Another Thing to Fall (Tess Monaghan Series #10)

Another Thing to Fall (Tess Monaghan Series #10)

by Laura Lippman

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061807541
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/13/2009
Series: Tess Monaghan Series , #10
Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 144,593
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Since LAURA LIPPMAN’s debut, she has won multiple awards and critical acclaim for provocative, timely crime novels set in her beloved hometown of Baltimore. Laura has been nominated for more than fifty awards for crime fiction and won almost twenty, including the Edgar. Her books have been translated into more than twenty languages. Now a perennial New York Times bestselling author, she lives in Baltimore and New Orleans with her family.

Hometown:

Baltimore, Maryland

Date of Birth:

January 31, 1959

Place of Birth:

Atlanta, Georgia

Education:

B.S., Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University, 1981

Read an Excerpt

Another Thing to Fall

Chapter One

The headphones were a mistake. She realized this only in hindsight, but then—what other vision is available to a person heading backward into the world?

True, they were good old-fashioned headphones, which didn't seal tightly to the ear, not earbuds, which she loathed on principle, the principle being that she was thirty-four going on seventy. Furthermore, she had dialed down the volume on her Sony Walkman—yes, a Sony Walkman, sturdy and battered and taxicab yellow, not a sleek little iPod in a more modern or electric shade. Still, for all her precautions, she could hear very little. And even Tess Monaghan would admit that it's important to be attuned to the world when one is charging into it backward, gliding along the middle branch of the Patapsco in a scull and passing through channels that are seldom without traffic, even in the predawn hours.

But Tess had painstakingly rationalized her way into trouble, which, she decided later, is pretty much how everyone gets into trouble, one small rationalization at a time. She wanted to row, yet she felt obligated to listen to her boyfriend on a local radio show, promoting the Oktoberfest lineup at her father's bar. Besides, he planned to play some songs by Brave Combo, a nuclear polka band that Tess quite liked. She would row a path that was familiar to her, and trust the coxswains for the fours and eights to watch her back, a courtesy offered to all scullers.

It did not occur to Tess to row a little later, or skip the workout altogether. The rowing season traditionally ended after Thanksgiving, a mere month away. She had to take advantageof every waning day, especially now that Baltimore was in its full autumnal glory. If aliens had landed in Baltimore on this particular October morning, they would have concluded that it was the most perfect city on the globe they were about to conquer, truly the Charm City it claimed to be. The trees were tinged with gold and scarlet, the breeze was light, the sky was slowly deepening into the kind of brilliant blue that reminded Tess that she once knew the word cerulean, if only because it had been on the vocabulary lists for the SATs.

She set out for Fort McHenry, at the distant tip of Locust Point, rationalizing every stroke of the way: She knew the route so well, it was so early, the sun not even up. She had beaten the other rowers to the water, arriving in darkness and pushing off from the dock at first light. She wouldn't wear the headphones on the way back. She just needed to hear Crow on WTMD, listen to him play a few snippets of Brave Combo, then she would turn off the Walkman and—

That's when the police boat, bullhorn blaring, crossed into her line of vision and came charging toward her. By the time she registered everything that was happening—the approaching boat, the screams and shouts coming from all directions, the fact that someone was very keen that she stop or change course—the motorboat had stopped, setting up an enormous, choppy wake that was going to hit her sideways. Tess, trying frantically to slow and steady her scull, had a bona fide moment of prescience. Granted, her vision extended only two or three seconds into the future, but it was uncannily exact: She was going to go ass over teakettle into the Patapsco, a body of water that even conquering aliens from a water-deprived planet would find less than desirable. She closed her eyes and shut her mouth as tightly as possible, grateful she had no cuts or scratches into which microbes could swim.

