"The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." — Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Girl in the Green Raincoat: A Tess Monaghan Novel by Laura Lippman

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Summary: A pregnant detective on bedrest solves a mystery from her front porch.

This was my first experience with the delightful Tess Monaghan and I'm so happy to meet her. I had read a previous Laura Lippman novel - Life Sentences - and didn't care for it. But Tess Monaghan is prickly, stubborn and thoughtful and I'm planning to start the series from the beginning.

When we meet Tess, she's in the middle of a high-risk (unplanned) pregnancy and is on forced bed rest. She spends her day in bed on her front porch, looking out on her street and sees a woman in a green raincoat walking a greyhound. The girl in the green raincoat is such a fixture in Tess' daily life that when Tess sees the dog running free off his collar, she knows something is wrong.

Tess starts making phone calls and enlisting the help of her friends and discovers that the dog's owner, Carole, is the missing wife of a man who had been married three times before, each marriage ending in death. Aha! Tess thinks and begins a dangerous campaign of uncovering the truth. This is a very short story, but an enjoyable read.

It's silly but one of the things keeping me from rating this five stars is that the book is very specific that the missing woman wears a celery-colored coat and the cover at is a dark green, closer to kelly green. You'd think someone at the publishing company would notice the difference. Yes, I'm particular.

Before kids, my husband and I considered moving to Baltimore, but were discouraged by the fact that the show Homicide: Life on the Streets was based in Baltimore. The mayor of Baltimore at the time was Martin O'Malley, and I'm an O'Malley. Reason enough to move, right?  I'm allergic to she-crab, the most popular dish in all of Baltimore, but after this novel, I absolutely want to visit.

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