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Baltimore Blues (Tess Monaghan Mysteries) [Mass Market Paperback]

Laura Lippman
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Feb 1997 Tess Monaghan Mysteries (Book 1)

Until her newspaper, The Baltimore Star, crashed, Tess Monaghan was a first-rate reporter who knew her home town intimately - from historic Fort McHenry to the crumbling projects of Cherry Hill. Now gainfully unemployed at 29 she's willing to do 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 lawyer's notoriety, and his trysts with Rock's fiancée, make the case front page news - and make Rock the chief suspect ...

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Avon Books (Feb 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380788756
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380788750
  • Product Dimensions: 17.4 x 10.6 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,171,078 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

In trying to prove a friend's innocence PI Tess Monaghan gets more than she bargained for . . . --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Author

Baltimore Blues: Baltimore's first mystery series?
How is it that Baltimore, which plays host to the NBC show "Homicide," did not have its own mystery series until now? (It has had, however, the 43 Light Street, the romance suspense novels published by Harlequin, and its share of one-time appearances in thrillers.) I don't know. But even if there had been a dozen Baltimore-based books, I would have set my debut here. Baltimore is what I know and what I love. Troubling, tormenting and strangely beautiful. I have lived here, on and off, for 30 years. Unlike my character, Tess Monaghan, I've managed to hold onto my job at the only newspaper in town. But stay tuned. That could change after the next book, "Charm City," comes out next fall. It's about a one-newspaper town, a retired racing greyhound and a story that's too hot not to cool down. And now a bit of Baltimore trivia: Even when H.L. Mencken had New York jobs, such as editing the American Mercury, he kept his home in Baltimore. He always said he couldn't imagine a better place to live. Who am I to argue? Laura Lippman, jroll@erols.com

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
On the last night of Aufust, Tess Monaghan went to the drugstore and bought a composition book-one with a black-and-white marble cover. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Flawed but Readable Series Debut 29 Jan 2008
I have to admit that I don't read very many American mystery/crime writers, and those I do tend to be overwhelmingly male (my two favorites are probably George Pelecanos and Elmore Leonard, just to give you a sense of my taste). And when I have sampled female-written series (Patricia Cornwell and Janet Evanovich are the two that spring to mind), they have utterly failed to connect with me. Nonetheless, Lippman's Tess Monaghan series came highly recommended to me, and the nearby Baltimore setting was a big draw.

This first in the series finds heroine Tess teetering on the brink of 30, and somewhat adrift following the closing down of the newspaper she worked at. She lives in a cheap apartment above her aunt's bookstore, and barely makes ends meet working as a clerk in the store and doing an odd job for an uncle. Her personal life is equally in flux, as she doesn't exactly have a slew of friends, and her love life is vacant, save for the random booty-call by her ex-boyfriend who cheats on his current girlfriend with Tess. The one constant in her life is a daily crack-of-dawn appointment with her racing shell and the Patapsco river.

This daily exercise has led to a friendship with another avid rower, Darryl Paxton. One day he hires her to check up on the activities of his type-A fiancee, and thus Tess embarks on her first session of amateur sleuthing. However, what starts as a fairly simple tailing job turns into a high profile murder case, as the fiancee's high-profile boss at a prestigious law firm has his head bashed in. Darryl is charged with the murder, and Tess is put to work by his defense lawyer as a gopher/investigator.
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By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Baltimore lives in the capable hands of this author. Another in her fine series about a budding P.I. with a host of well-limned, quirky, friends and family, and ex racing greyhound, Esskay. Hired to shadow the fiancee of a friend, Tess decides to manipulate the outcome and thereby meddles where more experienced wouldn't tread. Pandemonium and murder result. Fun, interesting and well worth the price.
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4.0 out of 5 stars a good read 22 Sep 2011
I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more from this author. I read a lot of crime books and this one is one of the better ones.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Sense of Place 11 April 2010
By H. meiehofer VINE VOICE
I admit that I was mainly attracted to this novel by the title. As a big fan of "Homicide" and "The Wire" I was intrigued by a crime novel set in Baltimore.