At least the water held some leftover summer warmth. She broke the surface quickly, orienting herself by locating the star-shaped fort just to the north, then the wide channel into the bay to the east of the fort, toward which her vessel was now drifting. "Get my shell," she spluttered to the police boat, whose occupants stared back at her, blank faced. "My shell! My scull! MY goddamn boat." Comprehension dawning, the cops reached out and steadied her orphaned scull alongside the starboard side of their boat. Tess began to swim toward them, but a second motorboat cut her off.

A man sat in the stern of this one, his face obscured by a baseball cap, his arms crossed over a fleece vest emblazoned with a curious logo, Mann of Steel. He continued to hug his arms close to his chest, a modern-day Washington crossing the Delaware, even as two young people put down their clipboards and reached out to Tess, boosting her into the boat.

"Congratulations," said the male of the pair. "You just ruined a shot that we've been trying to get for three days."

Tess glanced around, taking in everything her back had failed to see. This usually quiet strip around Fort McHenry was ringed with boats. There was an outer periphery of police launches, set up to protect an inner circle, which included this boat and another nearby, with what appeared to be a mounted camera and another fleece-jacketed man. There were people onshore, too, and some part of Tess's mind registered that this was odd, given that Fort McHenry didn't open its gates to the public until 9 A.M. Farther up the fort's grassy slopes, she could see large white trailers and vans, some of them with blue writing that she could just make out: Haddad's Rentals. She squeezed her ponytail and tried to wring some water from her T-shirt, but the standing man frowned, as if it were bad form to introduce water into a boat.

"The sun's up now," said the young woman who had helped Tess into the boat, her tone dire, as if this daily fact of life, the sun rising, was the most horrible thing imaginable. "We lost all the rose tones you wanted."

