In Big Trouble (Tess Monaghan Series #4)

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Overview

Edgar Award-winner Laura Lippman is developing a reputation as one of the most exciting new detective fiction authors in years. Now she delivers her most suspenseful novel yet, and places Baltimore's Tess Monaghan...In Big Trouble.

First as a reporter and then as a p.i., Tess Monaghan has learned how th survive and thrive on the streets of Baltimore. But a new case will force her to confront her own past, and a man she loved and lost. It starts when she gets a newspaper ...

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In Big Trouble (Tess Monaghan Series #4)

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Overview

Edgar Award-winner Laura Lippman is developing a reputation as one of the most exciting new detective fiction authors in years. Now she delivers her most suspenseful novel yet, and places Baltimore's Tess Monaghan...In Big Trouble.

First as a reporter and then as a p.i., Tess Monaghan has learned how th survive and thrive on the streets of Baltimore. But a new case will force her to confront her own past, and a man she loved and lost. It starts when she gets a newspaper photograph of her old boyfriend with a tantalizing shard of headline attached: In Big Trouble. The answers lie far frmo Baltimer, deep in a world of good-time music, old-fashioned ambiiton, and rich people's games. For Tessmust find out what happened to a man she thought she knew, to a woman who may have changed him forever, and to the victims of a killer who dances to a different—and deadly—drummer. Edgar Award-winner Laura Lippman is developing a reputation as one of the most exciting new detective fiction authors in years. Now she delivers her most suspenseful novel yet, and places Baltimore's Tess Monaghan...In Big Trouble.

Author Biography:

Laura Lippman has been a reporter for 14 years, the last six as a feature writer at the Baltimore Sun. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland.Photo by Jim Burger

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
When Baltimore PI Tess Monaghan receives an envelope postmarked Boerne, Tex., containing a photo of Crow, her former musician boyfriend, and a scrap of newspaper headline reading "in big trouble," a day's outing to visit Crow's parents in Charlottesville, Tex., turns into a road trip to unknown territory. Tough and street savvy in her hometown, the former reporter feels lost in the land of the Alamo. Crow seems to have disappeared with a mysterious blonde singer, and as Tess searches for them, she encounters a wall of family secrets behind which may lie the reason for the body count rising around her. Lippman's (Charm City) colorful characters--especially the proprietor of Tess's temporary no-tell motel, and homicide detective Al Guzman--add amusement to this gripping mystery. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380798476
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/28/1999
  • Series: Tess Monaghan Series , #4
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 0.88 (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

Chapter One

Tess Monaghan hated surveillance work, something of a problem for someone who made her living as a private investigator. Do what you love and you'll love what you do, they told her. Well, she loved everything else about her job. Loved being her own boss, loved being her only employee. She was even starting to love her gun, which she knew was kind of creepy. Unfortunately, surveillance work was a private investigator's bread-and-butter, and she loathed every minute of it, especially in the cause of romantic disputes. Besides, it was just so passive. All her life, she had hated waiting for things to happen. She yearned to be an instigator. Yet here she was again, slouched down in the front seat of her car, camera ready to document someone else's bad behavior.

She stared at the faded plaster king who welcomed guests to the Enchanted Castle Motor Court on Route 40. Time had not been kind to him — his purple coat had whitish spots that made it appear as if it were motheaten, his face was pitted, and one eye had faded away, so his once-genial smile was now more of a leer. Still, he made her feel nostalgic, for Maryland's past and for her own. There was a time, almost in her memory', when Route 40 was the major east-west highway across the state of Maryland and these kinds of campy stucco cottages had beckoned to travelers with neon promises of air-cooled rooms and fresh pies in the diner.

As for Tess, she had lost her own virginity in this particular motor court, at the allegedly sweet age of sixteen. The wine had been sweet at least. Mogen David, hijacked from her Gramma Weinstein's Sederalmost two months earlier, because teenage Tess had been methodical about her bad behavior. The younger version was always plotting, looking ahead to the night when she could just get it over with — first drunk, first dope, first sex — mark another milestone on her path to adulthood. Why had she been in such a hurry? She couldn't even remember now. Anyway, it hadn't been bad, it hadn't been good. In fact, it wasn't unlike her early rowing practices. Sore muscles you didn't even know you had on the day after. But it got better, and she got better at it. Just like rowing.

