Baltimore Blues Mass Market Paperback – Feb 1 1997
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From Publishers Weekly
Downsized ex-reporter Tess Monaghan spends her days working part-time at the bookstore owned by sexy Aunt Kitty and trying not to fall into the disgustingly polluted Patapsco from her city-owned boat. When rowing buddy Rocky pays her what looks like a fortune to follow his fiance, the trail leads to murder with Rocky the prime suspect. "Uneven" is the word for this first novel-hometown and newspaper backgrounds are alive from page one, but characters are cartoons until chapter 15 (out of 30) when Tess investigates the victim. Suddenly the story perks up to a believable pageturner. If Lippman continues the promise of the second half of Baltimore Blues while adhering to advice attributed to Elmore Leonard to cut out the parts people won't read, mystery fans can anticipate an engrossing series.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"Laura Lippman deserves to be a big star." -- -- Julie Smith, author of House of BluesSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
I found this to be a good beginning to the Tess Monaghan series, yet many details were given which had little to do with moving the story along. Tess’ character seems very down to earth, like someone you could relate to in real life. The author depicts Baltimore very well; I’ve been there and can ‘see’ it through the author’s eyes. Baltimore Blues was first published in 1997; the first four books of the series are being reissued with new covers and Notes from the Author. In addition, a new book in the series, Hush Hush, will be released February 24, 2015. You can find those details on Laura’s website: http://lauralippman.net/. I rated Baltimore Blues at 3.5 out of 5.
The story is pretty straightforward with a fairly likable cast of supporting players. What really makes this book successful, however, is not the story or the characters, but rather the setting -- Baltimore, which becomes a character in it of itself. Lippman, a reporter for the Baltimore Sun and long-time resident of Charm City, clearly knows her territory, making full use of various known landmarks as well as unknown neighborhoods and traditions. It's a richly layered guide to Baltimore that only touches on the wealth that the city offers.
Ultimately, what really nagged me, though, was my own proximity to Baltimore. When I read other mysteries and the author takes great care bringing location into the story, I'm often impressed with the detail and character of those settings. As a writer, part of me often speculates -- are these real places or did the author make them up? Now, having read Baltimore Blues and dabbling in local color, I must confess that it's rather strange to read about places I've been to, or could get to within a half hour's drive. When Lippman actually mentions my own county, including a town not far from where I live, I had to pause and remind myself that Baltimore Blue was just fiction.
He is engaged to a young lawyer,Ava,and is afraid that she is seeing another man.He asks Tess to follow her and report on her movements.She accepts reluctantly,being unable to refuse the money on offer.She finds that the poised and unlikeable Ava is a shoplifter and is seeing Michael Abromowitz,once a prominent public defender now a partner in the firm which employs her.
Abromowitz is murdered and suspicion falls upon The Rock .His lawyer ,another rowing fanatic,named Tyner, engages Tess to dig around in the case trying to uncover facts useful to his defence.She finds that Ava has spun a yarn to the Rock about being forced to sleep with Abramowitz and thus the Rock has motive enough
Aide by her socialite friend Whitney she delves into the case uncovering information about the personalities involved.She finds herself mired in the worlds of teenage sexual abuse and murder,and industrial compensation cases both involving Abramowitz .Others have valid motives for wishing him dead.
The case is unravelled smoothly and in addition to Tess there are likeable characters in plenty--Crow ,a bookstore clerk and wannabe musician,smitten by Tess,and Whitney,flambouyant and opinionated but with personality to spare.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
This is my first book by this author. It's the beginning of a series that features Tess Monagham, an unemployed journalist in Baltimore, who stumbles into private detective work... Read morePublished on Aug. 9 2013 by Pat the cat
My friend turned me onto this series and I love it! If you are from the Maryland area, you will recognize a lot of the landmarks, but if you're not from the area you'll still love... Read morePublished on May 24 2004 by taralk
I really like this author's voice. She's witty and smart and just pulled me along to the end. I particularly like the way she brought baltimore alive.Published on July 14 2003
I just "discovered" this author and I am fast becoming a die-hard fan. This is not the best book in the series, but it is a wonderful beginning and Tess only gets better. Read morePublished on Nov. 16 2002 by Kindle Customer
Having written a novel myself, "The Other Part Of Me", set in Howard County (just to the west of Baltimore) I was anxious to see if "Baltimore Blues" captured... Read morePublished on Oct. 15 2002 by Ronnie Kinsley
This book is well written - the characterizations are original, the description of Baltimore is interesting but not overdone, and the "whodunit" ending is suprising but... Read morePublished on July 20 2001 by Kristin Brown