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Alistair Fitzjohn #3

Once Upon a Lie

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Little did businessman and entrepreneur Michael Rossi know that the telephone call he answered on that fateful Friday would be the catalyst for his death and the subsequent recovery of his body from the waters of Sydney Harbour the following morning.
Recalled from leave to take on the case, Detective Chief Inspector Fitzjohn confronts the first of many puzzles: how Rossi spent the unaccountable hours before he died. This leads him on a paper-trail into a tangled web of deception, jealousy and greed that unravels the mystery surrounding Michael’s death.

Unaware of her nephew’s fate, Esme Timmons retires for the evening, unsuspecting of the events about to unfold, events that will, ultimately, expose a grim lie, buried deep in the past.

246 pages, Kindle Edition

First published April 2, 2013

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About the author

Jill Paterson

14 books113 followers
Jill Paterson is best known for her popular Fitzjohn Mystery Series. Set in the city of Sydney, Australia, her richly drawn characters include Alistair Fitzjohn. Now a police consultant since his retirement from the force, his methods of investigation remain the same, methodical and painstaking.

While continuing the Fitzjohn series, Jill is also working on a new series, the Phoebe Chadwick Mysteries. Set along the east coast of Australia in a small township, Phoebe Chadwick heads the cast of characters as the female sleuth.

When not writing, Jill explores settings for her books and enjoys painting, photography and tai chi.

If you would like to get an automatic email when Jill’s next book is released, sign up on her blog at: https://theperfectplot.blogspot.com
Alternatively, join Jill’s mailing list on her website at: https://www.jillpatersonfitzjohnmyste...
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5 stars
321 (32%)
4 stars
361 (36%)
3 stars
241 (24%)
2 stars
34 (3%)
1 star
19 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 75 reviews
Profile Image for Sharon.
1,054 reviews196 followers
November 26, 2014
After spending the last few weeks in London, Detective Chief Inspector Alistair Fitzjohn has been called back to work. Fitzjohn went back to London to revisit places he and his late wife, Edith visited in their younger years.

The case Fitzjohn was required to go on was the suspicious death of Michael Rossi, who was found at Rushcutters Bay by his business partner, Nigel Prentice. Michael and Nigel had worked alongside one another in Rossi & Prentice Yachting Electronics since 2007. Nigel was having a hard time coming to terms with what had happened to, Michael, and he definitely had no ideas as to who would want to do this to him.

Esme Timmons was shocked and most saddened to hear about the death of her nephew, Michael on the television. Her thoughts immediately drifted to the intruder she'd had and wondered if this had something to do with, Michael being murdered. Gathering her walking cane and handbag, Esme heads for Waverton train station and buys a ticket to Kings Cross. Once arriving at Kings Cross she then goes to the Police Station where she speaks with, Fitzjohn. After speaking with, Esme, Fitzjohn and his partner Detective Sergeant Betts start their investigation. Will they discover the killer in time before another victim is found?

Aussie author Jill Paterson has once again written another fabulous read. With twist and turns this story had me intrigued right to the end. I have loved every book in this series and I am so looking forward to reading the next one.
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,328 reviews2,146 followers
December 31, 2014
A light, enjoyable read. A bit predictable and there were quite a few editorial errors that detracted from it for me. I liked the main character although he was very, very similar to Adam Dalgleish without being quite as good. In all I enjoyed it as a quick read and may well try some more books from this series.
Profile Image for Brenda.
4,230 reviews2,731 followers
June 1, 2014
Detective Chief Inspector Alastair Fitzjohn had been called back from leave; he’d been in London for a good while and felt relaxed and refreshed. Though nothing could make up for the death of his beloved Edith, coming back to tend to her orchids in their glasshouse at the rear of his cottage gave him a measure of peace while putting the day to day problems of the surrounding world away for awhile.

Meeting up with his nemesis Chief Superintendent Grieg had a negative effect until he learned he was to be seconded to Kings Cross Police Station in the centre of Sydney and accompanied by Detective Sergeant Betts – the body of a prominent businessman had been found in Sydney Harbour that morning; Michael Rossi appeared to have met a violent end, and Fitzjohn was determined to discover how and why it came about.

As Fitzjohn began his investigation, he met Charlotte Rossi, daughter of Claudi Rossi who had died three years previously – Claudia was Michael’s twin sister. He also met Esme Timmons who was Michael Rossi’s aunt – was the burglary at her home connected to Michael’s death? From Sydney to the Hunter Valley vineyards and back again, Fitzjohn and Betts were dogged in their determination. And when the lies and deception began to rise to the surface, their grim satisfaction was gradual – but could they discover Michael Rossi’s murderer before he struck again?

