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Baltimore Blues (Tess Monaghan Mysteries) [Mass Market Paperback]

Laura Lippman
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars OK but kind of depressing.... Aug. 9 2013
By Pat the cat TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
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 to help a friend. My overall impression is that it was good but a little flat. The heroine isn't interesting enough for me to want to read anymore. I give it 3 out 5 stars (good).
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great Mystery Series May 24 2004
By taralk
Format:Mass Market Paperback
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 the book. It is a well written story with fabulous characters.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Charming Dec 22 2003
By M.A.
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I finished Laura Lippman's Baltimore Blues last night, and I was pleased with the overall story and its characters. In brief, Tess Monaghan is a former reporter, struggling to find employment when her rowing friend asks her to check up on his fiancee. Tess reluctantly accepts because she needs the money and because she cares for her friend. Unfortunately, Tess suspects that the fiancee is having an affair with her boss, a disreputable lawyer with a reputation for defending the scum of humanity... at least, before he's murdered. The prime suspect is Tess's friend, and now she's out to uncover the real killer.
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling and witty book July 14 2003
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
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.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great Trouble Jan. 30 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is another great book as a part of Tess Monagrham
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Discovery Nov. 16 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
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. If you are looking for an entertaining read this series is highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Feels Like Baltimore Oct. 16 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
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 the feel of the Baltimore that I know and love. Ms. Lippman did that and more. Her book hits Baltimore dead-center, but more than that her book offers up a story that takes hold of the reader after just a few pages and never lets go.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Starting point of a major crime novel series Sept. 3 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This novel introduces Ms Lippman's Regular series heroine ,ex journalist Tess Monaghan,who since her former newspaper closed down has found herself scratching a precarious existence working for her Aunt Kitty,a bookstore owner,and doing some supernumery work on behalf of her Uncle Donald,work that unknown to her is not really required and is paid for by her uncle from his own pocket. She is close friends with The Rock,with whom she shares a passion for rowing,he being nationally ranked and she an enthusiastic amateur.They train together and enjoy a relaxed cameraderie.
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.
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