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Butchers Hill (Tess Monaghan Series #3)

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No sooner has Tess Monaghan hung her PI-for-hire shingle outside her new office on Butchers Hill when in walks Luther Beale. A notorious vigilante who shot a boy for vandalizing his car five years earlier, Luther has just gotten out of prison and wants to make amends, he says, with the kids who witnessed his crime. He needs to find them first, and that's where Tess comes in. But once she starts snooping, the witnesses start dying. Like it or not, she's gotten herself embroiled in a case that could have ...
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Butchers Hill (Tess Monaghan Series #3)

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Overview

No sooner has Tess Monaghan hung her PI-for-hire shingle outside her new office on Butchers Hill when in walks Luther Beale. A notorious vigilante who shot a boy for vandalizing his car five years earlier, Luther has just gotten out of prison and wants to make amends, he says, with the kids who witnessed his crime. He needs to find them first, and that's where Tess comes in. But once she starts snooping, the witnesses start dying. Like it or not, she's gotten herself embroiled in a case that could have devastating repercussions - for Tess herself, the city she treasures, and the young lives a corrupt system heartlessly destroys - as she follows a nasty trail of lies, money, and murder that winds from Baltimore's darkest corners all the way back to Butchers Hill.
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Editorial Reviews

S.E. Warwick
The family angle plays a strong part in the story with clever use of the old maxim "if there is a gun on the wall in the first act it must be fired by the time the curtain falls." Though the scenario is familiar, Lippman brings Tess Monaghan and her family and city to life. This trip around Baltimore and its environs and through the darker side of the welfare system is well worth the fare.
Mystery Magazine Online \
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Tess Monaghan, newspaperwoman turned sleuth, makes it official with a new business as a PI in a run-down section of Baltimore, Butchers Hill. Her first clientsan elderly man known as the Butcher of Butchers Hill and a highly successful female professional fund-raiserpresent the first dilemma. Tess needs a cover, reluctantly supplied by Client 2, in order to get access to information on the ghetto for Client 1. The process of finding diverse missing persons starts Monaghan and her two black clients on sometimes prickly discourse involving race. As in Baltimore Blues and Charm City, dialogue is on the mark, accompanied by lively observations about female entrepreneurship, adoption, foster home rackets, and quirky Baltimore natives and neighborhoods. A bittersweet, perfectly plausible ending winds things up. (July)
S.E. Warwick
The family angle plays a strong part in the story with clever use of the old maxim "if there is a gun on the wall in the first act it must be fired by the time the curtain falls." Though the scenario is familiar, Lippman brings Tess Monaghan and her family and city to life. This trip around Baltimore and its environs and through the darker side of the welfare system is well worth the fare.
Mystery Magazine Online
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061255717
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/28/2008
  • Series: Tess Monaghan Series , #3
  • Pages: 274
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Laura Lippman

Since her debut in 1997, Laura Lippman has been heralded for her thoughtful, timely crime novels set in her beloved hometown of Baltimore. She is the author of twenty works of fiction, including eleven Tess Monaghan mysteries. She lives in Baltimore, New Orleans, and New York City with her family.

Biography

Laura Lippman was a reporter for 20 years, including 12 years at The (Baltimore) Sun. She began writing novels while working fulltime and published seven books about "accidental PI" Tess Monaghan before leaving daily journalism in 2001. Her work has been awarded the Edgar ®, the Anthony, the Agatha, the Shamus, the Nero Wolfe, Gumshoe, and Barry awards. She also has been nominated for other prizes in the crime fiction field, including the Hammett and the Macavity. She was the first-ever recipient of the Mayor's Prize for Literary Excellence and the first genre writer recognized as Author of the Year by the Maryland Library Association.

Ms. Lippman grew up in Baltimore and attended city schools through ninth grade. After graduating from Wilde Lake High School in Columbia, Md., Ms. Lippman attended Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Her other newspaper jobs included the Waco Tribune-Herald and the San Antonio Light.

Ms. Lippman returned to Baltimore in 1989 and has lived there since.

Biography from author's website.

Good To Know

In our interview, Lippman shared some fun and fascinating facts about herself:

"I can do an imitation of Ethel Merman singing ‘Satisfaction.'"

"I'm not a Baltimore native -- I arrived here about six years too late for that. But I love the fact that I've convinced the world that I am."

"Like my character, Tess Monaghan, I used to row. Unlike her, I was very, very bad at it."