I thoroughly enjoyed this, the third in the DCI Alistair Fitzjohn mysteries, set in Sydney and written by Aussie author Jill Paterson. The gentle twists and turns, the ease of reading and the compulsion to keep going to the end has been the same in each one. My only observation in this one is minor editing issues which in no way detracted from my enjoyment of the story. I have no hesitation in highly recommending each of Jill’s books, and though each is a stand-alone mystery, I would suggest starting at the beginning to get to know the characters.
Profile Image for Sharon Michael.
663 reviews47 followers
July 19, 2013
I do enjoy a police procedural/mystery with a competent, reliable main character who is not an alcoholic, wallowing in depression or tangled in a dysfunctional love affair.

Characters are well developed, with just enough detail of family life outside their work to give them a well rounded personality.

Two plot lines which eventually merge, quite believably and I particularly liked the art gallery/ artwork involvement.

Very readable mystery with a touch of cozy/ classic English mystery feel to it.
Profile Image for Odette.
59 reviews
July 31, 2015
What a pleasant find as I enjoyed this mystery and the characters very much. There was complexity, but not at all confusisng, with a number of suspects and not just one crime. I liked the style of writing, without being too violent or macabre. I also liked the unfolding stories and development of the main characters. This book kept me engrossed, as I wanted to keep reading it, and the plot had me guessing right to the end. I am now interested in reading the two previous books about Fitzjohn, and of course any future book in this series.
Profile Image for Patricia Ibarra.
700 reviews7 followers
December 13, 2015
The entrepreneur, owner of a vineyard in Australia, was murdered under mysterious circumstances, but it is gradually unveiled how complicated his family life was. Retired Detective Chief Inspector Fitzjohn and was called to help solve this case, a welcome invitation to stop mourning the loss of his orchid-lover wife. Interesting, well told story, and very easy to follow. It reminded me of Agatha Christie's style. The virtue of the author is that each time she introduces a new character, you can't stop wondering if he/ she might be the murderer, making life harder for the investigator. .
Profile Image for Jan K.
144 reviews
July 20, 2015
I am enjoying these Fitzjohn mysteries. This particular book had quite a few interrelated characters and it was just a touch challenging to keep them all straight. But again, I enjoy reading how Detective Chief Inspector Fitzjohn works methodically to bring about justice. He still reminds me of a Columbo type character, bumbling along...but he's more on top of it than everyone thinks. In this book he solves not one, but two murders. A good summer read.
Profile Image for Harry Lane.
940 reviews14 followers
July 12, 2015
Paterson writes a consistently good police procedural. Her characters lives interweave as the plot develops in a way that adds interest. In this installment, the case has a number of possible suspects, and Fitzjohn has a number of challenges to tease out the information needed to identify the guilty party.
Profile Image for Carl.
579 reviews1 follower
May 24, 2017
"Once Upon a Lie" is the third - and sadly weakest - entry in Jill Paterson's Inspector Fitzjohn mystery series. Although "Once Upon a Lie" is still a good read, it is not as good or strong as the first two were. Her first Fitzjohn mystery, "The Celtic Dagger," was a very well crafted, although the good Inspector had essentially a more minor role. Fitzjohn certainly was an interesting and appealing character, which I am sure has led to this series. Regardless, "Once Upon a Lie" was good, and as with Patterson's stories, it was not overly predictable.

Michael Rossi, half owner of a marine engineering company, is pulled from the waters of Sydney Harbor a near a boat in his shipyard early one morning. Soon after the hunt for the killer begins, it becomes clear there is way more to this murder than what's on the surface. Unaware of her nephew’s fate, Esme Timmons (a fascinating older character) retires for the evening, unsuspecting of the events about to unfold; events that include the murder of her nephew and her confrontation of an intruder that very evening in her home. Murder raises his head and slowly reveals a grim lie, deeply buried in the past.

"Once Upon a Lie" is Australian, thus it has a British flavor to it. While it is not the best mystery I have ever read (and not even the best in the series so far), it did hold my interest. Chief Inspector Alastair Fitzjohn is a very realistic and likable character, a little reminiscent of Adam Dalgleish (for those who enjoy British mysteries). In fact, most the characters are nicely developed, with just enough detail of family life outside their work to give them a well rounded personality. I will read more of Patterson, and I invite you to give her a try!!
159 reviews1 follower
September 23, 2019
~A very proper detective novel
~There are well over 300 reviews of this book, so there is not much new that I can say. However, I do want to get my 5-Star rating counted.
~This is a proper story…and by that, I mean there is always time for tea, Detective Chief Inspector Fitzjohn did not jump to conclusions, rather he followed a methodical style of investigation…tracking leads and questioning suspects (often catching them in their lie). Unlike a story which takes place in the U.S.A., the police did not have to engage in a blazing gun battle in order to arrest their suspects. I do enjoy a “hard-boiled, shoot first; question later” detective murder mystery…but, this was a nice change.
~I enjoyed the characters of Fitzjohn and Betts.
~A well rounded story with a good amount of misdirection and plot twists.
~Yes, there were some proofreading errors…that is a technical point…it did not diminish from the overall enjoyment of the book.
Profile Image for M.
1,391 reviews
July 25, 2018
This Author Needs an Editor. Badly.

