Tabloid reporter Sara Joslyn will go to any lengths to scoop her former employer at a rival rag. This means heading to Branson, Missouri, the home of big hair and snakeskin boots, to cover the trial of a country-western star accused of rape and murder. Donald Westlake's comic journey through "the new Nashville" is equal parts courtroom thriller and pop satire, and another gem in the Westlake canon.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful: Funny and biting look at murder, country music, and tabloids, July 12, 2002 Reviewer: Richard R. Horton from Webster Groves, MO United States _Baby, Would I Lie?_ is the sequel to Donald Westlake's _Trust Me on This_. That book concerned Sara Joslyn's time working for the Weekly Galaxy, a sleazy tabloid. At the end of that book Sara and her editor, now lover, Jack Ingersoll, manage to escape to New York and respectable journalism, in the form of Trend, a weekly modelled as far as I can tell on the New Yorker. As this book opens, Sara is on her way to Branson, MO. Her latest assignment is to cover the murder trial of Ray Jones, a middle-aged country music star with a theater in Branson. One of Jones' employees was found murdered and dumped in Table Rock Lake, and Ray's car was seen with incriminating bloodstains. The evidence against him is purely circumstantial, and fairly weak, but the trial is also being held in the court of public opinion. As Sara arrives, she encounters to her dismay some of her former colleagues from the Weekly Galaxy. Naturally, they too are covering this celebrity trial. And before long Jack is in Branson as well, chomping at the bit to nail the Galaxy at their nefarious journalistic tricks. The story is told from several points of view, but mostly those of Sara and Ray Jones. We soon learn that Ray is also in trouble with the IRS, and we get hints that he is not guilty of the murder but that he knows more than he is letting on, and that he has some curious scheme afoot. Much to the dismay of his legal team, which is confident they can get him off if they can keep him reined in. Meanwhile, he is mysteriously letting Sara have significant access to his legal preparations, much to the further consternation of his lawyers. Is he setting up Sara somehow? The resolution is pretty clever with a nice twist or two. Westlake's portrayal of Branson, a town I know reasonably well, is not bad. (There are one or two missteps, and it's rather out of date. (The book was published in 1994, and depicts the town as it was in perhaps 1990 or so.)) He tries somewhat to avoid stereotyping Midwestern tourists, with limited success. He is pretty sound (and on the whole, sympathetic) on the country musicians themselves, though. The lyrics to Ray Jones' songs are all by Westlake, and they are quite good country pastiches. Ray Jones himself is well depicted -- not exactly a nice man, but not a monster, either. And the book is quite funny. --This text refers to the Paperback edition