Baltimore Blues by Laura Lippman
Unemployed at 29, Tess Monaghan is 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 every day, attorney Michael Abramowitz’s death should be just another statistic.
But the slain lawyer’s notoriety – and his noontime trysts with Rock’s fiancée – make the case front page news…and point to Rock as the likely murderer.
But trying to prove her friend’s innocence could prove costly to Tess.
Review by Debbie:
When I want a “who done it,” I generally gravitate towards British authors. Americans usually have too much … something: gratuitous vulgarity or sex or violence or all of the above. The heroines in such novels always seem to make a habit of doing the same remarkably stupid thing over and over.
“Gosh. The last time I went out alone investigating a dark and lonely warehouse, I almost died! Well…things like that never happen twice!” And they do. I was most impressed with this book. It was guilty of none of the above.
Personally, I can’t help but love an author that can manage to use the word “penultimate” in the very earliest chapters of a story. That sort of thing suggests a deep appreciation for the possibilities of language, a true writer.
I enjoyed listening. The action was well-balanced. I almost didn’t know who did it until it was revealed. The city of Baltimore is treated as another character in the story, which is a nice touch. I have no criticisms of the narrator. I believe I’ll go get book #2 now.
Review by Kathi:
When I started listening to this book, it initially seemed rather ordinary–okay, but nothing special. But as I continued listening, the story and narrator both seemed to hit their pace, and I think it became quite good. Tess is an out of work reporter, who goes rowing with her friend “Rock” every morning.
One day he asks her to spy on his fiancee, who is worrying him with her strange behaviors. Tess agrees to do that, and finds herself discovering more than she bargained for. In this book, she begins to develop skills that appear to be positioning her to become a full time private eye in future stories. I would say that even though it was a little slow in the beginning, the narration and story both proved to be excellent, and I look forward to reading the next in the series.
I was, at first, a little off-put by the narrator’s stressing of native words like “Balmer” (for Baltimore)–which is accurate, but not so obvious in ordinary conversation. But even that got toned down by about the middle of the book. Strongly recommend.