Monday, March 2, 2009


by Laura Lippman
William Morrow/Harper Collins
10 East 53rd Street
New York, NY 10022
ISBN: 9780061128875
Hardback, 325 pages, $24.95
Genre: Mystery

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.

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