In May of 1926, celebrity evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson went swimming at Ocean Park beach and vanished, presumed drowned. Millions mourned or prayed for her miraculous return. On June 23, she walked out of the Mexican desert and crossed the border into Douglas, Arizona.
Though her kidnapped story convinced her followers, the district attorney didn’t buy it. He summoned her to a Grand Jury hearing, which is underway when a man is found hanging from an oak in Echo Park, only yards from Sister Aimee’s Angelus Temple. The victim was an old friend of Tom Hickey, whose distress multiplies because the police and local media deny the crime occurred.
Tom, a bandleader with a day job in sales, adds to his chores the pursuit of killers, who may belong to the Ku Klux Klan, and the exposure of a city government in cahoots with media giants more dedicated to power and profit than to truth.
The investigation leads Tom to Angelus Temple and Sister Aimee, who appears to befriend him and offer clues in a veiled and cryptic manner. When she announces an upcoming sermon entitled “The Biggest Liar in Los Angeles,” Tom sees the sermon topic as a clue and compiles his own roster of candidates for the title. They include William Randolph Hearst, Harry Chandler, and Sister Aimee herself.
The Biggest Liar in Los Angeles blends intriguing plot with monumental characters while it resurrects a time and place that, perhaps more than any, created the modern world.