The Sugar House: A Tess Monaghan Novel

The Sugar House: A Tess Monaghan Novel

by Laura Lippman

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Overview

The Sugar House: A Tess Monaghan Novel by Laura Lippman

New York Times bestselling author Laura Lippman’s Tess Monaghan must solve one of the most baffling murders in her PI career.

When Tess Monaghan agrees to talk to Ruthie Dembrow, she senses she’ll regret it. If there’s anything Tess has learned in her work both as a newspaper reporter and then as a PI, it’s to trust your instincts. Still, she can’t deny she’s intrigued when Ruthie asks her to investigate the fatal stabbing of her brother, Henry, while he was locked away for murdering a teenage runaway over a bottle of glue. Henry’s death at the hands of fellow convicts doesn’t surprise Tess, but what does is that he was convicted for murdering a “Jane Doe”—something that rarely happens in the judicial system.

No ID was found on the victim’s body, and her fingerprints didn’t match up to any in the national database. How could anyone escape all the identity nets of the modern world? Ruthie is convinced if she learns the identity of her brother’s victim, maybe she can also find out why he was killed.

Tess’s search takes her on a harrowing journey from Baltimore’s exclusive Inner Harbor to the seedy neighborhood of Locust Point. But it’s the shocking discovery of the runaway’s true identity that turns Tess’s hunt deadly. Suddenly, her supposedly solved murder case keeps turning up newer, fresher corpses and scarier versions of the Sugar House—places that look so sweet and safe, but only from the outside.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062403254
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/19/2016
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 352,967
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.10(d)

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

Chapter One

Sour beef day dawned clear and mild in Baltimore.

Other cities have their spaghetti dinners and potluck at the local parish, bull roasts and barbecues, bake sales and fish fries. Baltimore had all those things, too, and more. But in the waning, decadent days of autumn, there came a time when sour beef was the only thing to eat, and Locust Point was the only place to eat it.

"I'm going to ask for an extra dumpling," Tess told her boyfriend, Crow, as his Volvo edged forward through the neighborhood's narrow streets. The unseasonably warm day had sharpened her appetite, but then a cold one would have done the same thing. Just about everything goosed Tess Monaghan's appetite. Good weather, bad weather. Good news, bad news. Love affairs, breakups. Peace, war. Day and night. She had eaten when she was depressed; happy now, she ate more. Then she worked out, so she could eat again.

But the primary reason she ate was because she was hungry, a feeling she never took for granted.

"You deserve an extra dumpling," Crow said. "You deserve whatever your heart desires. What do you want for Christmas, anyway?"

"Nothing, I keep telling you, absolutely nothing. I have everything I want." She squeezed his knee. "Although if I could have anything, it would be one of those neon signs you see at beauty supply stores, the ones that say 'Human Hair.' "

Crow started to slide the car into a mirage of a space, only to realize the gap was really an alleyway. He sighed philosophically. "Locust Point feels like it's at the end of the world."

"Just the end of Baltimore."

"Isn't that the same thing?" He was teasing her, in away that only he could. There was no bitter under Crow's sweet, no meaness lurking in his narrow face. When they had first known each other, that almost-pretty face had been lost under a head full of purple dreads. Shorn now, and back to his natural black, Crow was a guileless little beacon, beaming his feelings out into the world. She liked that in a man.

Unless the man was her father, standing on the church steps, frowning at his watch. Her Uncle Spike was next to him, chewing placidly on a cigar. Uncle Spike didn't take time so seriously.

"Great, we're late, and we'll never find a parking space this close. Look, even the fire truck is illegally parked."

"Just for carry-out," said Crow, who couldn't shake his bad habit of thinking the best of everyone. "See, there the firefighters are now, with a stack of plastic containers. What does sour beef taste like, anyway?"

"Like sauerbraten, I guess. Not that I've ever had sauerbraten."

"I thought sour beef was sauerbraten."

"Yes, but-well, Baltimore, Crow." Funny how much could be explained with just those four words. Yes, but, well, Baltimore. "If we don't get in soon, there'll be a line. The dinner's late this year, because of a fire in the kitchen. Usually it's before Thanksgiving."

"Why don't I let you out here, and then come in when I find a place to park? Just save me a seat—and make sure it's next to you."

Tess leaned across the gearshift for a quick kiss. Crow grabbed her and gave her the sort of deep, passionate, openmouth probe suitable to sending a loved one behind prison walls, or into the French Foreign Legion. Since they had reunited this fall, he was living in the moment with characteristic fervor. Tess found it overwhelming, exhausting, and altogether glorious.

Although the glory faded a little when she surfaced for air and found her father's blue eyes focused on them in a hard, unapproving stare. Tess disentangled herself, slipped out of the car, and crossed the street, wishing she didn't blush so easily. It was the one thing she had in common with her father, one of those red-all-over redheads.

"You went all the way to Texas to get him?" Patrick Monaghan asked, not for the first time.

"She brings 'em back alive," Uncle Spike said around the butt-end of his cigar. His bald head gleamed in the weak winter sun, and his liver spots seemed to have multiplied since Tess last saw him, making his resemblance to a springer spaniel all the more pronounced. "Her and Frank Buck. They bring 'em back alive. He's a good kid, Pat—"

"Kid being the operative word," her father said.

"Just six years younger, Dad," said Tess, determined not to let anything mar this annual ritual. "If the sexes were reversed, you wouldn't think about it twice."

But the word sexes was a mistake, even in a neutral context. Her father winced at the associations it raised.

"Has he had any luck finding a job?" Uncle Spike asked.

"The state's hiring," her father put in. "'Your Uncle Donald says he could find something for him at the Department of Transportation. He's got a lot of pull now, since he was posted to the comptroller's office,"

Tess laughed. "Crow as a state employee? I can't quite picture that. Don't worry, he'll find something. He's part time at Aunt Kitty's bookstore through Christmas, playing a few gigs around town. But that's more for his own pleasure than the money."

"An out-of-work musician," her father mused. "Yeah, that's what I envisioned the day you were born, honey. It's what every father wants for his little girl, you know. Does he have a criminal record, too? That would just make my day."

Tess considered and rejected several replies. "Let's get inside, before the line gets too long."

A volunteer, resplendent in a green and red double-knit pants suit, took their money and pointed them to four places at a long cafeteria table in the farthest comer of the parish hall. Tess inhaled-deeply, happily, nostalgicially.

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Ridley Pearson

Laura Lippman is a terrific writer! As far as I'm concerned, she can't write fast enough.

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The Sugar House: A Tess Monaghan Novel 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 30 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's been awhile since I picked up one of Laura Lippmann,s Tess Monaghan books. What a pleasant surprise! I really need to go back and catch up with the series...
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I enjoyed the book, it had twists and turn in the storyline Excellent beach read
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