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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 could prove costly to Tess -- and add her name to that infamous ever-growing list.

Topics: Women Detectives, Baltimore, Maryland, Series, First in a Series, Unemployment, Friendship, Rowing, Murder, Crime, Suspenseful, Cozy, Sports, and Journalists

Published: HarperCollins on
ISBN: 9780061806612
List price: $9.99
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Enjoyed this one, working on developing a taste for mysterymore
Lippman writes so naturally and easy that it is a pleasure to listen to her story. While the pace is not "hold your breath what happens next", I certainly enjoy the mood and feel of her story as it unrolls. I also enjoyed getting to know the young, more raw version of Tess. Always a dependable read.more
Kind of a fluff read. Tess is a jobless journalist who takes an odd job as an amateur investigator (and decides to try that as a profession by the end of this book). She's a bit more serious and not as much of a failure as the likes of Stephanie Plum, but the book kind of read similar to those.Hooked me enough that I picked up the second one (which is a bit more interesting as a mystery).(x-posted on Goodreads)more
This is the first book in the Tess Monaghan series, and its a series that I've wanted to read for awhile. I liked it, but it has some flaws. I know this is a first book in a series, so I'm sure that the series will get better and stronger with additional books. I really like Tess. She's a 29 year old failed newspaper reporter who finds herself at loose ends career-wise when her rowing buddy gets involved in a murder. Tess wants to help him by finding the real killer so she sets out on a one-woman investigation that gets downright dangerous. I like some of the lesser characters in the book and think that the series holds a lot of promise. I found the book was really slow to start, but about half way through the action and the plot picked up. By the end of the book, I fully believed in Tess and in what she was trying to do and also believed in what she stood for. I look forward to reading my way through the series.more
2.0 starsUnemployed Baltimore reporter Tess Monaghan is willing to take any menial job to pay the rent, even doing snooping for her rowing buddy “Rock” Paxton. But when a high profile attorney is murdered and Rock becomes the prime suspect, Tess is catapulted into an intricate web of lies that is leaving a trail of dead bodies behind it. If she can’t figure out who is at the center of it, Tess might be next.Baltimore Blues is the opening act of Laura Lippman’s crime series featuring Tess Monaghan which now spans eleven volumes. I had serious troubles engaging with this book from the beginning. The plot wasn’t interesting and the writing is very pedestrian. It took a long time for the story to develop and it failed to build any sort of real momentum at any point. There is some interesting dialog along the way, but it isn’t enough to make up for the lack of direction. The story itself really wanders and there are a number of plot holes that kill the believability. Frankly, I was pretty bored throughout the book in spite of it being only 304 pages. Baltimore Blues never really becomes either a crime story or a character story. Ultimately, it lacks any passion for storytelling. If you are looking for a good crime series, I suggest you look elsewhere. There are much better options in the genre.more
Another fun Laura Lippman P.I. whodunit. I really enjoy these. They are relaxing, interesting & fun reads.The main character, Tess Monaghan, ex-reporter turned P.I. is hired by her friend Rock, to tail his girlfriend. She has changed in the last few months and he is worried about her and wants to know why she is spooked. During Tess' investigation she finds that the girlfriend is spending weekly afternoons in a hotel room with her boss. She talks the girlfriend to tell Rock the truth about what has been going on. That very night the boss turns up dead, beaten to death. Looks pretty bad for Rock. He is arrested and charged.The attorney Rock hires in turn hires Tess and while this investigation is ongoing a few more connected murders occur. There are a lot of really interesting characters withing the framework of the story. Twists and turns galore and quite a fun little mystery. I rated Baltimore Blues 4 out of 5 stars and easily recommend it.more
I was in danger of ODing on Nero Wolfe mysteries (this is the week of setting up the book sale—VERY busy!) so I decided to try a new series. This was a “Free Friday” selection last week from Nook and worth the effort to download. It's a first novel in a series that has been going for a while so I'm probably the only mystery fan on LT who hasn't heard of it. I found it very enjoyable, with a neat plot, interesting characters and a surprise (for me) ending. I really could have kicked myself for not figuring out the culprit sooner! I will definitely read the next one when I have a chance to get it.more
