Women Sleuths in
Historical Mysteries

1943 United States


Lipstick & Lies

by Margit Liesche

Pucci Lewis is thrilled being a WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilot), a program founded and headed by America’s “First Lady of Flight,” Jackie Cochran. Pucci’s life takes on a yet more exciting, and dangerous, turn when the FBI taps her to help uncover a German spy ring operating within a Detroit area aircraft factory. As her undercover roles take her from a women’s prison to a posh women’s club, Pucci finds she is particularly adept at infiltration skills. Still, the surprising ending shatters her illusions about who was guilty and who innocent.

There is much to learn here about often overlooked aspects of America’s WWII female pilots and intelligence gatherers. Find detailed descriptions of the planes women flew, the anti-espionage investigations by often competing government bodies, and the struggles of Cochran to have the WASPS become part of the military, which did not happen until Congress belated recognized their efforts in 1979. The real-life countess Buchanan-Dineen, a spy and then counteragent suspected of triple-dealing, appears as well.

In her Afterword, the author gives additional information about the WASPS and the extent to which women were used in intelligence work. Since the countess’s last years are unknown, Liesche encourages readers to look up her informative webpage and add their ideas.

Young women in particular will enjoy Liesche’s second suspenseful Pucci Lewis book, Hollywood Buzz. The WASPS, German sabotage, and an FBI love interest are featured again, but this time the story is set in the chaotic world of the wartime film industry.

Terrific classroom lessons on women in WWI, including material about the women aviators, can be found at: “Fly Girls: Women Aviators in World War II,”

Also, note our review of the curriculum “Women at the Heart of War



Lyn Reese is the author of all the information on this website
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Women in World History Curriculum