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Every Secret Thing [Hardcover]

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

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Book Description

Sep 2003
It is early evening, summer time and hot. Two eleven year old girls, Alice and Ronnie, are on their way home from a swimming party when they happen to see a baby's stroller, with baby girl sleeping inside, left unattended on the top step of a house. Ronnie says to Alice: 'We have to take care of this baby.' But what exactly does she mean? Four days later the body of little Olivia Barnes is discovered in a hut in Baltimore's rambling Leakin Park by a young rookie detective, Nancy Porter. What can have happened in those four days to bring about this appalling crime? The girls are arrested and found guilty. Seven years later Ronnie and Alice, now eighteen, are released from their separate prisons, back into their old neighbourhood where the mother of baby Olivia still lives. Another child goes missing, and Nancy Porter and her partner get the case ...
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 388 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow & Company (Sep 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060506679
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060506674
  • Product Dimensions: 20.6 x 14.2 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,966,254 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


A truly scary thriller by this well-known author, formerly a reporter on the Baltimore Sun. Alice and Ronnie, aged 11, are on their way home in disgrace after Ronnie has hit their hostess, when they see a baby stroller with a baby girl sleeping in it, left without anyone nearby on the top steps of a house. They take the child to look after it, and four days later the child is found dead by a young detective policewoman. The girls are arrested, found guilty and incarcerated. Then, aged 18, they are released from their separate prisons. Another child goes missing and the same detective gets the case. All is not as it seems to be, and the unravelling of what happened makes a brilliantly creepy story with superb characters and a great deal of atmosphere. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

A breathtaking first stand-alone thriller from the acclaimed author of the Tess Monaghan series. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
They were barefoot when they were sent home, their dripping feet leaving prints that evaporated almost instantly, as if they had never been there at all. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
3.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
On a hot July afternoon, two eleven year-old girls are sent home early from a birthday party. One of them, Ronnie, (Veronica Fuller), has been acting out inappropriately - her usual rebellious behavior - thus the banishment. Ronnie is prone to dark moods. Her companion, Alice, (Alice Manning), a shy, chubby girl who is innocent of any misbehavior, has to leave also, so her friend won't have to walk home alone. Actually, Alice doesn't really consider Ronnie a friend. Her mother, Helen, insists that Alice play with Ronnie, at least in the summertime, when Alice's schoolmates from St. William of York are at camp. Helen Manning, a single mom, doesn't have enough money to send Alice away for the summer months, or to continue with her private schooling after grade school. So Alice thinks of Ronnie as a "summertime-only friend," and a fellow "doesn't-have-a-pool-membership girl." Alice is a good girl, she believes, along with almost everyone else. She is very bright, although not anywhere near as creative or as artistic as her mother, which worries her. She so wants to please. Ronnie, on the other hand, comes from a very dysfunctional, working-class family, who scream a lot and steal from each other, and "the parents don't care what their kids watch on TV."
On the way home that July day, Ronnie decides she wants to take a shortcut through a really nice neighborhood, where the houses are fancier and the lawns more spacious. Ronnie spots a baby carriage on the porch of the biggest, prettiest house on the street. The two girls decide that the baby has been left carelessly in the sun and heat too long. The carriage is also too close to the steps and there could be an accident. So they decide to take the baby, to care for her better than her parents are doing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Which of them is telling the truth, if either? 3 Oct 2009
By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER
A good, efficient and well-written murder story by American writer Laura Lippman, this ticks all the right boxes and has an absorbing plot-line. It tackles the issue of children who kill - in this case two 11-year-old girls, sent home early from a party for bad behaviour, find an unattended baby and take her away from what they tell themselves are uncaring parents. When the baby is found dead four days later, the two girls tell conflicting stories about what happened. Which of them, if either, is telling the truth?

Seven years on and the girls, now teenagers, are released from the institutions which have been caring for them. Not long afterwards, a child disappears and the mother of the original murdered baby begins to meddle in the case.

Characterisation is exceptionally good for a crime novel. We learn about the mother of one of the girls, the public defender who acted for her during the trial, the female cop who found the dead baby, a female crime reporter and the baby's mother, among others.

There are elements of racism propounded by some of the characters (the baby was black and her abductors white), though it proves something of a red herring. Women are given a central role in what is normally a male-dominated genrè, though this is not something intrusive. Only after reading the book did it strike me that everyone important to the story was female. Every Secret Thing is a taut, grimly enjoyable crime novel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A real page turner 21 Nov 2003
a baby goes missing and two 11 year old girls serve time and then are released after 7 years. British readers will spot a similarity with a notorious UK case, but Laura Lippmann has created a gripping novel full of interesting characters. Cause, effect , responsibility the innermost feelings of all the characters are mixed into a blend which keeps you turning the pages.
When babies start to go misssing after the girls release you really start to wonder how the book will finish. There are some nice deft surprises and this is one crime novel that ties up all the loose ends.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars missing babies 10 Feb 2008
this book started well, but about half way it lost its way, I then found it quite tedious but wanted to see how it would end so carried on reading, my first Lippman, not sure I would bother with more of her writing
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2 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars My review of "Every secret thing" 2 May 2005
By A Customer
After reading this book I was so glad that I borrowed it from my library,instead of increasing the royalties to the author.
The plot had potential, but was wasted, as halfway through the novel it degenerated into cliched "cop-speak" and totally irrelevant character padding which contributed nothing to the story.
Tedious,demographic heavy,the geographical detail was lost on this reader,as I know nothing about Baltimore City or County.
I raced to the end, eagerly, as I couldn't take much more of this inane,rambling drivel.
Characters appearing and disappearing for no apparent reason.
Endless "insights" into the personalities and histories of what seemed like an eternal cast of journalists,cops and sundry hangers-on.
There is nothing like a well-edited book and this was nothing like etc...
All I will say is that a major character committs suicide and just when I thought it was going somewhere, the ending was seemingly tagged-on, not making an awful lot of sense.
Reading between the lines is one thing, but practically crying from trying to see where the plot has gone is another.
All I can do, dear reader, is to say: there are other,well-written and deserving books,life is too short to bother with this one.
I apologise for any punctuation mistakes or grammatical/spelling errors,as there is only so much one brain can do after spending so much time on a truly DREADFUL book.
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