Tess is an out of work reporter who sort of falls into the roll of private investigator. She starts by trying to help a friend and ends up in way over her head. She is a smart character though and I enjoyed the way she was portrayed in the book. The book had some great surprises in the plot and I really enjoyed this book.more
Twenty-nine-year-old Tess Monaghan is a laid-off newspaper reporter who hasn’t figured out what she wants to do next. She rows every morning on the Baltimore’s Patapsco River and works part-time in her Aunt Kitty’s bookstore. When her rowing friend Rock hires Tess to see why his fiancé Ava is acting strange, Tess jumps at the chance for the extra income.Unfortunately, it looks to Tess like Ava is seeing someone else on the side. Tess confronts Ava and goads her into confessing to Rock. When that same man is found dead later that night, Rock is the prime suspect. Tess hires on with another rower who is a lawyer, Tyner Gray, to help solve the case.Need we say? Tess proves to be a little too good at her research, and soon her life is in danger as well.Evaluation: I like the characters a lot in this book. Tess’s creative and sexy Aunt Kitty is a lot of fun, and one of the bookstore co-workers, a 23-year-old named “Crow” is a perfect sideman for Kitty and Tess. Tess herself is a little too much of a naïve risk-taker, and suffers from low self-esteem, but the first quality seems to be a sine qua non for female detectives, and the second humanizes Tess and draws us to her side. And being from Maryland, I love the Baltimore setting. I definitely plan to continue with this series!more
Baltimore Blues is the first Tess Monaghan novel filled with lots of twists in an interesting plot. At some parts of the story, it appeared as if too much was happening but they were all beautifully blended into a single case. The location-based out of Baltimore added so much more realism to the story.Tess is a great character. For someone who is doing her first stint as a private investigator, she is awesome. Mostly feisty, sharp and confidant; she transitions seamlessly to a doubting, insecure and emotional friend as situations demands. There were quite a few characters and everyone had a personality that added a lot of value to the plot and the storyline.Baltimore Blues is a very good first novel for the Tess Monaghan series. I liked it and I will probably be reading a lot more or Laura Lippman. Rated a 4 on 5 and I am making a mental note to complete reading the next book at a much faster pace than this one.more
First Line: 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.After her paper, The Baltimore Star, folded, reporter Tess Monaghan endures jobless months by putting in hours of rowing on the river and by putting her faith in the comfort of routine. When her rowing buddy "Rock" Paxton wonders about the change in his fiancee and hires Tess to follow Ava, Tess needs the money so she agrees. Eva is having noontime trysts with another lawyer, Michael Abramowitz, and when Abramowitz turns up dead, all fingers point right to Tess's friend.After reading and enjoying Lippman's standalone hits such as I'd Know You Anywhere and What the Dead Know, reading the first book in her Tess Monaghan series was only natural. After reading Baltimore Blues, I think Lippman could probably find her way around Baltimore blindfolded, and she wrote of the city in a way that made it interesting and intriguing-- and without an over-dependence on street names which can pull me right out of a story.Tess is a multi-faceted character, and not all of the facets are likable. She's bright, she's talented, she's capable, but when she lost her job as a reporter, it seems to have knocked the wind-- and the desire-- right out of her. If she can't have what she wants, she's willing to settle for whatever happens.She has a strong cast of characters around her who truly care for her, and they've been watching her, wondering when in the world she's going to snap out of her funk. To their credit-- and Lippman's-- when they reach the point of no return, they tell Tess a few home truths, but it's done with love. Characterization like that can be tricky, but Lippman does it perfectly.Good plot, good pacing, good setting, good characters? I now know that, whatever Lippman writes, it's Good!more
