(book review) Baltimore Blues by Laura Lippman



No, it’s not my reaction to last night’s Red Sox – Orioles game (although boo to Baltimore!  How do you keep winning against us???)  Baltimore Blues  is the first book in the Tess Monaghan Mysteries series by Laura Lippman, and I am very, very thankful that my mother introduced me to this unlikely sleuth.


Tess Monaghan used to be a reporter.  Then she was downsized, and now she works in her aunt Kitty’s bookstore, does some work on the side for her uncle Donald, and is basically treading water.   Her one passion was writing, and she can’t seem to find anything to do besides be stuck in her rut.  She rows, she exercises, she eats and she sleeps.  And she has an off-again, on-again relationship with a fellow reporter, one who DIDN”T get downsized out of the industry.


Then her friend Rock comes to her with a problem.  His fiancee Ava is hiding something, and he’s not sure what it is.  He asks Tess to help him find out – and he’s willing to pay her to follow Ava to find out.  Tess isn’t a private eye, but she’s willing to try.  And that’s the first thing that gets her in trouble.


Soon, Tess discovers Ava’s got a habit of taking things that don’t belong to her.  Then Ava’s boss, lawyer Michael Abramowitz, ends up dead, and Rock’s the lead suspect.  But there’s more, much more to the story, and Tess shows why she was a good reporter as she starts to hunt it down.  The problem is that she doesn’t know what she’s doing as a private detective, and she very nearly ends up on the hit list.


I liked the writing style and the voices in this.  It was a good, taut story, but it had humor as well.  Tess is a great main character – she’s not perfect, far from it, but she’s human, and she’s a fighter.  I’m waiting for the second novel, Charm City, to come into the library right now.


If you like mysteries, check this one out.

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