"I've written eight books in my series -- one not yet published -- and a stand-alone crime novel, but my subject is always, on some level, Baltimore.

It's a problem-place, neither northern nor southern, somewhat addicted to nostalgia, yet amnesiac about the more dicey parts of its past. I used an epigraph from H. L. Mencken in one of my books: ‘A Baltimorean is not merely John Doe, an isolated individual of Homo sapiens, like every other John Doe. He is a John Doe of a certain place -- of Baltimore, of a definite home in Baltimore.' I am a person of a certain place, and that place happens to be Baltimore."

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    1. Hometown:
      Baltimore, Maryland
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 31, 1959
    2. Place of Birth:
      Atlanta, Georgia
    1. Education:
      B.S., Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University, 1981

Read an Excerpt

Butchers Hill LP
A Tess Monaghan Novel

Chapter One

Tess Monaghan's blotter-size appointment calendar was the largest, whitest space she had ever contemplated. Thirty boxes of June days, vast as the Siberian steppes, stretching across her desk until it seemed as if there were room for nothing else. She thought she might go blind staring at it, yet she couldn't tear her gaze away. Thirty perfect squares, all awaiting things to do and places to go, and only today's, the fourth, had a single mark on it:
9:30. Beale
10:30: Browne
(SuperFresh: Dog food)

There was also a doodle in the lower left-hand comer, which she thought a pretty good likeness of a man in a wheelchair taking a long roll off a short pier. In terrible taste, of course, unless one recognized the man as her erstwhile employer, Tyner Gray, in which case the drawing took on a droll charm.

She had told Tyner that June wasn't the right time to open her own office, but he had pushed and nagged as usual, promising enough work from his law office to carry her through those early dry months. At her darker moments -- this one would qualify -- she believed all he had really wanted was to free up a desk for his summer clerk.

Well, she had only opened for business last week. One expected things to be a little slow just after Memorial Day weekend. Then again, July and August would be quieter still, as most of Baltimore escaped to Ocean City and the Delaware beaches.

"But not us, Esskay. We're working girls," she told her greyhound, who was doing a fair imitation of a Matisse odalisque from her post on the lumpy mauve sofa. "The Pink Nude." No, "The Black, Hairy Nudewith the Pinkish Belly." A one-time racer, Esskay was now a world-champion napper, putting in about eighteen hours a day between the sofa here and the bed at home. Esskay could afford to sleep. She didn't have overhead.

Overhead -- now there was a wonderfully apt word. Tess was over her head all right, deep in debt and sinking a little more each day. So far, her Quicken accounting program showed only outgo at Tess Monaghan, Inc., technically Keyes Investigations, Inc. The business took its name from a retired city cop whose credential was essential if Tess wanted to operate as a licensed private detective in the state of Maryland. She had never actually met Edward Keyes, who put in the incorporation papers in return for a small percentage of her profits. She hoped he was a patient man.

But now her first prospective client, a Mr. Beale, was due in ten minutes. She suspected he would be pathologically punctual, given that he had literally tried to be here yesterday. He had called just after eight the night before, as if his need for a private detective were a craving that required instant gratification. Tess, who had stayed late in a futile attempt to make her new office look more officelike, wasn't in a position to turn down any client, but she thought it wiser to let this one stew in his own juices overnight. Or unstew, as the case may be. Beale had sounded the slightest bit drunk over the phone, his words pronounced with the elaborate care of the inebriated. Tess had given him a nine-thirty appointment, after much ostentatious fretting about the havoc it would wreak in her busy, busy day. Yes indeed, she had cut her morning workout by almost thirty minutes, rowing her Alden racing shell only as far as Fort McHenry.

Last night, in the almost-summer twilight, the office had looked clean and professional, a few easy touches away from being a first-class operation. Today, with bright sun slanting through the plate glass window, it looked like what it was -- the bottom floor of a too-often-renovated rowhouse in one of the iffier blocks on Butchers Hill. Almost 100 years old, the building had long ago buckled with fatigue, its linoleum floors rippling like tide pools, the doors and the jambs barely on speaking terms. Eggshell paint, even three coats, could only do so much.

If Tess had more money, she might have done better by the old storefront, bringing in real furniture instead of family castoffs. Of course, if she had more money she would have taken a better place in a better neighborhood, a bonafide office with wooden floors, exposed brick walls, maybe a harbor view. In nicer surroundings, her junk could have achieved funk status. Here, it was just junk.