The great strength of this book is its sense of place; Baltimore. This is not exactly the Baltimore portrayed elsewhere and the writing is not in the same class as Homicide or the Wire. The focus is less on the mean drug dealing streets and more on the corruption of the moneyed and political classes.

Baltimore Blues is a good solid private investigator novel with an attractive central character in Tess Monaghan (Although the obsession with physical exercise is a mite annoying) who shows intelligence, perseverance and bravery in pursuing her quarry.

The plot, whilst convoluted is entirely believable and interesting.

If you like intelligent crime fiction or are just interested in anything to do with Baltimore then this book is for you.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Lame and boring 18 Dec 2009
This was my first Lippman novel and probably my last. It was also the author 's debut novel, hence the 2 stars instead of the 1 it deserved in my opinion. Since she has written so much more since then and with quite some success, guess she must have gotten better. Really it would have been an accomplishment to do worse than this novel reviewed here.
It s a book that is full with flaws of the inexperienced writer. The protagonist of the novel is Tess Monaghan, an extremely unlikeable character who is out of a real job and money. So when her friend Rock asks her to do a bit of surveillance on his fiancee for some cash she quickly accepts. Rapidly, what begins as some snooping around turns to a murder case as the notorious boss of the beautiful fiancee is found murdered. And Rock who admittedly had given the man the beating of his life is naturally the prime suspect. Now, what i found hilarious is that Rock 's defense lawyer hired Tess, a complete amateur to do some investigation in the case such as interviewing possible witnesses on the pretext that she was in debt with Rock for getting him into this mess for crying out loud! And the good lawyer did absolutely nothing apart from rebuking Tess and trying to get his client out on bail so that he could still continue rowing and not get out of shape! Perhaps Lippman here needed reminding that the guy was accused of murder and not of a parking violation! Apart from all these atrocities to the intelligent mind the story is boring and never gets really going. Even the end does not manage to diminish the overall mediocrity. Pehaps the last words should have been "and everybody lived happily ever after" so neatly was everything hurriedly wrapped up. Only point of interest is Tess 's aunt Kitty whom i definitely liked so at least my money wasnt totally wasted.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Don't bother .. 2 May 2009
Like a previous reviewer, I'm a big fan of Elmore Leonard and George P Pelecanos .. their dialogue is sharp, witty and most importantly realistic. Laura Lippman's "heroine" is a contrived, unengaging character and the story was formulaic and cliche ridden.
George P Pelacanos has been quoted at the back of this book describing Lippman as producing "smart, innovative and exciting work" - think he was talking about himself because this book was none of those adjectives. It's not the worst book i've read but it was tiresome and I skipped most of the final part as I didn't care whodunnit !
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars I'll be reading more about Tess
This is the first of Lippman's series about Baltimore based investigator, Tess Monaghan and the first I have read. I'll certainly be reading some of the others now. Read more
Published on 1 July 2012 by David Scott
3.0 out of 5 stars A good read but not memorable
Tess Monaghan is a well developed character and an unlikely Private Investigator. Baltimore is an unusual setting but unfortunately, the book comes over a bit like an episode of... Read more
Published on 6 Dec 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars A cool thriller with a Baltimore Inner Harbor setting.
Ms. Lippman writes some of the most intelligent, funny, strong characters I've read in a long time. The Baltimore setting makes her books a nice answer to her competitor, Lisa... Read more
Published on 20 April 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Ms. Lippman excutes a perfect 10 in her Baltimore thriller
Laura Lippman is truly a great writer and seems to love Baltimore as shown by her Baltimore Blues. If you read this you will understand many of the unknown facets of Baltimore... Read more
Published on 20 Jan 1999
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid writing.
Laura Lippman has an excellent feel for the city of Baltimore and her character Tess Monahgan. I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Read more
Published on 19 Dec 1998
5.0 out of 5 stars You'll love her brave, spunky, flawed heroine.
If you like a mystery with an intriguing protagonist, read Laura Lippman. Her heroine is deliciously flawed, smart, unself-aware, brave and fun, and comes surrounded by an... Read more
Published on 5 April 1998
5.0 out of 5 stars Abrilliant debut and the start of a great series
Laura Lippman
Avon, Feb 1997, $5.99, 290 pp.
Published on 27 Jan 1997
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