Charm City by Laura Lippman
As a practiced reporter until her newspaper went to that great pressroom in the sky, P.I. Tess Monaghan knows and loves every inch of her native Baltimore, even the parts being slobbered on by the sad-sack greyhound she's minding for her uncle. It's a quirky city where baseball reigns, but lately homicide seems to be the second most popular local sport. Business tycoon "Wink" Wynkowski is trying to change all that by bringing pro basketball back to town, and everybody's rooting fro him--until a... read more
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
An Uneven Read, July 15, 2003
Philip A. True
from Fairfax, VA USA
I picked up Laura Lippman's "Charm City" because several of her mysteries had been nominated for awards and the locale was Baltimore--a city I have some knowledge about. Perhaps this book, the second in the Tess Monaghan series, is not up to the level of Lippman's other offerings. For me, the mystery didn't work that well for several reasons. One was that Tess, the ex-reporter, and now an aspiring P.I, though without a license, seemed to be living rather well for one without, one assumes, much of an income. Her youthful boyfriend/lover Crow, a rock star, just didn't come across as much of a personality--though I admit that perhaps due to age I have my biases toward rock stars and their lifestyles. Other points: the writing is sometimes ok, sometimes a graceful sentence; but mostly the prose seems jumpy and inconsistent. The plot holds some interest, though it takes most of the book to juice up interest. Mystery types also will be put out with the third-person narrator voice, and the lack of a logical ladder of evidence that would permit one to deduce the identity of the culprit. Ms. Lippman does have Tess trip around many familar Baltimore spots, and her descriptions of what Tess eats indicates that the author enjoys food. Perhaps another in the series might be a better read. But based on "Charm City," I think I'll look elsewhere.