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Sugar House Mass Market Paperback – Jul 12 2001


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Amazon.ca First Novel Award - 6 Canadian Novels Make the Shortlist



Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Avon; Reprint edition (July 12 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380810220
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380810222
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 2.4 x 17.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 200 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,310,515 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

If you haven't encountered Tess Monaghan, the strong-willed former reporter turned PI who stars in Laura Lippman's increasingly popular series, it may be because this is her first appearance in hardcover. But this deftly plotted mystery may change all that and bring Lippman, herself a Baltimore journalist, and Tess, her curious and likable heroine, the attention they deserve. When Tess's dad asks her to do a favor for a friend, Tess gets involved in tracking down the identity of a nameless girl whose killer, the friend's brother, was murdered himself shortly after he went to prison for the crime. Her search leads Tess in and out of parts of the Atlantic coast that tourists, and many natives, never see: to a clinic for the rich, young and anorexic on Maryland's Eastern Shore; to the Philadelphia Main Line; and inside the corrupt and clandestine corners of the Maryland state capitol in Annapolis. The more Tess learns, the more questions she has, and the most important ones have to do with her father's involvement in the mystery of the anonymous victim and how she died.

The subtext of this well-written, richly rendered thriller is Tess's confrontation with her own values and her struggle to accept her father's compromises with his. There's also a sexy love story with Tess's boyfriend, who's nearly too good to be true, and a lively gal pal, the wealthy and loyal Whitney, whose own talents are equally impressive. The author is good at developing multidimensional characters, the minor ones as well as the majors. And once your appetite is whetted by The Sugar House, you'll want to track down Tess's earlier adventures in Lippman's (paper) backlist, beginning with Baltimore Blues. --Jane Adams --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Glue-sniffing teen Henry Dembrow goes to prison after confessing to killing a young Jane Doe found with a small rubber hose tied in a bow around her neck. A month later he, too, is dead. Coincidence? Ruthie Dembrow, Henry's sister, has her doubts and asks former Baltimore reporter Tess Monaghan, the heroine of this first (and first-rate) hardcover in a justly acclaimed series, to investigate. Tess agrees only because her father, Patrick, says he owes Ruthie one. Going over the facts of the crime, Tess realizes that she needs to identify the victim and to learn how the victim came to know her alleged killer. On the home front, Patrick's disapproval of her current love, Crow, strains their relationship. Edgar and Agatha winner Lippman (Charm City; In Big Trouble), a feature writer for the Baltimore Sun, really knows her town. She takes Tess far from the tourist stops into crumbling, neglected parts of the historic port city and beyond. Annapolis, a questionable clinic on the Eastern Shore and Philadelphia all figure in Tess's struggle to uncover the connections between a sordid killing and the pursuit of wealth and power in the state capital. As she digs deeper with assists from her wealthy pal, Whitney, major players begin to squirm and lives and reputations are in danger, including her own. Far from perfect, Tess finds she must carefully consider the compromises others have made for good or ill while not straying too far from her own principles. Nobody gets away clean, but some scores are settled, which at times has to be enough. (Sept.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Format: Hardcover
This novel has a well developed plot including all the sins people might commit. The setting is present day Locust Point, Baltimore, with side excursions to nearby areas. Political corruption extends down through the social structure, and sets off chains of events - "damage control" can sometimes cause greater damage.
Tess Monaghan opens a can of worms when she investigates the death of a Jane Doe, a young woman of indeterminate age (an apparent runaway) who was accidentally killed in an encounter with a local glue sniffer. People in power had quietly buried the case but, to quote the Bible, "your sins will find you out." Identifying the woman implicates a wide variety of individuals who have committed (or are commiting) an assortment of crimes.
Tess can be tenacious, and don't get on her wrong side as she believes in retribution. She can be devious, and may blindside you when you aren't looking.
There are some scattered instances of bad proofreading in the novel (I am looking at a first edition), but those are the fault of the publisher.
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Format: Hardcover
