What the Dead Know and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

Vous voulez voir cette page en français ? Cliquez ici.


or
Sign in to turn on 1-Click ordering.
or
Amazon Prime Free Trial required. Sign up when you check out. Learn More
More Buying Choices
Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Start reading What the Dead Know on your Kindle in under a minute.

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

What The Dead Know: A Novel [Paperback]

Laura Lippman
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 18.50
Price: CDN$ 13.36 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
You Save: CDN$ 5.14 (28%)
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
Only 1 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.ca. Gift-wrap available.
Want it delivered Tuesday, April 22? Choose One-Day Shipping at checkout.

Formats

Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition --  
Hardcover CDN $18.87  
Paperback CDN $13.36  
Mass Market Paperback --  
Audio, CD, Audiobook CDN $32.75  

Book Description

Feb. 2 2009
One of the most acclaimed and honored writers in the field of crime fiction, Laura Lippman offers readers a gripping tale of deception and delusion, of family wounds and betrayals.

Thirty years ago, the Bethany girls, ages eleven and fifteen, disappeared from a Baltimore shopping mall. They never returned, their bodies were never recovered, and only painful questions remain. Now, in the aftermath of a rush-hour hit-and-run accident, a clearly disoriented woman is claiming to be Heather, the younger Bethany sister. Not a shred of evidence supports her story, and every lead she reluctantly offers takes the police to another dead end -- a dying, incoherent man; a razed house; a missing grave. But she definitely knows something about that terrible day -- and about the shocking fissures that the tragedy exposed in the foundation of a seemingly solid family.


Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought


Product Details


Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Edgar-winner Lippman, author of the Tess Monaghan mystery series (No Good Deeds, etc.), shows she's as good as Peter Abrahams and other A-list thriller writers with this outstanding stand-alone. A driver who flees a car accident on a Maryland highway breathes new life into a 30-year-old mystery—the disappearance of the young Bethany sisters at a shopping mall—after she later tells the police she's one of the missing girls. As soon as the mystery woman drops that bombshell, she clams up, placing the new lead detective, Kevin Infante, in a bind, as he struggles to gain her trust while exploring the odd holes in her story. Deftly moving between past and present, Lippman presents the last day both sisters, Sunny and Heather, were seen alive from a variety of perspectives. Subtle clues point to the surprising but plausible solution of the crime and the identity of the mystery woman. Lippman, who has also won Shamus, Agatha, Anthony and Nero Wolfe awards, should gain many new fans with this superb effort. 9-city author tour. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School–After fleeing a car accident, a middle-aged woman with no ID is questioned by both the police and hospital administration. Refusing to reveal her identity (and proof of health insurance), she instead hints that she is the younger of two sisters, Heather and Sunny Bethany, who disappeared the day before Easter in 1975. This gets everyone's attention. She knows both too much and not enough about the case, leading Baltimore police on wild goose chases to Pennsylvania and Georgia, saying just enough to stay out of jail and keep them interested, albeit suspicious. The narrative threads unravel into the various accounts of that Saturday's events, the aftermath of the disappearance, the investigation, and Heather's own increasingly desperate attempts to evade further disclosure. This novel is a page-turner. Tantalizing revelations are dropped at chapter ends before veering into another part of the narrative, back and forth in time. Characters are well defined and varied, each with a different perspective on the nature of grief. Ultimately, after all of the half-truths and deceptions are played out, unexpected but moving forgiveness wins out.–Jenny Gasset, Orange County Public Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A well-written and intelligent whodunit Oct. 27 2007
Format:Paperback
I was sucked in by the intriguing opening and good writing. Good to the last page.
Was this review helpful to you?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A STORY THAT HAUNTS March 20 2007
By Gail Cooke TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
On Easter weekend in 1975 two sisters disappeared. Eleven year old Heather Bethany and her 15-year-old sister, Sunny, had gone to the mall, Security Mall, and vanished without a trace although there would be rumors, "...sightings of the girls as far away as Georgia, bogus ransom demands, fears of cults and counterculturists. After all, Patty Hearst had been taken just the year before. Kidnapping was big in the seventies."

