Unemployed at 29, Tess Monaghan is willing to take 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 slain lawyer's notoriety - and his noontime trysts with Rock's fiancée - make the case front page news...and point to Rock as the likely murderer. But trying to prove her friend's innocence could prove costly to Tess.
©1997 Laura Lippman; (P)2008 BBC Audiobooks
Love books! Classics and lighter fiction, mysteries (not too violent please :-). And selective non-fiction--whatever takes my fancy.
When I started listening to this book, it initially seemed rather ordinary--okay, but nothing special. But as I continued listening, the story and narrator both seemed to hit their pace, and I think it became quite good.
Tess is an out of work reporter, who goes rowing with her friend "Rock" every morning. One day he asks her to spy on his fiancee, who is worrying him with her strange behaviors. Tess agrees to do that, and finds herself discovering more than she bargained for.
In this book, she begins to develop skills that appear to be positioning her to become a full time private eye in future stories. I would say that even though it was a little slow in the beginning, the narration and story both proved to be excellent, and I look forward to reading the next in the series.
I was, at first, a little off-put by the narrator's stressing of native words like "Balmer" (for Baltimore)--which is accurate, but not so obvious in ordinary conversation. But even that got toned down by about the middle of the book. Strongly recommend.
Say something about yourself!
Surfing for new books and a Laura Lippman, Tess Monaghan mystery catches my attention. I have been a member since 2009. I have over a thousand books. It is unusual to discover a female detective story I have not read.
Baltimore Blues is a great start to a series. Tess is a well-defined character. We recognize that she has been just exiting for a few years since she lost her job. She is intelligent, lazy, resourceful and a loyal friend. She has come to a point like so many of us that she just does not have the energy to even think about what she wants to do. She is like a two-year-old refusing to see that, it does not matter how long you want something. If it is no longer there, it is just not there.
She has lost her job and cannot find a similar job. She is no longer in a relationship but has accepted being a booty call knowing the man is in a relationship. She accepts this demeaning relationship just as she does the job from her uncle. Unbeknownst to her he paying her from his saving. She has fallen into a rut of just getting by and losing her self-respect in the process. Even when she exercises she is not really committed to the sport. A friend offers her a job, the money is good and the mystery begins.
This first novel does an excellent job of documenting the evolution of Tess from a journalist to freelance investigator. It is a very logical progression for Tess with her skill set. The supporting characters add wit and interest. Tess lives in the small apartment over her aunt’s bookstore. There are only 12 years difference between the age of Tess and her aunt. They have a friendship while maintaining the familia relationship. a great story in how her aunt gets the money to buy the book store.
This is not an action pack read. But it is a good mystery laying the ground work for the following books in the series. I will be reading more in the Tess series. I would love to go the Baltimore just to watch the boat races/rowing races. Lippman does a wonderful job of giving an insight to what it takes for a rower. Do not let the low rating of some reviews put you off. Yes, it is not a fast paced. For the credit and the flexible return policy get the book. I am going to re-read the one I purchased in 2009.
I ignore genre labels. Some of my favorite books are outside my genre comfort zone. Listening to audiobooks is still reading. Not theater.
The Tess Monaghan series has been on my TBR stack for a while now. After reading Baltimore Blues, I am glad I finally started the series. It was a little dated, but the book has a good mystery that was predictable enough that the final ending didn't seem totally contrived, but with an interesting twist I didn't see coming. I enjoyed the humor and several of the secondary characters. Tess seemed very immature to me, prone to bad decision making and somewhat ambiguous at best. However, the first book seemed to address her evolution. At the end, I think she was starting to grow into a character strong enough to support a prolific and very successful series. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the books in the series.
I thought the Narration was very good.
No. Once the end of the story is heard, there would be no suspense in listening again.
The character of Tess. She is aware of her many short-comings, yet perseveres in her attempts to help defend her friend.
It enhanced the story, rather than distracting from it.
Spoiler alert: The description of the death of Jonathan was very poignant.
Overall, a very enjoyable listen. The ending was a little confusing as to the interrelationships among the players responsible for the deaths.
