Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Baltimore Blues by Laura Lippman

Good morning, everyone! Today I am super stoked to be part of the TLC book tour for Laura Lippman's very first Tess Monaghan mystery, Baltimore Blues. With the twelfth installment of the series set to hit shelves just next month, this seems like the perfect time to revisit this first of the series, something I've been meaning to do for quite some time anyway.

Twenty-nine-year-old Tess Monaghan is unemployed and unsure what she wants to do next. She spends her time freelancing here and there (mostly for her uncle, who doesn't really need her) and working at her aunt's bookstore. All of this because the paper she was writing for folded and the Beacon Light didn't hire her on. 

But one of Tess's friends has a proposal for her. Fellow rower Darryl Paxton, aka Rock, thinks his fiancĂ© has been acting strange. He wants to hire Tess to follow her and find out what's going on. Unfortunately, Tess's first foray into the investigating business leads to murder and Rock as the prime suspect. Now Tess has to find out who's really responsible and clear her friend before the case goes to trial. 

This Tess is so much lighter and less hardened than she becomes later on. In fact, she's almost a bit flighty - she comes face to face with the fact that she's been hanging onto the past (her career as a journalist) rather than moving on with her life.

Of course this book takes place before Tess officially hangs her shingle as a PI. She makes some rookie mistakes here, mistakes she definitely learns from. She also makes a few new friends who will come to help her along the way.

As a series kick off, it works perfectly. Tess is engaging and stands out - an athletic and inquisitive woman who's more than a bit judgmental but incredibly clever. It's been absolutely ages since I read this one, but I can see in going back just how much the character has grown and evolved. For readers who have been with the series for some time, it has been a few years since Tess's last appearance (though there's word of her in After I'm Gone). As I mentioned above, she's returning just next month in Lippman's latest, Hush, Hush.

While I haven't read all eleven of the current titles, I have read more than a few. Revisiting her start here has been a bit like reading it again for the first time, but if this is your first introduction to Tess, I kind of envy you. The full series listing (including the upcoming release) is as follows:

Baltimore Blues
Charm City
Butchers Hill
In Big Trouble
The Sugar House
In a Strange City
The Last Place
By a Spider's Thread
No Good Deeds
Another Thing to Fall
The Girl in the Green Raincoat
Hush, Hush

Be sure to check back here on March 3 when I'll be posting my own review of book twelve. And who knows, I might even have a chance to give away a copy of Baltimore Blues soon, too!

To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here.

For more on Laura Lippman and her work, you can find her on the web here. You can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.


Kay said...

This is a series that I have meant to try for a long, long time. Perhaps this is the year, although 12 in the series is a little daunting. Thanks for the heads-up about BALTIMORE BLUES. Putting it on my list for this spring.

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

I enjoy going back to early books in a series and visiting with characters in their early days. It's nice to know that Tess is worth revisiting!

Thanks for being a part of the tour.