Title: The Girl in the Green Raincoat
Author: Laura Lippman
Publisher: William Morrow, 2011
Paperback, 176 pages
Genre: Private Investigator, #11 Tess Monaghan mystery
First Line: "I am being held hostage," Tess Monaghan whispered into her iPhone.
In this eleventh outing for Baltimore private investigator Tess Monaghan, she is in the third trimester of her pregnancy and forced to endure bed rest. During the day she is ensconced on a chaise longue on her sun porch, and in homage to one of my favorite books (The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey) and one of my favorite movies (Hitchcock's Rear Window), Tess finds herself paying more attention to the people in the park across the street than she does the books, magazines and DVDs she has at hand.
In particular she pays attention to one pretty woman and her dog, both of whom are dressed alike in green raincoats. One day the woman and her dog arrive for their walk and only the dog comes back. The woman has disappeared. Tess knows something's wrong, but since she can't investigate she must enlist the aide of friends and employees like Dorie and Mrs. Blossom. It's a good thing Tess is lying down because she's just opened a big can of worms.
I only made Tess's acquaintance in December, reading the first book in the series, Baltimore Blues. Even though I'm usually a stickler for reading series books in order, I couldn't resist this one. Was I confused by the nine unread books in between? Not really, because Lippman is a pro at giving the reader enough information not to feel lost. It's obvious to me that plenty has happened in Tess's life in those nine books, and reading The Girl in the Green Raincoat has whetted my appetite to go back and fill in the blanks.
This is short and fast and thoroughly enjoyable. I loved the conversations Tess would have with her unborn child (whom she usually referred to as "Fifi"):
Don't ever settle, Fifi. Don't get married just because it's still marketed as the ultimate achievement for women.
On the other hand, learn to value men for something other than their paychecks.
Very wise words, Fifi. You'd do well to listen to them. If you're a fan of Tess's-- or even if you're not-- The Girl in the Green Raincoat is one fine mystery.