Friday, January 28, 2011

A Review of "The Girl In the Green Raincoat" [6]

The Girl in the Green Raincoat: A Tess Monaghan Novel by Laura Lippman
William Morrow, ISBN 978-0061938368
176 Pages, January 18, 2011

"I am being held hostage," Tess Monaghan whispered into her iPhone. "By a terrorist. The agenda is unclear, the demands remain vague, but she's prepared to hold me here for at least two months. Twelve weeks or eighteen years, depending on how look on it."
Yes, she is being held hostage, but there is nothing sinister going on, because the 'terrorist' in question is Tess's unborn child. In her third trimester, medical issues have confined her to her bed and Tess is about ready to go out of her mind. Yes, her boyfriend Crow, father of said unborn child, is waiting on her hand and foot, trying to keep her calm, her PI business is running along quite well with her employee Mrs. Blossom at the helm temporarily, her friend Whitney is helping out in several capacities, but the inactivity and a good deal of fear about her pregnancy and impending motherhood...and an overdose of daytime TV... has Tess itching for an escape. In a move to appease her, Crow brings Tess a pair of binoculars, so that she can keep a better eye on the world passing by the windows of her enclosed sunroom. She finds some amusement in watching the people walking their dogs in the park across the road, and can't help but notice the woman in the green raincoat, walking a tiny greyhound, in it's matching coat and leash...and she can't help but notice a few days later when the dog is running loose in the park, his green lease dragging unattended, his owner nowhere to be seen.
What happen to the owner, the Girl in the Green Raincoat? Could she have abandoned her dog, or did something most sinister happen. She may be confined to her bed, but Tess is determined to solve the mystery..not realizing that in doing so she may be putting the lives of others in danger, including her own life and that of her child.

With a tip of her hat to Hitchcock's Rear Window, in this novella Lippman has turned out  a very entertaining, very readable and very enjoyable little story. The mystery at the heart of the book, the disappearance of the green clad woman is interesting and, with a few good twists and turns, hold the reader's interest to the end of the book. As in all of the book in this series, the setting in Baltimore is always fun. But just as appealing in this book, certainly for me, was the series of interlaced stories that give us a bit of a glimpse into the lives of the characters that we may have met in the previous books in the series. If this is your first taste of the series, no fear, because I think it can act as a great introduction.

I have read a few of the Monaghan books before and I can't say that I remember Mrs. Blossom, but I will certainly be looking forward to seeing more of her in the future. The term "a pistol" comes to mind. And Tess's friend Whitney has appeared before but this time we really seem to get some new insights and we certainly learn some more about Tess's boyfriend Crow, including where that name comes from. In what is, I think, the most charming interaction in the story, with her father, Tess comes to see her parents, and especially her dad, in a whole new light. I thought that whole section was rather sweet, especially as Tess laid there, considering her own looming chance at parenthood. It was all about popcorn...and a monkey!

But perhaps most interestingly, we get a rather different view of Tess from the dashing, rather fearless PI we have met in some of the previous books. She is worried about her pregnancy, she is worried about her relationship with Crow, she is worried about being a mother...she is worried about what the future will bring. But don't you worry, because whether you are a long time fan, sharing this new chapter in her life, or have just been introduced to Tess and her merry band of friends, you will soon realize she is up to the challenge.
Strongly recommended to Tess Monaghan fans, fans of Laura Lippman's other books or any reader just  looking for an entertaining, fun read.

My thanks to William Morrow for providing me with a copy of this book.


  1. I've not read any of this series (yet) but what I like and admire is that the author is willing to change things up a bit. Rear Window is really high up on my list of favorites, and if I were bedridden I would totally do the same thing. Creepy or no.

  2. Sounds like fun :) I've never read Lippman but I've heard a lot good things! :)

  3. oh, I am a Lippman fan, both this series (although I have missed some) and her standardize.
    This is a fairly lighthearted mystery...well, except for a few people in deadly peril and the whole thing with the baby...that I will not share.

  4. I've only read two of Lippman's "non Tess" books and enjoyed them. Sounds like I should start this series as well. I love how you get all the wrong ideas with that intro paragraph!

  5. Hmmm. . . I've read a few reviews of this book and have not been tempted to put it on "the list" but with your fantastic review - on it goes!

  6. This sounds like my kind of story. It's going on my list! Thanks!


please speak up, I LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU!!