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.
Laura Lippman knows how to write about terror, both the subtle, covert, shadow type and the more acute, stomach-wrenching, in-your-face type. This is a book about acts of terror, specifically kidnapping and rape. It is primarily about the kidnapping and rape of 13 year-old Elizabeth Lerner in 1985 and the 39 days she spent at the hands of her kidnapper and rapist, William Bowman, a serial killer.