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Butchers Hill [Mass Market Paperback]

Laura Lippman
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Award winning urban tale June 25 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Butchers Hill won both the Agatha and Anthony awards for best paperbacks (as well as being nominated for the MacCavity, Edgar and Shamus paperback awards). It's a good book but I suspect some publisher marketing or a weak year for the competition. Butchers Hill is a solid read but hardly earth shattering.
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.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Each novel gets stronger Nov. 21 1998
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Butchers Hill is the best of the series. There are many surprising twists. And well-constructed: I quickly got trapped in the dream of the novel, switching focus as the author placed different lenses of perspective on the "facts" presented to Tess. I also like that Tess herself puts together incorrect suppositions. It's real to life -- unlike, say, Mickey Spillane. Though mystery aficionados might find Tess' humanity a nuisance.
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!
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5.0 out of 5 stars FANTASTIC June 13 1998
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Tess Monaghan feels good about switching careers and officially opening up a private investigator's office in a not so nice address in Baltimore. Her first client is Luther Beale, a man who spent time behind bars for shooting a boy who was vandalizing his car. Luther, known as the "Butcher of Butcher's Hill, hires Tess to locate the kids who witnessed his actions in order to make reparations.
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.

Harriet Klausner
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4.0 out of 5 stars Another strong outing for Laura and for Tess! Dec 24 1998
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I read a series mystery for character, and a character is not interesting if she doesn't grow. With Butcher's Hill, Lippman takes us, and her character, inside the seedy side of Baltimore and adoption politics, and Lippman is a mistress of both. You always feel Baltimore when you read her books. More important, she takes you along with Tess. I love Tess. Lippman's protagonist is delightfully human. Like your little sister, the one you are frustrated with, hope the best for, love, admire, and wish she'd straighten up and find someone decent to love, Tess bumbles and fumbles her way through a life that's wonderfully rich, complex and authentic. Welcome to Baltimore. Welcome to Tess's world. And welcome another Lippman success. I can't wait for the next one!
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By Henry
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the third of the Tess Monaghan books. Mysteries are often filled with cardboard characters and one or two well developed characters. Laura Lippman doesn't work that way. All her characters are imperfect, but then, so are real people. The characters in this, and the other two novels in this series are interesting and have twists and turns in their characteristics that are as amusing as are the twists and turns of the plots. Normally, I don't identify with female protagonists, but Tess is such an interesting person that even a straight guy such as myself enjoys her point of view.
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.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A good third in a series
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 more
Published on Sept. 6 2001 by Kristin Brown
1.0 out of 5 stars this book stinks
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 more
Published on June 8 2001 by doggylad
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book, great series...
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 more
Published on April 30 2001
4.0 out of 5 stars Hard-boiled Baltimore
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 more
Published on July 5 2000 by V.T. Too
3.0 out of 5 stars Weakest in an otherwise good series
Is it my imagination, or are my favorite paperback authors writing faster while the books get weaker? Read more
Published on June 13 2000
1.0 out of 5 stars Let Down in Little Rock
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
1.0 out of 5 stars No Awards for Butchers Hill
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 more
Published on May 14 2000
1.0 out of 5 stars liberal bias
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 more
Published on Feb. 5 2000
3.0 out of 5 stars Slow Starter, but finishes pretty well
It took me a while to start enjoying this book. There are a number of subtle references to current pop culture (commercials, country songs, coffee salons) that feel extraneous to... Read more
Published on Dec 15 1999 by M. Ernst
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