Another Thing to Fall. Copyright © by Laura Lippman. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Another Thing to Fall 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
ctfrench on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Private Investigator Tess Monaghan unknowingly ruins a shoot for the film crew of TV series Mann of Steel and instead of being chastised for it ends up with a new assignment: bodyguard to the show¿s youngest actor, Selene Waites. The producer Flip Tumulty and his company have had a run of vandalism, leading to bad press, and Flip is concerned for Selene¿s safety. With the aid of her friend Whitney, Tess reluctantly takes on the job, and quickly learns Selene is not as passive and uneducated as she appears. When Flip¿s assistant is found beaten to death, Tess realizes Selene may actually be in danger and begins her own investigation into what happened to the assistant. As always, Lippman provides the reader with an interesting view of Baltimore and its people and culture. The plot seems to stagger along at first, with no real sense of the characters involved. The killer¿s mindset is initially hard to grasp, as is his reason for creating such havoc for the producer and his series. One interesting and refreshing character is Mrs. Blossom, one of Tess¿s students in her private investigation class, who this reviewer hopes will return in future books.
reannon on LibraryThing 8 months ago
In this volume in the Tess Monaghan series, Tess is hired as a bodyguard to a young and wayward actress in a TV series being shot in Baltimore. Murder ensues, and the stakes get higher.Good novel, not the best in the series, but well worth the read.
Bookmarque on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Seemed to be in a very different vein from the other Tess Monaghan mysteries I¿ve read. More like Tess light truth be told. It was enjoyable though and pretty well populated with suspects, but I think it lacked an emotional hook for us to catch hold of. I think it was because Tess herself was so detached from everything. If her emotional investment is minimal, it makes the reader not ante up either. But it was fun seeing the inside drudgery of making a TV show. The ins and outs of contracts and time tables and pandering to personalities and egos was exasperating and hilarious. How these people can stand each other is hard to get my mind around. No wonder they were ripe for blackmail or worse. I did like how Selene turned out to be a much better actress than we first surmised. Also that Crow wasn¿t in this one much was a bonus.
LisaLynne on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Just could not get interested in this one. Reminded me too much of the Sara Peretsky books. Turned it off after the first cd.
ElizaJane on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Tess Monaghan is out rowing on the river when she inadvertently collides with the set of a TV Show. Once they find out she is a private investigator she is hired to work as a body guard for their young star. Seems she has been the target of a stalker in the past and now strange things are happening on the set, small fires and other small but annoying sabotages. Tess soon realizes there is a lot more going on and when someone is murdered her behind-the-scenes investigation starts.This is the first Laura Lippman book that I have read. Usually I'm pretty particular about starting a series at the beginning so was a little wary about jumping into this tenth entry of the series. I had little to worry about as I was hooked from the prologue. There were a few references to the past here and there but this book was very easy for a newcomer to the series to get into. I also usually don't read private investigator type mysteries either so I was very pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed this. The behind the scenes look at a television show was a lot of fun. The mystery was very good and kept me guessing until near the end. Rather than being a fast-paced plot focused mystery I found this to be a character driven story. The characters were very well developed and much time was spent just getting to know the supporting cast. If you are looking for a page-turner, this is not for you but if you are looking more for an Elizabeth George type mystery where you can get inside the head of the characters this book will surely please.
susanamper on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Laura Lippman is usually a sharp writer, and Tess Monaghan is usually a good character. This mystery, though, is a bit of a mess. Lippman does some dishonest writing here by having characters' thoughts provided to the reader when only later we find those out to be false. This is true of Johnny Tampa's supposedly first person response to Selene. In addition, Lippman seems to want to prove she knows movie and tv trivia. Who cares. Wikipedia gives everyone that trivia. The shenanigans on the set of a tv show border on the boringly been there, read that. In her acknowledgments, Lippman tells the reader she is married to the producer of The Wire, a tv show set in Baltimore. Aha. She thought her insider's knowledge of a tv show would make a good novel. In this case at least, she was wrong. If Lippman does not know, she should, that nearly every viewer of a movie knows it's all smoke and mirrors. We know the sets are fake, that the views outside windows are bogus, and that lighting is used to make things appear either earlier or later in the day. Has she ever seen a movie set in Paris? Doesn't she think it odd that every single apartment, house, office, government building has a view of The Eiffel Tower. This is a patronizing book and a crappy mystery.
sumariotter on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I love Laura Lippman but was less into this one, perhaps because the subject matter was the movie business--I like her earlier books better, when they covered more Baltimore history. But, it was still an interesting read.
bigorangemichael on LibraryThing 11 months ago
