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Lady in the Lake

A Novel
Narrated by: Susan Bennett
Length: 10 hrs and 17 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (293 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The revered New York Times best-selling author returns with a novel set in 1960s Baltimore that combines modern psychological insights with elements of classic noir, about a middle-aged housewife turned aspiring reporter who pursues the murder of a forgotten young woman. 

In 1966, Baltimore is a city of secrets that everyone seems to know - everyone, that is, except Madeline “Maddie” Schwartz. Last year, she was a happy, even pampered housewife. This year, she’s bolted from her marriage of almost 20 years, determined to make good on her youthful ambitions to live a passionate, meaningful life. 

Maddie wants to matter, to leave her mark on a swiftly changing world. Drawing on her own secrets, she helps Baltimore police find a murdered girl - assistance that leads to a job at the city’s afternoon newspaper, the Star. Working at the newspaper offers Maddie the opportunity to make her name, and she has found just the story to do it: a missing woman whose body was discovered in the fountain of a city park lake.

Cleo Sherwood was a young African-American woman who liked to have a good time. No one seems to know or care why she was killed except Maddie - and the dead woman herself. Maddie’s going to find the truth about Cleo’s life and death. Cleo’s ghost, privy to Maddie’s poking and prying, wants to be left alone. 

Maddie’s investigation brings her into contact with people who used to be on the periphery of her life - a jewelry store clerk, a waitress, a rising star on the Baltimore Orioles, a patrol cop, a hardened female reporter, a lonely man in a movie theater. But for all her ambition and drive, Maddie often fails to see the people right in front of her. Her inability to look beyond her own needs will lead to tragedy and turmoil for all sorts of people - including the man who shares her bed, a black police officer who cares for Maddie more than she knows.

©2019 Laura Lippman (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
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    3 out of 5 stars

I wanted to love it...

I love Laura Lippman’s books especially her series and Sunburn was really good last year so I counted down the days until this was released but I just didn’t love it. I usually get through a new book I’m 3-4 days tops and this one took 7. I felt like I forced myself to listen.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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The narration is EXCELLENT, but...

The author's notes at the end make it difficult to say I didn't love this book,
as does the truly outstanding narration , but the truth is., I was just so bored. It's definitely not a badly written book and I'm sure many will enjoy it it just wasn't interesting to me

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Very disappointing

While written with great skill, this book invites no genuine interest in the protagonist. There are many characters, but because of this the book lacks an emotional core. The mystery itself turns out to be of little interest.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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More than just a mystery story

I grew up near and worked in Baltimore in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It was fun to hear familiar names and places (Hochschild Kohn's, Hutxler’s, Druid Park, Fort Meade), although it made me realize that there were many communities I knew nothing about at the time. In part, that’s what the book is about - the different groups living side by side and only partly interacting when two deaths force them to. Lippman lets the voices of all the disparate people be heard. As a former copy editor for a small city newspaper, the difficulty women had in trying to insert themselves into serious journalism is also fascinating. Although Lippman couldn’t know that Trump was going to scurrilously denigrate Baltimore the week of the release date, her novel, which takes place in the 1960s, is a relevant response on the city’s behalf. Lippman’s Lady in the Lake works on so many levels beyond being a truly clever mystery.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Different

The writing style was different but not bad. I enjoyed the multiple perspectives. didn't really care for the end but it was still a good book

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Wanted to like this more

A literary mystery. A lot to like about this, especially the shifting pov's, which really stole the show from the main character's internal dialogue as presented by the main, third person narrator. As with a lot in this genre of late, there is a real willingness by the author, a woman, to present women in a less than flattering light, and added to that, Lippman does a very good job of bringing to light the malevolent aspects of so called do gooding that masks personal ambition while being frightfully obtuse about the societal forces that exist and impend upon others, leading to catastrophic upshot. The three real problems are that the crimes, murders, feel more like plot device--even the twist near the end barely registers--as the novel is really about a somewhat narcissistic protagonist; despite the well presented picture of the misogynist world the protagonist inhabits, her behavior makes it hard to sympathize and given the book is really about her, hard to care in general; given that so many pov's are given voice, that we only get the main male character's pov, especially as to what it is that drives his attraction to the woman, via one discussion near the end of the novel. There are important insights in this book, mostly coming from the peripheral women, mostly about cultural differences all the way down into how one experiences love, family, marriage as a result of gender, race, wealth or lack thereof. But that said, the main reaction I had to the novel is what a self indulgent, crabbed, and dislikeable person the main character was throughout.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great Book!

I really loved this book. I liked the setting and the characters, all of it was good.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A great performance of a riveting book

A great story and a really excellent narrator. It depicts a really interesting historical period as well.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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One of the best, ever

What a ride! The writing is mesmerizing, the story is flawless, and the narrator is one of my favorites. This one hits all the marks. Wildly entertaining, twists and turns, utterly wonderful.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Great story and performance

Kept me engrossed and the narrator was amazing. I will look for more books by this author.