The Sugar House starts out with Tess trying to help a friend of her father's find out why her brother was killed in prision. This involves finding out who her brother killed to wind up in prision. Thus, Tess has to solve a Jane Doe murder. The only problem is that no one knows who this girl is or where she even came from. But determined to help her father, Tess starts out. With the help of her frind Whittney and her boyfriend Crowe she manages to track the girl to an exclusive eating disorder's clinic. Where she has to "fall overboard" to even get to talk to the patients.
As Tess digs deeper in the mystery all sorts of others don't want her too. She ends up getting shot at and her parent's house being burnt down. All to save a certain someone the embarrasement of losing his distinguished career.
I found the book a little hard to get into, but after about 100 pages it went really fast and the ending shocked me! It is a very good read and Tess is so much like your next door neighbor it is almost scary.
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Format: Hardcover
Tess Monaghan is a blue collar woman in Baltimore, the ultimate blue collar city. She agrees to take a case for a friend of her father's--trying to find out why the friend's brother died in prison. Her investigation leads her into both the upper reaches of society and down to a strange underworld of prostitution, unethical centers for treatment of eating disorders, and crooked politicians.
Laura Lippman has surrounded Tess with a charming assortment of friends and family members. Their obvious affection for Tess makes her more compelling to the reader. As Tess steps more and more deeply into danger, you'll find yourself turning the pages faster and faster. The mystery is well crafted and Lippman dangles clues, one by one, leaving the reader like Tess certain that there is a way of connecting them without actually able to do it.
This book is especially popular in Maryland which is great--as a longtime resident of Maryland I felt at home reading it--but it is far to good to be missed out on by the rest of us.
THE SUGAR HOUSE may be the best mystery you read this year.
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Format: Hardcover
One of the many charming aspects of Baltimore City is the harbor view of the "Domino Sugars" neon sign that stands outlike an icon over the inner harbor. Most real Baltimoreans would not dream of buying any other brand of granulated sugar. It is perceived as a local product.
Laura Lippman, who is rapidly becoming another Baltimore icon, has hit another home run with her latest book, "Sugar House". I read it cover to cover in one long day. And while it was rather pricey for a one day read, it was excellent. It amuses me that she persists in referring to "The Sun" as the "Daily Blight". There are those locally who view our world famous newspaper as a blight. The sites and scenes she describes are vividly accurate especially the descriptive detail of the "Locust Point" neighborhood and the pinnacle of that area, "Fort McHenry" where the "Star Spangled Banner" was born during the War of 1812.
The incidence of illegal pay phones is as real in Baltimore as it most likely is in other urban centers around the nation. The problem of eating disorders is genuine and overshadowed only by the lack of something to eat that so many more suffer. Homelessness and poverty are even more noticeable throughout the city than is bulemia and anorexia nervosa.
I strongly recommend "Sugar House" to any and all mystery fans. For Baltimoreans and Marylanders, it is a "must read." Read all of her books, for sure.
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By Harriet Klausner on Aug. 23 2000
Format: Hardcover
In Baltimore, like many cities, it is not always one's abilities but whom you know that earns a person a job filled with perks and privileges. City native, private detective Tess Monaghan knows that first hand because her well connected father toils as a state liquor board inspector. That might bother some people, but not Tess who remains close to her father.

Her father asks Tess to take on the case of Ruthie Dembrow, a woman who believes that the family of her sibling's victim assassinated him in jail. Tess starts by trying to identify the Jane Doe Henry killed since the deceased's fingerprints were not on file and no missing person's report matched. After intensive legwork, she concludes that the dead woman is Gwen Schiller, daughter of a wealthy, prominent family. However, the Schillers are unaware that Gwen is dead, making it more evident that her client's brother was killed in just another jailhouse incident. Tess still has some unanswered questions that will soon place her in the unenviable position of scrutinizing people she cares about and probably will hurt.

Laura Lippman's love for Baltimore comes shining through THE SUGAR HOUSE as the author pays homage to her city. The fascinating mystery contains many red herrings and false trails that compel readers to continue the novel until the plot answers all the questions. This hardcover debut continues the standard of excellence that the author established with her first novel but the scope has widened to appeal to a mainstream audience.

Harriet Klausner
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