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Baltimore Blues by Laura Lippman
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Baltimore Blues (1997)

by Laura Lippman

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961419,010 (3.31)93
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Synopsis: Tess Monaghan is an out of work newspaper reporter. She's not looking for a job very hard, but she is continuing her rowing and her other workout schedule. Down at the docks she meets one of her friends who asks her to use her investigative reporting skills to follow his fiance. Her sleuthing leads to him being accused of murdering a local attorney. Subsequently, she's hired by a lawyer to be an actual private investigator. Eventually, Tess uncovers the murderer, but knows that there is more to the story that she cannot ever reveal.
Review: This was an interesting book with a sympathetic main character. I'm ready to follow Tess's continued adventures. ( )
  DrLed | Feb 5, 2017 |
Laura Lippman has written a dozen Tess Monaghan mysteries. I had read a couple of them with pleasure, but I was eager to read the very first in the series, "Baltimore Blues," published in 1997. It reveals how Tess, like Lippman herself a former Baltimore newspaper reporter, becomes a private investigator.

It's not by design. Having lost her reporting job when her newspaper folded, she works part-time in her Aunt Kitty's bookstore and looks around for a new job, maybe a new career. Then her workout buddy Rock offers to pay her to follow his girlfriend, Ava Hill, who has been acting strange lately. It seems like easy work, but Tess's efforts end up getting Rock accused of murdering a lawyer she suspects of having an affair with Ava. Then Rock's lawyer hires Tess to work for the defense team with some investigative work, to play Paul Drake to his Perry Mason.

Tess turns out to be a better detective than she thought at first, although still not good enough to actually solve the case until the killer, thinking she knows more than she actually does, comes after her.

Despite the ending, something of a cliche in detective fiction, Baltimore Blues makes enjoyable reading. The characters, especially Tess Monaghan, are vividly drawn, the story moves at a steady pace and the side stories actually add interest rather than seeming like filler. So I'm glad I sought out "Baltimore Blues." Now I must find a copy of "Charm City." ( )
  hardlyhardy | Nov 21, 2016 |
This was probably more a 2.5 star book, but it helped to know that this was Lippman's first novel. I thought it was pretty clunky, with a few sections that worked very well. I am also not so sure how I feel about Tess (and all the side-kick characters), but I'd give the series another try and read the second. ( )
  mkunruh | Nov 13, 2016 |
Absolutely adored this! I've read Lippman's standalone thrillers but hadn't really been interested in this series thinking it was too cosy for my likes. But I was wrong. It is pretty much an amateur PI cosy but I was hooked right away. I zoomed through the first half of the book just loving getting to know the main characters Tess and her Aunt Kitty. They are very likeable and I'm ready to follow them into book two. The crime was a lot of fun, with a few dead bodies, some other crimes thrown in and an intricate web of putting it all together. I was surprised when the culprit was finally revealed and enjoyed the ride getting there. ( )
  ElizaJane | Sep 24, 2016 |
3.5 stars

I've read a few other books by Laura Lippman, & wanted to go back in her catalog to her first Tess Monaghan book. It's taken almost a year for me to find this in my local used book store. So when I saw it there earlier this week, I snatched it up right away, & dove right in.

This is a really great first novel, & a really great character to grow with. Too often women write about their female leads' flaws with threadbare clichés. Tess is certainly flawed, but there's an honesty here I really connected with. If I had found this when it first came out, I would no doubt have become a fan of Ms Lippman that much sooner. Now I have a whole series to catch up on, & I can't wait. ( )
  LauraCerone | May 26, 2016 |
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Epigraph
Of all escape mechanisms, death is the most efficient.
(H. L. Mencken, "A Book of Burlesques")
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For my parents
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On the last night of August, Tess Monaghan went to the drugstore and bought a composition book - one with a black-and-white marble cover.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0380788756, Mass Market Paperback)

"Courier New"

Until her paper, the BALTIMORE STAR, crashed and burned, Tess Monaghan was a damn good reporter who knew her hometown intimately--from historic Fort McHenry to the crumbling projects of Cherry Hill. Now gainfully unemployed at twenty-nine, she's willing to take any freelance job to pay the rent--including a bit of unorthodox snooping for her rowing buddy, Darryl "Rock" Paxton.

In a city where someone is murdered almost everyday, attorney Michael Abramowitz's death should be just another statistic. But the slain lawyer's notoriety--and his noontime trysts with Rock's fiancee--make the case front page news...and points to Rock as the likely murderer. But trying to prove her friend's innocence couls prove costly to Tess--and add her name to that infamous ever-growing list.

Until her paper, the BALTIMORE STAR, crashed and burned, Tess Monaghan was a damn good reporter who knew her hometown intimately--from historic Fort McHenry to the crumbling projects of Cherry Hill. Now gainfully unemployed at twenty-nine, she's willing to take any freelance job to pay the rent--including a bit of unorthodox snooping for her rowing buddy, Darryl "Rock" Paxton.

In a city where someone is murdered almost everyday, attorney Michael Abramowitz's death should be just another statistic. But the slain lawyer's notoriety--and his noontime trysts with Rock's fiancee--make the case front page news...and points to Rock as the likely murderer. But trying to prove her friend's innocence couls prove costly to Tess--and add her name to that infamous ever-growing list.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:04 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Unemployed journalist Tess Monaghan accepts an assigment from a suspected killer who wold have her engage in unorthodox snooping in orde to clear his name.

» see all 8 descriptions

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