Given how Lippman draws Tess Monaghan, ex-reporter and private investigator, and especially the loving portrait she renders of Baltimore, it comes as no surprise to read that she was a journalist in that city. The novel has a ring of authenticity about its city and the world of journalism and the law. Tess grew on me--despite the fact--or maybe because of the fact--that she doesn't in the beginning come off as admirable. When the novel opens she's underemployed and amiably mooching off friends--she's had problems finding work since her newspaper closed its doors two years ago. Then a friend hires her to do some informal investigative work and she finds herself involved investigating a murder--and somehow, unlike many a complete-amateur-turns-sleuth Lippman makes it all credible and makes me want to read more of her.more
This book just rates an "ok" from me. It was obvious that the author is a native of Baltimore and a former reporter...I loved how familiar I felt with Baltimore reading the story, even though I've only visited a handful of times, and I recognized with comfort some of the reporter's lingo from my days in the newsroom many moons ago. However, I didn't really fall in love with our bumbling former reporter turned amateur detective, Tess....in fact, I'm not really sure I even like her at all. I found some of the auxiliary characters far more interesting, like Kitty and Crow and Whitney, so I hope the reappear in the next book in the series. I also hope we get a little more from Tess or else this series will end for me at Book 2.This story did have me re-shifting my guess of "whodunnit" several times as I tried to work out the clues, but I HATED the instantaneous, wrapped-in-a-bow ending. I want to feel like reading the last 300 pages mattered, not like I received a one paragraph "thanks but no thanks" rejection letter. We'll see if the second installment can warm my heart to Tess a bit more with perhaps a drop-off-the-cliff ending instead of just a dead end:)more
An enjoyable read, but not a great book. Both the main and secondary characters are complex, well-drawn, and colorful. It is tightly plotted, full of twists that are surprising but seem logical once they are revealed. The mid-1990s Baltimore she so lovingly describes, retaining it's quirky, gritty charm despite it's slide into decay, is a perfect setting for a noir, mystery detective novel. Yet for all these excellent qualities, I felt the story never reached it's full potential. The problem, I think, is that it never developed a sense of why the story really matters, never really created a sense of compelling moral dilemma that the very best novels in this genre do. Oh, we care about the characters, and want to see them come through their adventures intact. But in this book Lippman never convinces you, the way that the greats in the genre like James Lee Burke, Walter Mosley, Raymond Chandler or James Cain (to whom Lippman pays tribute to in this book), that the characters are wresting with fundamental forces within themselves and the world, with good and evil at a broad social if not cosmic level, and that somehow our sense of humanity hinges on the the outcome. I'll probably read more in the Tess Monaghan series for the enjoyable qualities of the genre, but with drastically lowered expectations. In this book at least, Lippman falls way short of what can be done in this genre.more
I listened to this on MP3 and it found it a really good read.Tess Monaghan has been what she calls unemployed since she lost her job as a reporter with the local newspaper when it was taken over although she does work part for Aunt Kitty in her book store and her uncle has her on his payroll too for a few hours per week. She has a casual sexual relationship with Jonathon Ross, who she had been her partner for awhile when they worked on the paper together, but he still comes to visit Tess when the need arises.Tess is a rower and when her fellow rower and mentor Rock is accused of murder she put some of her detective skills to the test to find the real killer - it took quite some doing but she did and learned more than she had expected.more
This is a series I'm glad I started. Tess is a little bit lost in her life, seemingly content to get by working here and there and rowing every morning. She finally finds her purpose again when her rowing friend, Rock, asks her to follow his fiancée. This is one of those mysteries that starts out looking like it will go in one direction, but ends up somewhere completely different. We also find out that Lippman isn't an author who's afraid to make some hard decisions. The setting adds a little bit of extra charm for me personally, because my husband is from the Baltimore area and we go there often. I listened to it on audio, and narrator Deborah Hazlett did a great job of illustrating the native Baltimore accent without being cartoonish about it. I can't believe this is my first Laura Lippman book! She writes right up my alley.more
