Skip to main content

Baltimore Blues and Charm City by Laura Lippman















Baltimore Blues
was an Ellen Emerson White recommendation I am extremely glad I followed up on. I got it for Christmas and saved it for the work trip to Florida I took last week. I ended up spending seven hours sitting in airports so it was a good thing I had such an engrossing read with me. Although the result was an instant and urgent need to find a bookstore in Orlando (a shockingly difficult task, more on that later) to get my hands on the sequels. Eventually I managed to do this and I've been on a Laura Lippman binge ever since. I'll be reviewing the whole series as I finish them, so I figured I'd combine a couple titles here and there.

Baltimore Blues introduces the reader to Tess Monaghan, former newspaper reporter turned odd-job girl. Tess is a native Baltimorean and the city itself is without a doubt a main character in these novels. Lippman's love for and knowledge of Baltimore saturates every line--a real treat for readers who love ambiance and a real insider look into a city or region. Unemployed Tess is a creature of habit, filling up her time rowing on the Patapsco, eating breakfast at Jimmy's, mooching off her Aunt Kitty, and avoiding dinner with her disapproving, disappointed parents. Danger disrupts Tess' routine when she agrees to unofficially investigate a good friend's fiancee. A simple bout of snooping leads to a full-blown murder case and Tess soon finds herself fighting to clear her friend's name and watch her own back at the same time.

Charm City picks up a few months after the events of Baltimore Blues. Tess is still living above her Aunt Kitty's bookshop, and the endearing musician/bookseller Crow seems to have worn down some of Tess' reservations about a possible relationship. She's even relented enough to accept a job as an apprentice investigator for the curmudgeonly lawyer/rowing instructor Tyner. But this unusually "normal" period doesn't last long, as the editors of the Beacon-Light hire Tess to investigate a case of a reporter undermining the system, publishing a controversial article that was never meant to run. In no time, the subject of the article turns up dead. An apparent suicide. Tess follows the trail through the ranks of the newspaper, convinced the suicide was, in fact, murder. Several secondary characters get some great fleshing out in this second volume, notably Tess' best friend (and crack reporter) Whitney and the always awesome Crow. I am now completely hooked on this series and thrilled to find there are, count them, seven more to go and a brand new installment coming out in March. Bring on the fun.

Comments

  1. Anonymous4:19 PM

    You're reading nine of Lippman's books in a row? That's nine books that are guaranteed good.

    I hope you're also going to read the non-Tess standalones, which are also awesome. Some (okay, most) mystery authors, I don't bother with their non-series books, but Lippman is just so consistently good that I'll read anything she writes.

    Trisha

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yep. I couldn't deny myself the rare pleasure of all of them in a row.

    I'd been wondering how her non-series books were. I'm like you, Trisha. So thanks to your recommendation, I'll definitely pick them up.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

You Might Also Like

Interview with Alexandra Bracken + Brightly Woven Giveaway!

I fell in love with the cover of Alexandra Bracken's debut novel--Brightly Woven--last fall and the scant synopses I could find at the time certainly piqued my interest. After managing to get my hands on an ARC, I found myself surprised and pleased with this unique fantasy. You can read my review here. As the release date approached, I invited Alex to participate in an interview and giveaway here on the site and, despite her crazy busy schedule, she kindly accepted. Enjoy! First things first: When did the idea for Brightly Wovenfirst hit you and what (if anything) did you know right off the bat? I remember the exact moment it hit me—what I was doing, who I was talking to, what song was playing on iTunes.  :)  I had just come back from Winter Break my sophomore year in college and was sitting on my bed chatting with my mom.  Sophomore year was pretty remarkable in terms of the insane weather that we had in Virginia (where I was in school) but it had also been a bizarre year in Arizon…

Friends, Romans, Countrymen, Lend me Your Recs

Guys. We are going on a trip―a trip we have been planning for years. And it is finally happening next week! We're going to visit my parents in France, and we are taking the whole gang. Or rather, all three kids but not the dog. Who I am desperately sad about leaving and really hope he doesn't think we've up and given him to another family and proceed to forget all about us. It's just two weeks. But we've never left him that long before, and I am obviously emotional about it. Have I posted pics of Sodapop here before? I'm not sure that I ever have. Here he is on the day we got him: And here he is now in his natural habitat, which is to say in my library on laundry day: Ahem. 
The actual point of this post is to get your reading recs for the trip! I'm completely torn over which physical books to take with me. Yes, I realize most of my reading will be done on my Kindle by necessity, but I always have to have some physical copies with me. For both safety and I…

Blog Tour Giveaway | An Artless Demise by Anna Lee Huber

Today marks the release of An Artless Demise―the seventh installment in Anna Lee Huber's excellent Lady Darby mystery series. I'm happy to be participating in the blog tour with a giveaway courtesy of Berkley. This is a series I've enjoyed from the very beginning (you can read my review of the first book here). Be sure that Kiera and Gage are well worth your time, particularly if you are a fan of Deanna Raybourn or Tasha Alexander.

ABOUT THE BOOK Kiera’s return to London is anything but mundane after fleeing in infamy more than two years ago. While Kiera expected the whispers and murmurs inspired by her reappearance, she wasn’t prepared to receive a letter of blackmail, threatening to divulge the secrets of her past and implicating her in crimes she didn’t commit. A gang of body snatchers is arrested on suspicion of killing people from the streets and selling the bodies to medical schools, and Kiera is a perfect suspect for their crimes―after all, she was previously married…