Time passes, some thirty years, and a woman flees the scene of a traffic accident. Later she's found wandering, apparently deranged, without any money or identification. She's taken to St. Agnes Hospital, checked in as a Jane Doe because if she knows who she is she refuses to say.

Thus begins Edgar Award winning author Laura Lippman's riveting story about a family, once a strong, loving unit or were they?

Detective Kevin Infante is dispatched to the hospital to question the mysterious woman. He doesn't go eagerly as Infante is a tough cop, cynical, a memorable character who views the world and many of its inhabitants with a jaundiced eye. When the woman still refuses to speak his solution is to send her to jail.

Kay Sullivan, the social worker at St. Agnes, is the one person who befriends the woman, and when the woman says, "I'm going to say a name. It's a name you'll know," Kay is convinced Heather Bethany has surfaced after some three decades. But Infante doesn't believe this for a minute.

How to prove whether she is Heather or not? The police decide finding the mother of the Bethany girls is their only hope. But, would a mother recognize her daughter after this length of time?
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing! Sept. 6 2009
By I LOVE BOOKS TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is a truly engaging read, starting off a bit slowly, but definitely intriguingly.

A short synopsis: Baltimore, 2005. A woman is found leaving the scene of a car accident, without identification and with a few superficial wounds. When questioned by the police, she claims to be "one of the Bethany girls", who had both vanished into thin air some 30 years before from the local shopping mall. At the time, the two sisters were 15 and 11 respectively. Both long presumed dead, nobody quite believes this strange woman, who refuses to get into details but seems to know quite a lot about the case. Could she really be who she claims she is?
After the disappearance all those years ago, the careful investigation, the wrong leads, after the last flicker of hope to find the sisters alive had faded away, it seems impossible that one of the girls has resurfaced. And where is the other sister? What on earth happened? This and many other questions will keep the reader on the alert.
We are taken back and forth from the time of the disappearance to the present day, through the eyes of the various main characters, including the girls' parents, shattered and overwhelmed by the tragedy.

This is not an edge-of-the-seat mystery novel, but it is a pager-turner nonetheless. I think that the author's ability to make the reader as frustrated with the identity of this woman as I was, combined with important revelations that keep coming up when you least expect it (so much so that more than once I had to re-read a passage for I could not believe I read it correctly the first time) well, Ms. Lippman's technique speaks for itself. Intriguing and engaging up until the end, well done! My rating: 4.5 stars.
Was this review helpful to you?
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Overly Contrived Story April 21 2007
By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Two sisters head for the mall on an afternoon. They disappear. Thirty years later, a woman runs from a traffic accident and tells a police officer that she's one of the missing sisters. That sounds like a great premise doesn't it? Actually, the premise is the only great thing about this book. What the Dead Know quickly goes downhill after the opening sequences.

For me, a suspense novel doesn't work unless the tension realistically simulates what might have occurred. As I read this story, I realized that Ms. Lippman had to go to great lengths with her assumptions in order to make the plot work. When I realized how contrived the story was, I lost interest. I felt like I had been conned rather than entertained.

I won't point out all of the extreme contrivances (I don't want to spoil the story), but here are a few to think about:

How many pairs of sisters aged 11 and 15 haven't had any cavities or broken bones?

How many times have two similar-appearing sisters been adopted into the same family?

How likely is it that a child wouldn't ever contact her parents after having problems?

Here's what I think really happened with this book. Ms. Lippman remembered the dual disappearances of the Lyons sisters from around Wheaton Plaza in 1975 (as she discloses in the Author's Note) and wanted to make up a story that could explain such an occurrence.

If that's what happened, that's a disservice to the Lyons family and to Ms. Lippman's readers. It would have been better to write a nonfiction book about the Lyons tragedy . . . or to write a more plausible novel based on another story idea.

