Title: Baltimore Blues (Tess Monaghan Mysteries)
Author: Laura Lippman
Release Date: February 1, 1997
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4 out of 5
Tess Monaghan has been in a funk ever since she was laid off from her job two years ago. While she enjoyed being a reporter, she hasn’t really decided what she wants to do next. However, when a friend of Tess’s becomes the prime suspect in a bloody murder, she finds herself drawn into the case and testing her skills as a private investigator.
I’m a huge fan of Laura Lippman’s standalone novels, so I was eager to give her Tess Monaghan series a try. While her detective novel didn’t provide the same atmospheric experience as What the Dead Know and Every Secret Thing, it was still an engaging and fun read.
I absolutely loved the character of Tess. She was driven, resourceful, and refused to leave any stone unturned when it came to discovering the truth. However, she was also unsure of herself and hesitant to take risks on her own behalf. Since losing her job, Tess had been living in a kind of limbo, waiting for something to happen to her rather than seeking out opportunities. She was stuck in a rut, settling for mediocre when she had the potential to be great.
Having this mystery fall into her lap really changed things for Tess. She realized she didn’t like the person she was becoming, willing to accept handouts rather than get a job and provide for herself. I loved the process of self-discovery in this novel as well as how Tess comes to terms with her life and the person she wants to be.
The mystery in Baltimore Blues was also very well done. Lippman had me guessing from beginning to end. I also liked how much the Baltimore setting played into the book as a whole.
Baltimore Blues was an enjoyable novel and a great start to a series. I will definitely be going back to read the rest of the books to see what Tess Monaghan gets herself into next.