Her Aunt Kitty's office-warming gift of framed family photographs, seemingly so whimsical and inspired, only made things worse. What type of businesswoman had a tinted photograph of herself smeared with chocolate, holding fast to the neck of a coin-operated flying rabbit while her grandmother tried to pry her off? Impulsively, Tess yanked this off the wall, only to be reminded that the enlarged photo hid the small wall safe, where her gun rested in solitary confinement. Petty cash would be housed there, too, as soon as she had some.

A hand rapped at the door, with such force it sounded as if it might crash through the glass pane at its center. Eager-beaver Beale, ten minutes early by the neon "It's Time for a Haircut" barbershop clock that hung on the wall, another contribution from her aunt. "Come in," Tess shouted over her shoulder, looking around quickly to see if there was anything else she could hang over the safe. The doorknob rattled impatiently, reminding her that she kept it locked, a sad but necessary precaution in Butchers Hill.

"Right there," she said, placing the picture back on the wall. She could find something more appropriate later. Poker-playing dogs were always nice.

"Miss Monaghan?"

Butchers Hill LP
A Tess Monaghan Novel
. Copyright © by Laura Lippman. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 47 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 51 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2014

    Da fudge?

    Why am i here Silv?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2014

    Here?

    Really.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2014

    Green eyes

    Sweep the clan.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2014

    Fangs of Night

    Slither in and watches.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2014

    Bloodmoon

    Scanned the area for any traces of Panthetkit

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2012

    Great vacation read

    Living in Maryland, Lippman's books are fun to relate to the places in her books. The stories are intriguing enough to keep my interest, but not necessarily challenging or thought provoking. Her characters are believable and situations are believable which makes them fun reads.

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  • Posted October 14, 2011

    A good series...

    I got introduced to Tess Monaghan when the first of the series, "Baltimore Blues" was offered as an ebook for 99 cents and now I'm hooked. Ms. Lippman presents a good cast of characters amidst the background of the city of Baltimore with its unique landmarks. I enjoy reading her and will do more of it in the future.

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  • Posted September 26, 2011

    Highly recommend

    I love this series of books. Kept me guessing through the whole book. I am looking forward to reading more.

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  • Posted August 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Keeps Getting Better!

    With each Tess Monaghan book I read, the more I like her. In Lippman's first book, "Baltimore Blues," I was disappointed in Tess's character, coming to dislike her as much as I dislike Stephanie Plum in Janet Evanovich's books. She seemed bumbling, unintelligent, and generally unlikable.

    In "Butcher's Hill," Lippman has Tess juggling two cases, which means two separate storylines for us. Lippman does a marvelous job balancing the two stories without neglecting or overdoing either of them. While both cases where underwhelming for my taste, I enjoyed watching Tess develop into a stronger, sharper, independent woman while she still struggles with her own flaws. I was pleasantly surprised at the turn of events at the end of the book, although I felt the ending was a bit rushed. I think the case involving Luther Beale seemed a bit rushed at the end and I feel like it could have ended a little more gracefully.

    I'm very pleased with Lippman's books and her further development with Tess. I look forward to reading more!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed for Midwest Book Review

    Private investigator Tess Monaghan's first official client is Luther Beale, known as the Butcher of Butchers Hill. Five years earlier, Luther was imprisoned for shooting a young boy vandalizing his car, and Luther wants Tess to find the children who witnessed the shooting so he can make amends to them. Almost immediately, two of those children are found murdered and the police target Beale as the killer. Tess's second case, which becomes a parallel investigation, involves a sophisticated fundraiser who wants Tess to find the child her sister gave up for adoption thirteen years earlier. Tess soon finds herself chasing clues on two cases based on deception, one of which will lead Tess back to her own childhood.

    Tess Monaghan is a refreshing character; an athletic woman with flawed characteristics and a dysfunctional family who strives to do the ethical thing. Lippman provides two mysteries based on misconceptions and falsehoods which the reader will enjoy trying to solve along with Tess.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2000

    No Awards for Butcher Hill

    This book presents uninteresting, transparent and two-dimensional characters. The story line is predictable once the author reveals her glaring political bias. I bought this book because it won an award. Now I have to question the integrity of the Agatha Awards.

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    Posted February 17, 2011

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    Posted March 29, 2011

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    Posted November 10, 2011

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