I feel like I have just met a new friend. She loves books, in fact works part-time in her aunts’ bookstore, and has even been heard to say that she would get married in a library if she could. Her career as a journalist didn’t go far, but she seems to be having better luck with trying her hand as a private investigator.Yes, I am talking about Tess Monaghan, the irresistible heroine of Baltimore Blues, the first in Laura Lippmans’ series featuring Tess and the city of Baltimore.A good solid detective novel that I enjoyed. Her supporting characters are intriguing and interesting, the plot moved along at a steady pace - all in all, a great start to this series.more
First in the Tess Monaghan series about a Baltimore reporter turned private eye. The book is rather slow to get started, but by the end was quite good. Tess is a rower, and her fellow rower and friend, Rocky, is accused of the murder of a high-priced lawyer with a sleazy past. Tess takes on an investigation to get him cleared.more
Tess' rowing buddy wants her to follow his fiance to find out why she's been acting so withdrawn. After following her and seeing her shoplifting and meeting an associate at a hotel, Tess confronts confronts her. The man is murdered and Tess' friend is the prime suspect. The story then goes into the dead man's secrets and the secrets of the fiance.more
Baltimore Blues started out as a paperback and then was released later in a hardcover edition. It has something of a choppy feel to it the way a lot of good paperback novels do. The movement between segments is abrupt at times. The plotting of the book is a bit ragged and the way it ends is problematic as well. Since the book started it's life as a paperback one can almost feel that as the author got near the end of the book she felt like she needed more action to end it with than what would have been a more natural ending. As a result, we end up with one of the characters doing something that is totally out of character. It does give the book an action packed finale, but a quiet ending would have suited this book much better. Tess, the out of work newspaper reporter, is the major plus in this book. She is at loose ends in her life and is having difficulty getting started again. As a character study of Tess the book is at it's best. This is what the ending should have been willing to focus on rather than the completion of the mystery in a guns-a-blazing finish. A quieter ending with Tess confronting the killer would have left the focus on Tess and her development as a detective. The ending does not suck, but it does focus on the action in the book which is not the book's strength. The book's strength is Tess.more
Tess Monaghan, an unemployed ex-reporter, starts investigating the fiancée of a rowing friend as a freelance job to pay the rent. Knowing her hometown of Baltimore, she thinks this is going to be a simple "find out what she's up to" tailing, but it turns into a desperate effort to clear her friend of murder charges. The ensuing investigation gets dangerous and nearly deadly.The characters are entertaining and the story develops into a real page turnerAs a Baltimore native, it was fun to hear of the changes that I remember - Friendship Airport becoming Baltimore Washington International, Hutzlers no longer existing and the building becoming the Department of Human Resources, McCormick plant leaving the city and the smell of cinnamon no longer in air- all this while telling a story that could have been set in any big city but is beautiful set in the Author's hometown. Can't wait for more.more
Tess Monaghan is an unemployed journalist living in Baltimore. She is an avid rower (sculler?) and a creature of habit. One morning one of her rowing buddies asks her to tail his fiancee, who has been remote lately, to see what's going on with her. Tess accepts the mission, learns a couple of interesting things, and takes action. Her buddy is then accused of murdering his fiancee's mentor at her law firm, and of course Tess feels responsible.Tess accepts a proposal to work for her buddy's lawyer, but also does some poking around of her own. Incredibly enough, this gets her into some danger. The denouement is interestingly incomplete.I liked the peeks we got at Tess's family members and would like to see them developed. There's also plenty of room for her to get a job, develop healthy relationships, etc. The writing is enjoyable but nothing special, neither adding to nor detracting from the story. I'll try another at some point.more
I liked the characters; the plot was decent, but not great; but the writing felt very choppy in places. I'm from Baltimore, so I knew the places she was describing, but it still felt like there were some unwritten assumptions being made for us to fill in.more
