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The Sugar House (Tess Monaghan #5) Mass Market Paperback – 2001


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Avon (2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380810220
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380810222
  • Product Dimensions: 17.2 x 10.7 x 2.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 200 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,010,710 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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SOUR BEEF DAY DAWNED CLEAR AND MILD IN BALTImore. Read the first page
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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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