New York Magazine

The Accidental Tour Guide

Laura Lippman—novelist, reporter, and Baltimorean—on her city’s many lives and layered literary myths.
Lippman at a union rally in 1996, when she was a reporter at the Baltimore Evening Sun.

LADY IN THE LAKE will be published by William Morrow on July 23.

“BALTIMORE IS A city where they give directions according to what’s not there anymore,” Laura Lippman says, quoting an old newspaper colleague of hers named Linell Smith. Lippman ought to know because she, apart from several years away in her 20s, has spent her entire adulthood in town. She was a reporter for more than a decade at the Baltimore Sun, and in the past 22 years has set 23 crime novels and thrillers in and around the city. Her latest book, Lady in the Lake, takes place mostly downtown in the mid-’60s, and today she and I are headed out to find some places that used to be here.

Baltimore is layered with loss. It was a factory town with aspirations, one that was built to house nearly twice its current population with great civic imagery to match—the Beaux-Arts monuments and crab houses, Pimlico races and rowhouses with white

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