I also didn't find the characters to be especially interesting or sympathetic. Further, much of the back story wasn't very relevant or interesting either.

So why did I decide to read this book? I read good reviews about it.

I recommend you skip What the Dead Know.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  456 reviews
190 of 202 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What Laura Lippman Knows March 15 2007
By Tom S. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is one of the finest suspense novels I've read in years. Lippman is always terrific, whether she is writing her Edgar-winning Tess Monaghan series or stand-alone crime novels, but this book is exceptional, even by her high standards. Inspired by an actual incident, WHAT THE DEAD KNOW is a brilliant examination of old crimes and their present consequences.

In 1975, two teenage sisters disappeared from a Baltimore shopping mall, and their fate was never determined. Now, thirty years later, an emotionally unstable woman claims to be one of the missing sisters. Her story has a lot of holes in it, and the search is on for the truth of what happened on that long-ago day. Lippman brings just the right Gothic/Noir touches to her masterful tale, slowly building the tension until it is almost unbearable. Don't miss this haunting, beautifully written novel. Highly recommended.
68 of 71 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Almost but not quite Aug. 29 2007
By Bookphile - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
There's no question in my mind that Lippman is a very talented author. This book grabbed me pretty much right from the beginning and I could hardly wait for her to dole out the bits and pieces of information that led to the big picture of the whole story. However, while the pacing was good and her characters were very vivid, I did not care for the ending and didn't find it all that realistic.

The character who stood out the most for me was Heather. Though she is ostensibly the victim, she is not a sympathetic character. She's such a narcissist that I was really turned off by her. I found it feasible that someone who'd been through such an ordeal could emerge with this type of psychology but I found Heather really appalling and distasteful at times. This was actually rather refreshing to me and I think it gave the story more resonance than a tearful, weepy, and really "victimlike" victim would have. She was compelling in a rather creepy way. This considered, though, I didn't find what ultimately happened to her in the end to be convincing.

Another weakness of this novel was that the police seemed to me to be a bit stereotypically portrayed. Kevin was far too much of a two-dimensional character and, for that reason, I didn't find him very interesting. The womanizing policeman with a history of failed marriages has been done to death and it would have been more interesting to me had Kevin been more unexpected. Lippman does deliver somewhat with Kevin's female ex-partner but this character doesn't get a lot of pages, which is disappointing. I think the novel would have been even better had she been the lead on the case.

The great strength of this novel is the way it leaps from present to past again and then weaves all of the threads of the story into one tapestry. I especially liked reading about Dave and Miriam as the more they were fleshed out, the more compelling I found the overall story. I found this akin to my own experiences growing up, as I came to realize that my parents were more than just Mom and Dad, they were people too. Dave and Miriam are complex, as is the structure of their marriage, and it was fascinating to read their thoughts on how their own actions and choices may or may not have influenced what happened to their daughters.

Overall, I liked this work and would like to read more of Lippman's but I didn't find it quite worth of the high praise that I've seen lavished upon it.
108 of 120 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A STORY THAT HAUNTS March 20 2007
By Gail Cooke - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
On Easter weekend in 1975 two sisters disappeared. Eleven year old Heather Bethany and her 15-year-old sister, Sunny, had gone to the mall, Security Mall, and vanished without a trace although there would be rumors, "...sightings of the girls as far away as Georgia, bogus ransom demands, fears of cults and counterculturists. After all, Patty Hearst had been taken just the year before. Kidnapping was big in the seventies."

Time passes, some thirty years, and a woman flees the scene of a traffic accident. Later she's found wandering, apparently deranged, without any money or identification. She's taken to St. Agnes Hospital, checked in as a Jane Doe because if she knows who she is she refuses to say.

Thus begins Edgar Award winning author Laura Lippman's riveting story about a family, once a strong, loving unit or were they?

