Butchers Hill Mass Market Paperback – Jul 1 1998
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From Publishers Weekly
Tess Monaghan, newspaperwoman turned sleuth, makes it official with a new business as a PI in a run-down section of Baltimore, Butchers Hill. Her first clientsAan elderly man known as the Butcher of Butchers Hill and a highly successful female professional fund-raiserApresent the first dilemma. Tess needs a cover, reluctantly supplied by Client 2, in order to get access to information on the ghetto for Client 1. The process of finding diverse missing persons starts Monaghan and her two black clients on sometimes prickly discourse involving race. As in Baltimore Blues and Charm City, dialogue is on the mark, accompanied by lively observations about female entrepreneurship, adoption, foster home rackets, and quirky Baltimore natives and neighborhoods. A bittersweet, perfectly plausible ending winds things up.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
About the Author
Laura Lippman was a newspaper reporter at the Baltimore Sun for twelve years. Her Tess Monaghan novels -- The Last Place, The Sugar House, Baltimore Blues, Charm City, Butchers Hill, and In Big Trouble -- have won the Edgar, Agatha, Shamus, Anthony, and Nero Wolfe Awards, and In a Strange City was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. She is also the author of the critically acclaimed novel Every Secret Thing. Lippman lives in Baltimore, Maryland.
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Top Customer Reviews
First and foremost, this is a very urban tale and not about the pretty side of city life. The book revolves around Tess' first two clients at her new office. What start out as simple cases to locate missing persons quickly grow complicated and intertwined. Tess is thrown into the world of urban foster care issues. The plotting is strong and I found myself thinking about the book between chapters.
My jury is still out on this series. The Baltimore setting doesn't do much for me - it's pretty bleak through Tess' eyes. Tess doesn't stand out among her peers in the female P.I. land. Kinsey and V.I. have been doing similar stuff for a long time. Of the new generation, I'd rather read Evanovich's Stephanie Plum who seems genuinely orginal (and funny).
Bottom-line: Still not sure what the fuss is about concerning Lippman. A perfectly adequate read but nothing outstanding. Reading of previous books in the series (Baltimore Blues and Charm City) is helpful but not essential.
Nice touch with the convict's dictionary-derived pedantry; I wish it had been carried further (in Charm City Laura did a similar thing with Spike's assistant's forming statements as questions).
One caveat for the author: the heroine's family/friend environment is starting to resemble a Tom Clancylike picture of social palatability, albeit with an NPR-approved, nineties urbanite twist. Sigh. I mean, what's next? Kitty becomes a lesbian and finally can enjoy a meaningful relationship? There might be more dimension in revealing the humanity of one who is politically anathema to the author. Readers should check out NYC journalist Sparkle Hayter's wacky mysteries. Though I prefer Baltimore!
However, the witnesses to the Butcher's crime start getting killed. Tess wonders if she has abetted her client whose reparation might really be revenge. As she investigates what is going on, Tess finds herself butting heads with a system whose victims are the children it allegedly was set up to help.
BUTCHER'S HILL, the third novel in the Monaghan mysteries, proves that three is the charm as it is as good as the superb first two tales (see BALTIMORE BLUES and CHARM CITY). The dialogue, especially on race relations, is some of the most realistic and believable to grace a mystery in years. Tess is a terrific character and the city of Baltimore adds a special flavor as used by the talented Laura Lippman. This trio of novels is top rate, enjoyable literature that fans of female sleuths need to read.
I recently had the opportunity to meet Laura Lippman when she came around to the local library to talk to her fans. She's also an interesting character.
Most recent customer reviews
Lippman's writing continues to improve. She does a wonderful job of letting her characters age and learn from life, and the actual "mystery" is better than the two... Read morePublished on Sept. 6 2001 by Kristin Brown
what else is there to say. i'd like to be kind, but give me a break. this is a stinking book and a waste of time. to think that this thing won an award. Geez! Read morePublished on June 8 2001 by doggylad
If you like your mysteries to be more than the cozy, sicky sweet variety, this series is for you. I don't understand about the previous reviewer's reference to bias. Read morePublished on April 30 2001
My favorite character in the Tess series is Baltimore. Lippman carefully maps out a city every bit as complex as any of the human characters. Read morePublished on July 5 2000 by V.T. Too
Is it my imagination, or are my favorite paperback authors writing faster while the books get weaker? Read morePublished on June 13 2000
After reading over half of this book I was wondering why keep going. I thought this award winning book would get much better. It did not.Published on May 31 2000 by Harold
Why did this book receive an Agatha Award? This is certainly not great writing. I can think of many writers whose least effort outclasses this work- Colin Dexter, Ross MacDonald,... Read morePublished on May 14 2000
This book presents an uninteresting, unrealistic and poorly developed story with shallow and transparent characters. The story line seems driven by a political point of view. Read morePublished on Feb. 5 2000