January 14, 2021
Diane Chamberlain
St. Martin's Press
Paperback, 416 pages
A novel of chilling intrigue, a decades-old disappearance, and one woman’s quest to find the truth…

North Carolina, 2018: Morgan Christopher's life has been derailed. Taking the fall for a crime she did not commit, her dream of a career in art is put on hold―until a mysterious visitor makes her an offer that will get her released from prison immediately. Her assignment: restore an old post office mural in a sleepy southern town. Morgan knows nothing about art restoration, but desperate to be free, she accepts. What she finds under the layers of grime is a painting that tells the story of madness, violence, and a conspiracy of small-town secrets.

North Carolina, 1940: Anna Dale, an artist from New Jersey, wins a national contest to paint a mural for the post office in Edenton, North Carolina. Alone in the world and in great need of work, she accepts. But she doesn't expect to find herself immersed in a town where prejudices run deep, where people are hiding secrets behind closed doors, and where the price of being different might just end in murder.

What happened to Anna Dale? Are the clues hidden in the decrepit mural? Can Morgan overcome her own demons to discover what exists beneath the layers of lies?

“A novel about arts and secrets...grippingly told...pulls readers toward a shocking conclusion.”
Dear Readers,

Big Lies in a Small Town came about from my interest in the Works Progress Administration (WPA) mural project of the 1930s and 40s. What would it be like, to be a young, inexperienced artist tapped to create one of these pieces of art? What small-town post office should be its home?

Anna Dale’s character and the setting of Edenton, North Carolina, both were born of these questions. The deeper I dug into race relations in Edenton at the time, the more the character of Jesse Wiliams took shape. Adding in the more contemporary character of Morgan, someone who’s fallen on hard times and has to take on a role that she’s not prepared for, filled in the last piece of the puzzle as I created the novel. I've spoken to many book clubs since Big Lies in a Small Town was released and we've had some amazing discussions. I hope your clubs will find the story intriguing as well. 

Thank you all so much for always embracing my work, and being a part of the Big Lies in a Small Town journey!

Diane Chamberlain
Diane Chamberlain's Book Club Menu and Recipe
In the 1940s, World War II was in full force and food rationing was a normal part of life so the government could ensure that everyone was getting an equal amount. In spite of this, women came up with unique and quirky menus that we simply don’t see today.

Mini meatloaves are the type of main dish Anna Dale’s hosts in Edenton might have made for dinner, alongside mashed potatoes for an inexpensive yet filling meal. A Jell-O mold could have easily followed as a sweet, cheap dessert!

A Pimm’s Cup was likely not the cheapest cocktail you could make during WWII, but it’s a delectable accompaniment to Big Lies in a Small Town! Teetotalers can enjoy a mocktail, as Morgan would, by making a refreshing nojito—a mojito without the rum.
When Anna Dale first moves to Edenton, Miss Myrtle serves her upside-down pineapple cake. Something else she may have served, in line with rations during the depression, is this delicious Golden Nugget cake! Gold Nugget Cake was a popular, fuss-free cake to enjoy—and its relatively inexpensive ingredients made it a perfect one to create during wartime. In particular, using overripe bananas in this way was a terrific pathway to deliciously stretching a food ration."

-Diane Chamberlain

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Recipe Party
Food and book bloggers are celebrating the paperback release of Diane Chamberlain's Big Lies in a Small Town with a virtual recipe party. Participants are creating book-inspired recipes and sharing their insights. You'll find links to their posts below.

Follow #BigLiesinaSmallTownParty on social media for all party posts.

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