RogerBW's Blog

The Girl in the Green Raincoat, Laura Lippman 23 September 2014

Novella; eleventh in Lippman's contemporary mystery series about Tess Monaghan, private investigator in Baltimore. Restricted to bed thanks to difficulties with her pregnancy, Tess passes the time watching people in the park outside, particularly a young woman in a green coat (with a greyhound in a matching one). One day, the greyhound passes by on its own…

This book is an interesting example of what a series entry can be. Significant characters are introduced and described, all right, but without the weight of the ten previous books behind them they would have much less impact. This definitely isn't the place to start with this series, but if you have read the others (which I did in 2010) it's a pleasing capstone to what's gone before.

Similarly, Lippman grew up and lives in Baltimore – David Simon is her husband, and I discovered her writing while watching The Wire – but the love for the city and the sense of place that have always come over in the full-length books aren't as present here. This feels in some ways like a technical exercise, an explicit homage to Rear Window and The Daughter of Time.

The mystery plot develops along conventional lines: the woman's husband is curiously unconcerned about her absence, and investigation reveals that he's had two previous marriages, each of which ended with the wife's death. Although she doesn't have a paying client, Tess becomes suspicious, and enlists her friends and employees to do the legwork she can't. The resolution, while consistent with what's gone before, isn't really foreshadowed, so I can't recommend this to pure puzzle-story fans.

Even so, the primary purpose of this book is to give us a look at a well-liked protagonist going through life-changing events, and it does that well. It's not the end of the series, but it would have been a satisfying one if it had been.

To be followed by Hush in 2015.

[Buy this at Amazon] and help support the blog.

Comments on this post are now closed. If you have particular grounds for adding a late comment, comment on a more recent post quoting the URL of this one.

Search
Archive
Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio tech base commerce battletech beer boardgaming bookmonth chain of command children chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 existential risk falklands war fandom fantasy film firefly first world war flash point food garmin drive gazebo geodata gurps gurps 101 harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo-nebula reread in brief avoid instrumented life kickstarter learn to play leaving earth linux mecha museum mystery naval non-fiction one for the brow opera perl photography podcast politics powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha quantum rail ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel vietnam war war wargaming weather wives and sweethearts writing about writing x-wing young adult
Special All book reviews, All film reviews
Produced by aikakirja v0.1