Hired to follow her friend's fiancee, unemployed journalist Tess Monaghan discovers that the woman is a kleptomaniac and may be having an affair, and when a murder takes place, her friend is implicated.more
Read all 24 reviews

Reviews

Enjoyed this one, working on developing a taste for mysterymore
Lippman writes so naturally and easy that it is a pleasure to listen to her story. While the pace is not "hold your breath what happens next", I certainly enjoy the mood and feel of her story as it unrolls. I also enjoyed getting to know the young, more raw version of Tess. Always a dependable read.more
Kind of a fluff read. Tess is a jobless journalist who takes an odd job as an amateur investigator (and decides to try that as a profession by the end of this book). She's a bit more serious and not as much of a failure as the likes of Stephanie Plum, but the book kind of read similar to those.Hooked me enough that I picked up the second one (which is a bit more interesting as a mystery).(x-posted on Goodreads)more
This is the first book in the Tess Monaghan series, and its a series that I've wanted to read for awhile. I liked it, but it has some flaws. I know this is a first book in a series, so I'm sure that the series will get better and stronger with additional books. I really like Tess. She's a 29 year old failed newspaper reporter who finds herself at loose ends career-wise when her rowing buddy gets involved in a murder. Tess wants to help him by finding the real killer so she sets out on a one-woman investigation that gets downright dangerous. I like some of the lesser characters in the book and think that the series holds a lot of promise. I found the book was really slow to start, but about half way through the action and the plot picked up. By the end of the book, I fully believed in Tess and in what she was trying to do and also believed in what she stood for. I look forward to reading my way through the series.more
2.0 starsUnemployed Baltimore reporter Tess Monaghan is willing to take any menial job to pay the rent, even doing snooping for her rowing buddy “Rock” Paxton. But when a high profile attorney is murdered and Rock becomes the prime suspect, Tess is catapulted into an intricate web of lies that is leaving a trail of dead bodies behind it. If she can’t figure out who is at the center of it, Tess might be next.Baltimore Blues is the opening act of Laura Lippman’s crime series featuring Tess Monaghan which now spans eleven volumes. I had serious troubles engaging with this book from the beginning. The plot wasn’t interesting and the writing is very pedestrian. It took a long time for the story to develop and it failed to build any sort of real momentum at any point. There is some interesting dialog along the way, but it isn’t enough to make up for the lack of direction. The story itself really wanders and there are a number of plot holes that kill the believability. Frankly, I was pretty bored throughout the book in spite of it being only 304 pages. Baltimore Blues never really becomes either a crime story or a character story. Ultimately, it lacks any passion for storytelling. If you are looking for a good crime series, I suggest you look elsewhere. There are much better options in the genre.more
Another fun Laura Lippman P.I. whodunit. I really enjoy these. They are relaxing, interesting & fun reads.The main character, Tess Monaghan, ex-reporter turned P.I. is hired by her friend Rock, to tail his girlfriend. She has changed in the last few months and he is worried about her and wants to know why she is spooked. During Tess' investigation she finds that the girlfriend is spending weekly afternoons in a hotel room with her boss. She talks the girlfriend to tell Rock the truth about what has been going on. That very night the boss turns up dead, beaten to death. Looks pretty bad for Rock. He is arrested and charged.The attorney Rock hires in turn hires Tess and while this investigation is ongoing a few more connected murders occur. There are a lot of really interesting characters withing the framework of the story. Twists and turns galore and quite a fun little mystery. I rated Baltimore Blues 4 out of 5 stars and easily recommend it.more
I was in danger of ODing on Nero Wolfe mysteries (this is the week of setting up the book sale—VERY busy!) so I decided to try a new series. This was a “Free Friday” selection last week from Nook and worth the effort to download. It's a first novel in a series that has been going for a while so I'm probably the only mystery fan on LT who hasn't heard of it. I found it very enjoyable, with a neat plot, interesting characters and a surprise (for me) ending. I really could have kicked myself for not figuring out the culprit sooner! I will definitely read the next one when I have a chance to get it.more