2.5 stars

The murder mystery is cleverly plotted with two interesting storylines. However, the police procedural sections were annoying, because titles of rank are used each time a character is mentioned. As a reader of police procedurals, I won’t forget the protagonist’s name and rank. Be warned: there are more than 25 characters in this shortish book, and many had same/similar surnames.

This was a difficult book for me to get through, because of so many punctuation, grammatical, spelling and homophone errors/problems. The author should avail herself of an editor, or perhaps she might persuade a few educated friends to read her manuscript.
3,787 reviews11 followers
October 9, 2021
Wonderful entertaining listening 🔰😀

Another will written romantic thriller adventure mystery novel by Jill Paterson book three in the Fitzjohn Mystery Series with lots of interesting will developed characters. The story line is set in Sidney, Australia where a murder leads to a year old death. It to is a murder of the sister which leads Fitzjohn to 👍lots of suspects for both murders. I would recommend this novel and series to readers of mysteries. Enjoy the adventure of reading or listening to books 📚 2021 🏡😉
265 reviews
November 13, 2019
Complicated characters

Although at times I felt like giving up, I stayed til the end. The interaction of the different characters made it necessary to be alert to their relationships both professional and personal. It was a well written book and I enjoyed the way the mystery was solved.
10 reviews2 followers
May 27, 2017
Good Tory

A lot of characters, some with similar names. Makes keeping track of everything sort of difficult. It got a bit dragged out at times and I felt like the author was trying to fill space with unnecessary information, only to make it harder to follow the thread.
Profile Image for Susan.
5,646 reviews53 followers
April 21, 2019
When businessman Michael Rossi's body is discovered in Sydney Harbour Fitzjohn is brought in to lead the investigation. What may seem at first a straightforward case becomes complicated .
An enjoyable mystery
Profile Image for Donna Arthur.
Author 4 books1 follower
October 1, 2019
Great book

All of the characters were realistic and the storyline has multiple twists and turns. Hard to put down. I haven't read the whole series but now I shall. I write mysteries and read the genre also. Very impressive.
86 reviews
February 20, 2020
Great mystery read

The central characters are becoming well liked acquaintances. The stories are interesting and have some surprises. I look forward to reading the next book in the series
Profile Image for Jean Holtof.
415 reviews3 followers
January 22, 2021
An enjoyable whodunit with Detective Chief Inspector Fitzjohn, who reminds me a lot of Morse from the British television series, as he investigates the death of Michael Rossi. A complex plot with lots of interesting characters, I liked the pacing in the story and the wit and dry humor.
319 reviews
April 28, 2022
Recent murder leads to a old murder.

When a man is killed, the detectives find that his sister was murdered years earlier and thought to be an accident. Throw in art fraud and identity theft and you've got day good story.
Profile Image for Lin J..
25 reviews
May 4, 2017
it's like the outline of a book, boring writing and nothing spectacular about the story.
Profile Image for Laura.
598 reviews18 followers
May 9, 2017
I got in to this really quickly and wanted to keep reading to find out the next development in the story. Would recommend and would read more by this author in the future.
220 reviews1 follower
January 5, 2018
Quick, light read. Written mostly from the detective’s perspective, so a lot of “we interviewed this person, then we collected this evidence.”
56 reviews
March 27, 2018
Great book

Really a great book. I love the detail in this book, the way the author writes and it kept me guessing throughout. I'll definitely read more of her books!
Profile Image for Patricia Manship.
31 reviews1 follower
August 13, 2018

I just love these books ,great stories !!!! Seeing the same characters is like looking in on someone's family !
1,509 reviews15 followers
August 23, 2019
This is the first book I have read in this series and I totally enjoyed it. Good story line and kept my interest throughout.
Profile Image for Mary.
982 reviews
May 3, 2020
This was a pleasant read. The writing and the plot were a huge improvement over the first , A Celtic Dagger, although still a little flat. I liked Fitzroy and Betts.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 75 reviews

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