Synopses & Reviews
The award-winning New York Times
bestselling author of After I'm Gone
, The Most Dangerous Thing
, I'd Know You Anywhere
, and What the Dead Know
brings back private detective Tess Monaghan, introduced in the classic Baltimore Blues
, in an absorbing mystery that plunges the new parent into a disturbing case involving murder and a manipulative mother
"I'm every woman's worst nightmare. . . . Because whenever a woman kills her child every other mother—at least every one who's honest with herself—has a flash of sympathy. Not empathy. They don't want to have done it, cannot imagine doing it. But they know."
On a searing August day, Melisandre Harris Dawes committed the unthinkable: she left her two-month-old daughter locked in a car while she sat nearby on the shores of the Patapsco River. Melisandre was found not guilty by reason of criminal insanity, although there was much skepticism about her mental state. Freed, she left the country, her husband, and her two surviving children, determined to start over.
But now Melisandre has returned to Baltimore to meet with her estranged teenage daughters and film the reunion for a documentary. The problem is, she relinquished custody and her ex isn't sure he approves.
Now that she's a mother herself—short on time and patience—Tess Monaghan wants nothing to do with a woman crazy enough to have killed her own child. But her mentor and close friend Tyner Gray, Melisandre's lawyer, has asked Tess and her new partner, retired Baltimore PD homicide detective Sandy Sanchez, to assess Melisandre's security needs.
Tess has always felt that her curiosity about others is her greatest strength. Yet the imperious Melisandre is someone she cannot begin to understand, much less empathize with. A decade ago, a judge ruled that Melisandre was beyond rational thought. But was she? Tess tries to keep her distance from her mercurial yet confident client. This strategy gets tricky after Melisandre becomes a prime suspect in a murder.
And as her doubts about Melisandre grow, Tess realizes that she's under scrutiny as well, followed by a judgmental stalker with an ax to grind . . .
“one of Lippmans finest novels.” Chicago Tribune
New York Times bestselling author Laura Lippman plunges Baltimore private investigator Tess Monaghan into a twisted and disturbing case.
Tess Monaghan has encountered almost every possible criminal motive throughout her career: greed, revenge, jealousy, rage. But there are crimes that defy all attempts at understanding, where a search for motive seems pointless.
Melisandre Harris Dawes committed such a crime. Found not guilty by reason of insanity, she fled the country, leaving her two daughters with their father. Twelve years later, shes back in Baltimore, and Tess is asked to provide security detail while Melisandre films a documentary about her attempts to reconcile with her now teenaged children.
Tess, juggling work with caring for her demanding toddler, is uneasy about the case. Still, Melisandres lawyer is family. And there is something about the woman herself—confident, beautiful, shrewdly intelligent—that draws Tess in. Is she a master manipulator or someone who was driven to temporary madness? Cold and calculating, or a mother concerned for her daughters well being? Someone is leaving Melisandre enigmatic, threatening notes. Soon Tess, insecure about her parenting abilities and receiving cryptic messages of her own, isnt sure whether she should be protecting Melisandre from harm—or protecting everyone else from Melisandre.
When Melisandre becomes the prime suspect in a murder, Tess must uncover the truth. Doing so will mean confronting her deepest beliefs about what separates good parents from bad, madness from sanity, and what lengths even the most rational person will go to, to protect what they cherish most.
About the Author
Since her debut in 1997, Laura Lippman has been heralded for her thoughtful, timely crime novels set in her beloved hometown of Baltimore. She is the author of twenty works of fiction, including eleven Tess Monaghan mysteries. She lives in Baltimore, New Orleans, and New York City with her family.