“Lie Like a Rug” by Margaret Maron

I’ve already mentioned my new toy, but the other day I subscribed to Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. A new magazine full of fabulous storis delivered straight to me every month. I don’t know why I never subscribed to the print version; it just never crossed my mind.

Back to the story. I have read one novel by Margarat Maron, Bootlegger’s Daughter, but it was years ago, before I kept any notes or records of what I read. I remember enjoying it, though, which is this was the first selection I read in the magazine.

Mack Parker is on trial for killing his wife, Felicia. From the testimonies, we learn it is a well-known fact around town that Mack beat her up on a regular basis, and all the facts point to his guilt, including that a rug is missing from the house. The body is never found.

The story then picks up years after the trial. I don’t want to give away too much, but the ending, while not a surprise was perfect. And the rug is important.

Maron squeezes a lot into the short story. We know what Mack and Felicia’s relationship was like. We have no doubt that he was capable of killing her. And we pity Felicia, a battered woman who is not capable of pressing charges against her husband.

Ah, to tell the ending or not? That’s my problem with short stories, I always want to give away the whole plot, but I’ll restrain myself. I will say though that I was satisfied with it.

1,216 words
Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine March 1, 2011

3½ out of 5 stars

I purchased my subscription and the above is my honest opinion.