Maggie Barbieri’s father was a New York City policeman whose stories have given the author great background for her Maeve Conlon series. She’s back with the third in this darkly humorous mystery series with Lie in Plain Sight.

Maeve’s a single mom to two girls, one in college now and the other, Heather, getting ready to choose a college. Maeve’s relationship with her younger daughter is strained, as it often is with any teen, and more so when that teen’s personality resembles the parent’s.

But Maeve is doing her best, juggling her beau, a local detective, her remarried ex-husband and his new family, and her busy bakery. She’s so busy she hires a local woman, Trish Dvorak, someone she knew in elementary school, to help out.

Things escalate when Trish is out on a delivery and Maeve finds out she’s been named a school contact by Trish for her own teen, Taylor, when the school nurse calls for Maeve’s permission to let an ill Taylor walk the short distance home from school.

But Taylor vanishes before making it home, and suddenly Maeve is not only feeling hellishly responsible, town gossip is adding to her guilt. With her own investigating history and help from a few friends we’ve seen before, Maeve tries to find Taylor on her own, creating tension in several relationships when it becomes obvious there’s more to Taylor’s disappearance than meets the eye.

One of the delights of this series is that the reader knows that Maeve has her own view of what constitutes justice, one that differs significantly from that of her police boyfriend and most of other legal institutions. And when Heather disappears, all bets are off.

Another delightful entry with a likable and different protagonist, with well-crafted characters, and a look into the community where she lives providing a setting and story that will hook and surprise readers from page one.