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Publisher's Summary

Tess Monaghan has finally made the move and hung out her shingle as a PI-for-hire, complete with an office in Butchers Hill. Maybe it's not the best address in Baltimore, but you gotta start somewhere, and Tess' greyhound Esskay has no trouble taking marathon naps anywhere there's a roof.
Then, in walks Luther Beale, the notorious vigilante who five years ago shot a boy for vandalizing his car. Just out of prison, he says he wants to make reparations to the kids who witnessed his crime, so he needs Tess to find them. But once she starts snooping, the witnesses start dying. Is the Butcher of Butchers Hill at it again?
Like it or not, Tess is embroiled in a case that encompasses the powers that-be, a heartless system that has destroyed the lives of children, and a nasty trail of money and lies leading all the way back to Butchers Hill.
Investigate more of Tess Monaghan's cases.
©1998 Laura Lippman (P)2007 BBC Audiobooks America
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Kathi on 07-20-17

Left me a bit uncomfortable

So whenever an author sets out to write a book that features race relations, it can easily become either enlightening and helpful, or it can be awkward. I think I'd have to put this book in the somewhat awkward category (though not entirely). This book was written in 1998, and I think what Laura Lippmann wrote, at the time, may have been more cutting edge and relevant than it is now.

This is a mystery, with Tess Monaghan, a not altogether likable (to me) private investigator, who is hired by two clients to find people for them. She seems to rely on letting other people do a lot of the work for her a bit too much for my taste. The two stories weave in and out pretty smoothly, but I couldn't decide whether what was off-putting to me was actually just the narration, which wasn't my favorite, or the story itself. The narration is (mostly) good enough not to interfere with listening to the story, but I don't think it adds anything. What I did like was learning a lot about the adoption process. And having personal ties to Baltimore, I enjoyed hearing about the city.

But partly this is about language. If one is uncomfortable with the use of a word that society now feels is a terrible insult to African Americans, then avoid this book. If you feel that it's important to be authentic in how people probably genuinely speak to each other to communicate disrespect, then you will view this book in that light. I'll just say, the book was okay--but I believe that giving it 4 stars was generous.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By BJG on 01-27-10

Not her best

Laura Lippman has done better. Tess juggles two unrelated cases and so instead of sinking deep into one story, I just skimmed two. One case is inspired by a real Baltimore case of an old man who shot at a bunch of kids for throwing rocks at his house. In the book, he asks Tess to find the now teenagers. The weak spot was the other case of a woman wanting to find the daughter she gave up for adoption. Of course neither case is as simple as is seems. The happy ending felt insincere to me. Although, a mediocre Laura Lipppman is still worth a credit.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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