This was the part she remembered the best: The motor court's diner had still been open then and afterwards she had blueberry pie, hot, with vanilla ice cream, the chubby king smiling benignly at her through the glass. That had been just perfect. To this day, blueberry pie made her blush. Now the diner was just a rusting a minum shell. Despite the reputation fostered by the film Diner, Baltimore had a severe diner deficit, if you didn't count the modem, ersatz ones, and Tess sure didn't. "Where have you gone, Barry Levinson?" she sang softly to herself. "Charm City lifts its hungry eyes to you." No more diners, no more tin men. No Johnny U's Golden Arm, no Gino's, no Hot Shoppes Jr.'s, no Little Taverns.

Great, her litany of fast-food ghosts had made her hungry. And her right leg was cramping up. She eased the driver's seat back, tried to massage her hamstring, but a twelve-year-old Toyota Corolla just didn't afford much room when you were five-foot-nine and most of it was inseam. Damn, she hated surveillance work. She tried to make it a rule not to take such assignments, but principles had to be suspended sometimes in light of certain economic realities. Or, in this case, when a certain friend had promised her services without asking first.

At least the client was a woman. She was a sexist about this, no other word. But in her experience, cuck-olded men tended toward violence against others, and she didn't want that on her conscience. Women were masochists, dangers to themselves. Usually. Tess looked at this it way: Four thousand years after the Greeks, Medea would still be front-page news, while feckless Jason wouldn't even rate a question in Cosmo's Agony column.

Not that women's cases weren't lose-lose propositions in their own way. If you didn't get the goods on hubby, some women didn't want to pay for the time put in, they didn't get that a job had been done, even if it had yielded no results. These were the kind of women who tipped poorly in restaurants, on the theory that they provided food service all the time without compensation.

But if you did turn over a discreet set of photographs of hubby leaving, say, a motor court on Route 40, a redhead giantess in tow, the kill-the-messenger syndrome kicked in — literally. One cheated-on wife had aimed her neat little Papagallo pump at Tess's shin. Tess had counted to ten, left the suburban palace that was about to loom large in the divorce case, and discreetly let all the air out of the tires on the woman's Jeep Cherokee.

So she charged more now. She told would-be clients it was because surveillance work was a bore, which was true, but it was really the aftermath she hated, the moment of truth, which was anything but boring. "Excuse me, ma'am, while you're weeping and thinking about the implications of this information for your twenty-year marriage and your two children, could I trouble you to write me a check?" Tess had started taking much bigger retainers and sending refunds. Easier on everyone.

Unfortunately, this particular wastrel-husband had eaten through the retainer in the first week, without actually doing anything. A nervous type, he cruised the city's best-known prostitution strips, window-shopping, beginning negotiations, then breaking them off at the last minute. Tess had taken a few photographs of women bent toward his car on long, skinny legs, but such photos paid no premiums in divorce court. He could always claim to be asking, for directions.

In Big Trouble. 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
( 42 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 43 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 26, 2013

    Let's make this brief ¿ Author Laura Lippman leaves her beloved

    Let's make this brief … Author Laura Lippman leaves her beloved Baltimore for a trip to San Antonio (taking her Tess Monaghan character with her). There was some “fish out of water” stuff, but a lot of the comparisons actually involved consideration as to how similar the two cities were under the skin.

    This is my favorite of the (first) 4 books in the series that I have read to date. I loved the setting, the characterizations, and the fact that Lippman managed to fool me until the climax!

    RATING: 5 stars.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2010

    Lippman is a fun read

    As always, Laura Lippman provides a fun read with twists and turns to keep the reader wondering what could happen next. Thoroughly enjoyable. Set in San Antonio, the author presents a whodunit that keeps you guessing right to the end, with motives and characters enough to create a surprise ending for Tess Monaghan fans.

    It's getting harder and harder to find authors who haven't fallen to the societal pressure to use the f-word in every other sentance, and it's quite refreshing to still have a few of those authors around who still have a vocabulary larger than 6 words. I've read everything Lippman has written and enjoyed them all!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2013

    Crow. Eddie. Ed.

    Eddie?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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