Quick word about the religious aspect: it is pretty superficial, so about a 1 on a scale of 1-5.
This book turned out surprisingly well once I hit the halfway mark (pg. 140). That is when the lies unravel and the truth gets some page space. There are a number of liars in this book:
1. The heroine (Marguerite Westing) - lies so much in this book, it is pathological. Seriously, little fibs, big whoopers, almost any answer to a question is answered in a lie. She sees lying as a way to circumvent society's ideals about womanhood (the story takes place in 1895 and she is upper middle class/high enough in the social standings of the town) and get her fun. Doesn't matter who she hurts (such as the hero or even herself). Until she discovers the truth about the lies others told her, then lying is a big deal to her. In the end, she is tired of the lies all around and decides to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and ends up saving her family from poverty and blackmail.
2. Captain Andrews (father of the hero) - lied to his son about something so important, then tells the truth after the Captain suffers a second heart attack and almost dies. Seriously, his reasoning is a bit selfish, but also not too selfish - I get why he lied, but I don't condone the lying in the first place and definitely not keeping the lie going for as long as he did. The truth seemed to ease the son's feelings and make way for him to forgive heroine for the hundredth lie she told. Son doesn't hold a grudge against the dad, so that relationship is saved/renewed by the truth.
3. Edwin & Camille Westing - and now we know where the heroine gets her lying gene from. Once everything is discovered, their lies pretty much make the heroine a sacrificial lamb to atone for their mistakes. It isn't until Marguerite stands up for herself against the blackmailer that these two decide to confront the lies they told and work to restore their own honesty.
4. Roger Gordon & Clyde Stone - the villains in this story. You kind of expect it from them; however, by the time the reader gets to their lies, it is over kill.
Seriously, the only people in this story that didn't lie at all was Mark Westing (younger brother of heroine and not just a plot moppet - he actually had a point in the story), Trip Andrews (the hero - and in every sense of the word! great character), and Trips' friends/co-workers (Harry, Lloyd, Mel, & Max). So why the good rating?
Those last 50ish pages....exciting, so much truthiness you expect Stephen Colbert to make an appearance, and a believable HEA that was worth the work to get there. I loved that the heroine saved herself and her family, rather than the hero coming to the rescue. This ending helps me feel better about starting book two in the series tomorrow. 3.5 stars.