Detective Kevin Infante is dispatched to the hospital to question the mysterious woman. He doesn't go eagerly as Infante is a tough cop, cynical, a memorable character who views the world and many of its inhabitants with a jaundiced eye. When the woman still refuses to speak his solution is to send her to jail.

Kay Sullivan, the social worker at St. Agnes, is the one person who befriends the woman, and when the woman says, "I'm going to say a name. It's a name you'll know," Kay is convinced Heather Bethany has surfaced after some three decades. But Infante doesn't believe this for a minute.

How to prove whether she is Heather or not? The police decide finding the mother of the Bethany girls is their only hope. But, would a mother recognize her daughter after this length of time?

Lippman who was a news reporter at the Baltimore Sun again sets her story in Baltimore, a city she obviously loves and knows well. Her narrative is meticulously crafted, moving in time from the day the girls disappeared to the present time. As scenes change readers are made aware of what the parents went through following the loss of their daughters, their attempts to cope and the final impact on them.

This author creates some of the most vivid characters to be found on a page, and again presents a story that haunts.

Highly recommended.

- Gail Cooke
45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning! April 18 2007
By nobizinfla - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
In "What the Dead Know," Laura Lippman displays her literary flair and stylistic genius in a tightly woven, hypnotic, highly intelligent adventure.

In 1975, two sisters vanished without a trace from a Baltimore mall. It was a dead end crime---no reliable witnesses, no clues, no leads, no hope.

Thirty years later a hit and run driver (with no ID) claims to be Heather Bethany (one of the sisters).

She has knowledge that only the sisters would have. As the story shifts between the decades, between fact and fiction, between imposter and the genuine article; detective Kevin Infante (a wonderful character) feels something about "Heather's" story is out of kilter.

The skeptical Infante is unconventional and uses good old-fashioned shoe leather to track down clues, hunches and intuition. His efforts lead him to believe Heather may be one a half dozen identities---or maybe all of them, or none of them.

The three-dimensional characters are caught up in loss, redemption, scrambled identities, in this evocative tale of intrigue.

Filled with pop culture touchstones from the different eras, this powerfully suspenseful crime story, seamlessly spooled out from various points of view will leave you sleep deprived.

Laura Lippman is an uncompromising novelist who is dazzling at hiding clues in plain sight. She creates a morass of deception where the details are as important as the narrative.

"What the Dead Know" is subtle, shrewd and so tightly plotted you cannot afford to skip a page.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "World of epilogues" June 3 2008
By Linda Bulger - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
It was a parent's worst nightmare. Sunny and Heather Bethany disappeared from a Baltimore mall in 1975 and no real trace of them was ever found. Now thirty years later a disoriented woman walks away from a motor vehicle accident and claims to be one of the Bethany sisters.

Author Laura Lippman built a story spanning the thirty years, moving back and forth in time and bringing the characters to life. Sunny, fifteen, and Heather, eleven, are realistic and well-delineated. Their parents, Miriam and Dave, survive the loss in very different ways. The present-day mystery woman is abrupt and secretive, not likable and not easy to know. While two of the characters seemed to me to be somewhat stereotyped, the rest had the kind of realistic loose ends that only a good writer can create.

What the Dead Know feels like a novel rather than a suspense novel, if you care to make that distinction. There is a great deal of beautifully written back-story and some readers may think it's extraneous to the plot line, but the narrative conveys a vivid sense of time and place that is its own reward. The bonus I found in this book is the way Lippman wrapped it all together into a surpisingly well-supported ending.

Recently I've read several books in which the narrative moves back and forth along the time line of the story. I'm a little wary of that structure but Lippman handled it beautifully.

I listened to the unabridged CD version of this book and found the performance by Linda Emond to be very effective. While I prefer a book in print, this is one audio presentation I can recommend enthusiastically. I'll definitely be reading more from this fine writer.

Linda Bulger, 2008
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews
ARRAY(0xad94d744)

Look for similar items by category


Feedback