THE GIRL IN THE GREEN RAINCOAT by Laura Lippman

Book Quote:

” ‘I’m being held hostage,’ Tess Monaghan whispered into her iPhone. ‘By a terrorist. The agenda is unclear, the demands vague, but she’s prepared to hold me here for at least two months. Twelve weeks or eighteen years, depending on how you look at it.’

‘Nice way to talk about our future child,’ said her boyfriend, Crow….”

Book Review:

Review by Eleanor Bukowsky  (JAN 19, 2011)

Laura Lippman’s The Girl in the Green Raincoat is a takeoff on Rear Window, the film in which Jimmy Stewart, who is laid up and bored, eavesdrops on his neighbors. Thirty-five year old Tess Monaghan, private investigator, is pregnant and on forced bed rest. Although her boyfriend, Crow, has been patient and accommodating with his irritable partner, Tess is restless and annoyed that she cannot go about her business, which includes conducting surveillance, enjoying alcoholic beverages, and eating her favorite junk foods. She decides to use binoculars to help her do some sleuthing. On a number of occasions, Tess has observed a girl wearing a green raincoat walking her Italian greyhound. Suddenly, the girl disappears, and Tess observes the dog running around by himself, his leash dangling. Anxious to get to the bottom of the mystery, Tess prevails upon her employee, Mrs. Blossom, and her best friend, Whitney Talbot, to look into the matter. Their mission is to find out if fifty-three year old Don Epstein, the husband of the missing woman (whose two previous wives died under mysterious circumstances) has done away with wife number three, Carole Massinger Epstein.

This is an amusing romp, in which Lippman’s lighthearted tone keeps us from taking the thin, busy, and sometimes silly plot too seriously. Tess is snarky and short-tempered, but inwardly, she is terrified of motherhood. Will she mess up her child for life? How can she care for a baby and continue doing the work she loves? Does Crow, who is six years her junior, still want to marry her? Tess has far too much time on her hands, and her imagination is running wild. Tracking down a murderer is just the distraction she needs. Whitney, who is up for anything, has a great time going undercover, as does the free-spirited Mrs. Blossom.

There are laughs a-plenty here. When Tess gets custody of the abandoned dog, she finds out that he is a bit like the Hound of the Baskervilles. He relieves himself at will, chews everything in sight, and snarls at anyone who approaches him. Tess makes some phone calls and finds out who purchased the dog—the aforementioned Mr. Epstein, who happens to live in an extravagant home and owns a chain of check-cashing businesses. Before the story comes to an end, Tess realizes that she may have miscalculated. Instead of delivering a criminal into the hands of the authorities, she has managed to endanger her life. Although no one would consider this 158-page long novella a threat to Hitchcock, The Girl in the Green Raincoat is cute and fun, and has some meaningful messages about parenthood, marriage, and the wisdom of counting our blessings.

AMAZON READER RATING: stars-4-0from 89 readers
PUBLISHER: Avon A; Original edition (January 18, 2011)
REVIEWER: Eleanor Bukowsky
AVAILABLE AS A KINDLE BOOK? YES! Start Reading Now!
AUTHOR WEBSITE: Laura Lippman
EXTRAS: Reading Guide
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January 19, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Humorous, Reading Guide, Sleuths Series, US Mid-Atlantic, y Award Winning Author

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