I wish I had discovered this talented author years ago! Lippman is an outstanding writer, with plenty of "literary gems" gently sprinkled within the prose of the mystery. The characters feel real and the scene setting rings true, setting the reader smack dab in the city of Baltimore - superb local color. In addition, the dialog is very natural-sounding.
The only issue I had was with the narrator, who seemed to rush her words so much that I had a hard time listening at the normal speed. I solved the problem by reducing the speed to 75%, which imparted a lovely, soft, luxurious feel to her voice. I will continue to do this as I go forward through the series now.
I've already started to listen to book #2 and am loving it!
This story is so slow I couldn't get past the first couple hours. Could not finish because it was impossible to get into it.
I don't know
She was fine just reading a book with no hook.
I'm not sure as I couldn't get into it.
Retired tech writer/editor. Mensa. Pgh Steelers/ Penguins fan. Lib Dem/feminist. Grew up reading lit--M.A. English--now read mys/thrillers.
I've read a number of the later books. My favorite is By a Spider's Thread. It was a bit disconcerting to read this, the first in the series, because I'm more accustomed to a more experienced, polished Tess... It was good but she was so young & a bit scattered...
I've read a number of the later books. My favorite is By a Spider's Thread. It was a bit disconcerting to read this, the first in the series, because I'm more accustomed to a more experienced, polished Tess... It was good but she was so young & a bit scattered... I guess everybody has to grow at their chosen profession & everybody starts out a bit raw....
Love being read to.
No. Didn't see it from this book.
I thought the best part was meeting some of Tess's relatives. I LOVE her uncles - the one who works for the government & the one who runs the bar! And I love Aunt Kitty. What a supportive family! Tess is super lucky!
Good whodunit - enjoyable, logical solution.
I thought book was a THREE parter because I mistakenly somehow downloaded part 2 twice so when the book ended I was like--what?! I didn't realize the big climax was the big climax. Oops! Wrapped up well, tho.
Engineer, wife, audiobook addict. I live for those books that you just cannot put down.
I usually don't struggle to write a review. However, this audiobook felt so uninspired that I am having trouble coming up with enough coherent words to write a more competent explanation of my dislike of the book beyond "sophomoric" which is a word I feel I've overused in my reviews of late. I think I would have enjoyed this book when I was in 10th grade but the story line felt too mature for young adult lit.
What I liked about the book: It was set in Baltimore, a city I spent many years exploring and know very well. And, I didn't fall asleep listening.
What I didn't like:
The narrator reads Tess with a sort of immature and snooty voice. Coupled with her brash nature and her disregard for the fact that her actions could have a real impact on people's lives and her inability to grasp that she could be doing more harm than good made me really dislike her. She was arrogant and immature and in some cases outright subversive, attempting to manipulate people instead of just dealing in truth which would have been more believable of an ex-reporter.
The story never really explains or wraps up some of Ava's more peculiar traits. In fact, I felt like Ava becomes sort of tossed away used as a means to get to the story the author really wants to tell. It felt like unskillful writing. A better author would have been able to give Ava more closure without tossing her out with the bathwater half way through the story only to come back and give her some unnecessary post script happy-ish ending that doesn't tie up any of the loose threads of her story.
Finally, we're supposed to believe Tess can make these investigative leaps that are a stretch of logic but she's too stupid to realize the danger she is in at the end of the book? I don't want to give any more away than that but just suffice it to say that given her recent predicaments and her ability to make these insane leaps of logic, it was totally unbelievable that she wasn't more cautious toward the end of the book. For me, this trend of super smart characters that turn around and lose all their common sense in order to create drama and plot climax for authors too unskilled to weave a more believable scenario has become a tired cliché in these types of investigative stories. It's not believable and it's a disservice to the reader and the plot.
I'd recommend skipping this book altogether.
NO, I JUST DON'T DO THAT EVER
TESS GREAT FLAWED HEROINE
THE VOICES SHE USES FOR THE VARIOUS CHARACTORS
NO IN CAR, TOOK ABOUT A WEEK TO COMPLETE
Overall it was pretty good. The Baltimore accents were terrible, but the sorry for the most part held my interest. I plan on listening to more Tess Monahan stories.
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