Saturday, May 15, 2010

Baltimore Blues - Book Review

Nick Hornby lightly recommended a later book by Laura Lippman but being the completist that I am, I couldn't just jump right in the middle of her ouvre. That would be wrong. No, I have to begin at the beginning, if at all possible, and in this case it was so the beginning for Lippman and her Tess Monaghan mystery series is Baltimore Blues, which is a pretty good debut. Monaghan is an unemployed reporter who falls into the private investigation business almost by accident and finds she's rather good at it and likes doing it. The mystery? Not such a big deal. Not big twists or turns to be surprised at. The real pleasure to be had is the Baltimore locations and though the book is nearly 15 years old, it doesn't seem too terribly dated.

Lippman, like her protagonist, is a journalist and so knows how to string along a series of sentences to tell a good story. She spends a little too much time slagging on rich folk - they're always the bad guys, aren't they? - and yuppies and their poor taste but what're you gonna do? It's her show and she can do what she wants how she wants to do it and for a first book, this is one of the better ones.

Will I read more in the series? I'm not sure just yet. I've got some other stuff lined up so it'll be a while before I can get back to her but this might be the start of an interesting relationship.

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