The tenth entry in Laura Lippman's Tess Monaghan series finds the Baltimore-native reporter-turned-private-eye rowing her way into the production of the television mini-series Mann of Steel. Tess is hired to provide security for young starlet Selene Waites (think Paris Hilton only with acting ability) due to a series of disturbing incidents plaguing the fledgling series.At first Tess chalks Selene up to a ditzy Hollywood type, but events quickly show that Selene is cleverer than she lets on. When the series of incidents escalates into the death of one of the writing assistants, Tess' natural curiosity is piqued and she begins to investigate what's really happening with the Mann of Steel production.As the story unfolds, a number of likely suspects enter into the picture with Lippman laying out a foundation and motive for each person to be part of the plot to disrupt the production of the show. As always with Lippman's books, the pages turn easily and the narrative shifts between several characters while staying firmly grounded with Tess. The first half of the book lays out all the characters and their potential motivations and the second half puts the pieces into place, leading up to a satisfying denouncement to multiple mysteries taking place within the novel.Yet despite having several threads running, the novel never loses focus or the reader.Along with Elizabeth George, Lippman writes the most satisfying, character-driven mystery novels on the market today. As with George's Lynley and Havers series, part of the pleasure in Lippman's Monaghan novels is the chance to "catch up" with Tess. Of course, the mystery is compelling as well or else the novels wouldn't be worth the time or effort. But the balance of character and mystery is well navigated here. And Lippman does the near impossible task of allowing new readers into the Tess universe while satisfying long-time readers of Tess' adventures.
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christytilleryfrench More than 1 year ago
Private Investigator Tess Monaghan unknowingly ruins a shoot for the film crew of TV series Mann of Steel and instead of being chastised for it ends up with a new assignment: bodyguard to the show's youngest actor, Selene Waites. The producer Flip Tumulty and his company have had a run of vandalism, leading to bad press, and Flip is concerned for Selene's safety. With the aid of her friend Whitney, Tess reluctantly takes on the job, and quickly learns Selene is not as passive and uneducated as she appears. When Flip's assistant is found beaten to death, Tess realizes Selene may actually be in danger and begins her own investigation into what happened to the assistant. As always, Lippman provides the reader with an interesting view of Baltimore and its people and culture. The plot seems to stagger along at first, with no real sense of the characters involved. The killer's mindset is initially hard to grasp, as is his reason for creating such havoc for the producer and his series. One interesting and refreshing character is Mrs. Blossom, one of Tess's students in her private investigation class, who this reviewer hopes will return in future books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love Laura Lippman's Tess Monaghan series. That said, this latest installment was just not in the same class as previous Tess books. In fact, there was not enough Tess in this book 'way too much time spent on what other, less interesting characters were thinking or doing', and when she was present, she didn't seem to be the Tess of old. She seemed hardly engaged in the mystery at hand. Hope this is just an off book and we can look forward to the 'return of Tess' rather than it being the 'beginning of the end' of this series.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Laura Lippman assembles an intriguing and often hilarious cast of characters in her latest Tess Monaghan mystery. Selena Waites stars as the rising Hollywood creation, an actress (or actor as women are now called in the movie culture) with an insatiable appetite who never seems to actually eat. Oblivious to everything and everyone around her, Selena represents the perfect example of a culture and generation oblivious to all else but the present and fulfilling every whim and want. Next to Selena stars Johnny Tampa, the aging and overweight actor looking for a comeback. When Selena's role suddenly grows, overshadowing his role in the series, is he jealous or hungry enough to take matters into his own hands? Did one of the entourage of men surrounding Selena, men captivated by her beauty and celebrity, have a hand in the mysterious happenings? Flip Tumulty, anxious to make a name for himself rather be compared to his father's legendary fame will do anything to insure the success of his new series. How far will he go to protect or publicize himself? Greer took over her position next to Flip in a well-orchestrated coup of greed and manipulation. Did she go one step too far? Whose chain did she rattle just enough to make them resort to murder? ANOTHER THING TO FALL is a masterpiece of characterization. The reader sees Tess's character mostly as a contrast to the movie culture that has invaded her town. Through Tess, sarcasm, humor and a broader reality provide a stark contrast to the insulated world of Hollywood. Readers will laugh aloud at some of the riotous portraits. This reader has not read such a fun and funny mystery in years! Humor gives way to a finely detailed structure of motivations and personalities as these characters chafe and battle for supremacy in a series which can make or break them. As Tess reminds herself and the reader, she does not have to like the characters she investigates ---the job is to discover the culprit and keep Selena safe. Even the secondary characters are well written and integrated into the plot with just the right timing. Mrs. Blossom, a student from Tess's class adds humor and a mystery twist to ANOTHER THING TO FALL. As Tess unearths more and more clues, ANOTHER THING TO FALL examines all the motives and seething undercurrents behind the television shoot. First impressions give way to something much richer. Just as Tess's sarcasm reaches its height, the reader suddenly notices that this horrible, humorous cast of insipid actors and support crew have captured one's heart. In a subtly orchestrated change of tone, the reader moves from laughing at the expense of these Hollywood creations to caring for the personalities beneath. Laura Lippman gives readers a welcome dose of reality with her critique of the movie/television industry, providing a humorous antidote to a culture obsessed with celebrity and Hollywood. At the same time, ANOTHER THING TO FALL goes beyond humor and mystery to provide the reader with a compassionate view of the people behind the façade. ANOTHER THING TO FALL is an intriguing look into character in a mystery with clever plot twists ---- a mystery and so much more. Absolutely brilliant!