Tess is an out of work reporter who sort of falls into the roll of private investigator. She starts by trying to help a friend and ends up in way over her head. She is a smart character though and I enjoyed the way she was portrayed in the book. The book had some great surprises in the plot and I really enjoyed this book.more
Twenty-nine-year-old Tess Monaghan is a laid-off newspaper reporter who hasn’t figured out what she wants to do next. She rows every morning on the Baltimore’s Patapsco River and works part-time in her Aunt Kitty’s bookstore. When her rowing friend Rock hires Tess to see why his fiancé Ava is acting strange, Tess jumps at the chance for the extra income.Unfortunately, it looks to Tess like Ava is seeing someone else on the side. Tess confronts Ava and goads her into confessing to Rock. When that same man is found dead later that night, Rock is the prime suspect. Tess hires on with another rower who is a lawyer, Tyner Gray, to help solve the case.Need we say? Tess proves to be a little too good at her research, and soon her life is in danger as well.Evaluation: I like the characters a lot in this book. Tess’s creative and sexy Aunt Kitty is a lot of fun, and one of the bookstore co-workers, a 23-year-old named “Crow” is a perfect sideman for Kitty and Tess. Tess herself is a little too much of a naïve risk-taker, and suffers from low self-esteem, but the first quality seems to be a sine qua non for female detectives, and the second humanizes Tess and draws us to her side. And being from Maryland, I love the Baltimore setting. I definitely plan to continue with this series!more
Baltimore Blues is the first Tess Monaghan novel filled with lots of twists in an interesting plot. At some parts of the story, it appeared as if too much was happening but they were all beautifully blended into a single case. The location-based out of Baltimore added so much more realism to the story.Tess is a great character. For someone who is doing her first stint as a private investigator, she is awesome. Mostly feisty, sharp and confidant; she transitions seamlessly to a doubting, insecure and emotional friend as situations demands. There were quite a few characters and everyone had a personality that added a lot of value to the plot and the storyline.Baltimore Blues is a very good first novel for the Tess Monaghan series. I liked it and I will probably be reading a lot more or Laura Lippman. Rated a 4 on 5 and I am making a mental note to complete reading the next book at a much faster pace than this one.more
First Line: 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.After her paper, The Baltimore Star, folded, reporter Tess Monaghan endures jobless months by putting in hours of rowing on the river and by putting her faith in the comfort of routine. When her rowing buddy "Rock" Paxton wonders about the change in his fiancee and hires Tess to follow Ava, Tess needs the money so she agrees. Eva is having noontime trysts with another lawyer, Michael Abramowitz, and when Abramowitz turns up dead, all fingers point right to Tess's friend.After reading and enjoying Lippman's standalone hits such as I'd Know You Anywhere and What the Dead Know, reading the first book in her Tess Monaghan series was only natural. After reading Baltimore Blues, I think Lippman could probably find her way around Baltimore blindfolded, and she wrote of the city in a way that made it interesting and intriguing-- and without an over-dependence on street names which can pull me right out of a story.Tess is a multi-faceted character, and not all of the facets are likable. She's bright, she's talented, she's capable, but when she lost her job as a reporter, it seems to have knocked the wind-- and the desire-- right out of her. If she can't have what she wants, she's willing to settle for whatever happens.She has a strong cast of characters around her who truly care for her, and they've been watching her, wondering when in the world she's going to snap out of her funk. To their credit-- and Lippman's-- when they reach the point of no return, they tell Tess a few home truths, but it's done with love. Characterization like that can be tricky, but Lippman does it perfectly.Good plot, good pacing, good setting, good characters? I now know that, whatever Lippman writes, it's Good!more
Given how Lippman draws Tess Monaghan, ex-reporter and private investigator, and especially the loving portrait she renders of Baltimore, it comes as no surprise to read that she was a journalist in that city. The novel has a ring of authenticity about its city and the world of journalism and the law. Tess grew on me--despite the fact--or maybe because of the fact--that she doesn't in the beginning come off as admirable. When the novel opens she's underemployed and amiably mooching off friends--she's had problems finding work since her newspaper closed its doors two years ago. Then a friend hires her to do some informal investigative work and she finds herself involved investigating a murder--and somehow, unlike many a complete-amateur-turns-sleuth Lippman makes it all credible and makes me want to read more of her.more
