird in the House
  • Murther and Walking Spirits
  • Barometer Rising
  • As for Me and My House
  • Swann
  • The Friends of Meager Fortune
  • Tamarind Woman
  • Adultery
  • Curious Pursuits: Occasional Writing 1970-2005
  • An Audience of Chairs
  • The Origin of Species
  • Stanley Park
  • The Stone Angel
  • The Mountain and the Valley
Timothy Irving Frederick Findley was a Canadian novelist and playwright. He was also informally known by the nickname Tiff or Tiffy, an acronym of his initials.
More about Timothy Findley...
Not Wanted on the Voyage The Wars The Piano Man's Daughter Pilgrim Headhunter

Share This Book