Sunday, June 03, 2007

What the Dead Know a satisfying mystery by Balitmore's Laura Lippman

Books now read in ’07: 49
Title: What the Dead Know
Author: Laura Lippman
Genre: Mystery
Date Completed: 5-30
Pages: 373

I’ve not been a fan of Laura Lippman’s “one offs,” preferring the continuity of her tart and taut Tess Monaghan series. That preference is being reconsidered with the debut of Lippman’s new book, What the Dead Know. Oh, I still enjoy reading about Tess and company, but I thoroughly enjoyed this new stand-alone mystery.

What the Dead Know is like a Russian nesting doll with mysteries within mysteries. The first mystery has to do with the disappearance 30 years ago of the Bethany sisters. Are they alive? Dead? How did they disappear so completely and who abducted these young sisters form a Baltimore shopping center?

The second mystery begins when a woman, who leaves the scene of an automobile accident, claims to be one of the missing sisters. Is she who she says she is? Portions of her story seem plausible – she knows information that only a few people would know – but other aspects of her story don’t ring true.

Lippman is masterly in her command of this riveting narrative – jumping from the present to the past and back again – and in developing a believable cast of characters – from the mother who is ready to move on to the father who can’t to the retired cop who can’t let go of the case he couldn’t solve. As usual in Lippman’s work, Baltimore is a character too. She's always at her best in her affectionate, but candid, portrait of Charm City.

Satisfying is a good word to describe any mystery and What the Dead Know is all that. Lippman plays out the mystery to the end, delivering a satisfying and surprising conclusion that elicits a rueful, but delighted shake of the head – So that’s it!

No comments:

Post a Comment