This book just rates an "ok" from me. It was obvious that the author is a native of Baltimore and a former reporter...I loved how familiar I felt with Baltimore reading the story, even though I've only visited a handful of times, and I recognized with comfort some of the reporter's lingo from my days in the newsroom many moons ago. However, I didn't really fall in love with our bumbling former reporter turned amateur detective, Tess....in fact, I'm not really sure I even like her at all. I found some of the auxiliary characters far more interesting, like Kitty and Crow and Whitney, so I hope the reappear in the next book in the series. I also hope we get a little more from Tess or else this series will end for me at Book 2.This story did have me re-shifting my guess of "whodunnit" several times as I tried to work out the clues, but I HATED the instantaneous, wrapped-in-a-bow ending. I want to feel like reading the last 300 pages mattered, not like I received a one paragraph "thanks but no thanks" rejection letter. We'll see if the second installment can warm my heart to Tess a bit more with perhaps a drop-off-the-cliff ending instead of just a dead end:)more
An enjoyable read, but not a great book. Both the main and secondary characters are complex, well-drawn, and colorful. It is tightly plotted, full of twists that are surprising but seem logical once they are revealed. The mid-1990s Baltimore she so lovingly describes, retaining it's quirky, gritty charm despite it's slide into decay, is a perfect setting for a noir, mystery detective novel. Yet for all these excellent qualities, I felt the story never reached it's full potential. The problem, I think, is that it never developed a sense of why the story really matters, never really created a sense of compelling moral dilemma that the very best novels in this genre do. Oh, we care about the characters, and want to see them come through their adventures intact. But in this book Lippman never convinces you, the way that the greats in the genre like James Lee Burke, Walter Mosley, Raymond Chandler or James Cain (to whom Lippman pays tribute to in this book), that the characters are wresting with fundamental forces within themselves and the world, with good and evil at a broad social if not cosmic level, and that somehow our sense of humanity hinges on the the outcome. I'll probably read more in the Tess Monaghan series for the enjoyable qualities of the genre, but with drastically lowered expectations. In this book at least, Lippman falls way short of what can be done in this genre.more
I listened to this on MP3 and it found it a really good read.Tess Monaghan has been what she calls unemployed since she lost her job as a reporter with the local newspaper when it was taken over although she does work part for Aunt Kitty in her book store and her uncle has her on his payroll too for a few hours per week. She has a casual sexual relationship with Jonathon Ross, who she had been her partner for awhile when they worked on the paper together, but he still comes to visit Tess when the need arises.Tess is a rower and when her fellow rower and mentor Rock is accused of murder she put some of her detective skills to the test to find the real killer - it took quite some doing but she did and learned more than she had expected.more
This is a series I'm glad I started. Tess is a little bit lost in her life, seemingly content to get by working here and there and rowing every morning. She finally finds her purpose again when her rowing friend, Rock, asks her to follow his fiancée. This is one of those mysteries that starts out looking like it will go in one direction, but ends up somewhere completely different. We also find out that Lippman isn't an author who's afraid to make some hard decisions. The setting adds a little bit of extra charm for me personally, because my husband is from the Baltimore area and we go there often. I listened to it on audio, and narrator Deborah Hazlett did a great job of illustrating the native Baltimore accent without being cartoonish about it. I can't believe this is my first Laura Lippman book! She writes right up my alley.more
I feel like I have just met a new friend. She loves books, in fact works part-time in her aunts’ bookstore, and has even been heard to say that she would get married in a library if she could. Her career as a journalist didn’t go far, but she seems to be having better luck with trying her hand as a private investigator.Yes, I am talking about Tess Monaghan, the irresistible heroine of Baltimore Blues, the first in Laura Lippmans’ series featuring Tess and the city of Baltimore.A good solid detective novel that I enjoyed. Her supporting characters are intriguing and interesting, the plot moved along at a steady pace - all in all, a great start to this series.more
First in the Tess Monaghan series about a Baltimore reporter turned private eye. The book is rather slow to get started, but by the end was quite good. Tess is a rower, and her fellow rower and friend, Rocky, is accused of the murder of a high-priced lawyer with a sleazy past. Tess takes on an investigation to get him cleared.more
Tess' rowing buddy wants her to follow his fiance to find out why she's been acting so withdrawn. After following her and seeing her shoplifting and meeting an associate at a hotel, Tess confronts confronts her. The man is murdered and Tess' friend is the prime suspect. The story then goes into the dead man's secrets and the secrets of the fiance.more
Baltimore Blues started out as a paperback and then was released later in a hardcover edition. It has something of a choppy feel to it the way a lot of good paperback novels do. The movement between segments is abrupt at times. The plotting of the book is a bit ragged and the way it ends is problematic as well. Since the book started it's life as a paperback one can almost feel that as the author got near the end of the book she felt like she needed more action to end it with than what would have been a more natural ending. As a result, we end up with one of the characters doing something that is totally out of character. It does give the book an action packed finale, but a quiet ending would have suited this book much better. Tess, the out of work newspaper reporter, is the major plus in this book. She is at loose ends in her life and is having difficulty getting started again. As a character study of Tess the book is at it's best. This is what the ending should have been willing to focus on rather than the completion of the mystery in a guns-a-blazing finish. A quieter ending with Tess confronting the killer would have left the focus on Tess and her development as a detective. The ending does not suck, but it does focus on the action in the book which is not the book's strength. The book's strength is Tess.more
Tess Monaghan, an unemployed ex-reporter, starts investigating the fiancée of a rowing friend as a freelance job to pay the rent. Knowing her hometown of Baltimore, she thinks this is going to be a simple "find out what she's up to" tailing, but it turns into a desperate effort to clear her friend of murder charges. The ensuing investigation gets dangerous and nearly deadly.The characters are entertaining and the story develops into a real page turnerAs a Baltimore native, it was fun to hear of the changes that I remember - Friendship Airport becoming Baltimore Washington International, Hutzlers no longer existing and the building becoming the Department of Human Resources, McCormick plant leaving the city and the smell of cinnamon no longer in air- all this while telling a story that could have been set in any big city but is beautiful set in the Author's hometown. Can't wait for more.more
Tess Monaghan is an unemployed journalist living in Baltimore. She is an avid rower (sculler?) and a creature of habit. One morning one of her rowing buddies asks her to tail his fiancee, who has been remote lately, to see what's going on with her. Tess accepts the mission, learns a couple of interesting things, and takes action. Her buddy is then accused of murdering his fiancee's mentor at her law firm, and of course Tess feels responsible.Tess accepts a proposal to work for her buddy's lawyer, but also does some poking around of her own. Incredibly enough, this gets her into some danger. The denouement is interestingly incomplete.I liked the peeks we got at Tess's family members and would like to see them developed. There's also plenty of room for her to get a job, develop healthy relationships, etc. The writing is enjoyable but nothing special, neither adding to nor detracting from the story. I'll try another at some point.more
I liked the characters; the plot was decent, but not great; but the writing felt very choppy in places. I'm from Baltimore, so I knew the places she was describing, but it still felt like there were some unwritten assumptions being made for us to fill in.more
Hired to follow her friend's fiancee, unemployed journalist Tess Monaghan discovers that the woman is a kleptomaniac and may be having an affair, and when a murder takes place, her friend is implicated.more
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