Synopses & Reviews
It is a treasured Charm City tradition. Every year on Edgar Allan Poe's birthday a figure wrapped in a dark cloak visits the renowned author's Baltimore gravesite and leaves behind three roses and half a bottle of cognac. No Baltimorean worth his or her salt would ever dream of trying to determine the true identity of the "Poe Toaster," thereby possibly destroying a cherished ritual. That's why Tess Monaghan refuses to help the odd, piglike man who wants to hire her to unmask the Visitor, who the Porcine One claims has deceived and cheated him.
If nothing else, the rejected client's story has whetted Tess's curiosity and so the following evening she and her enthusiastic boyfriend, Crow, are braving the winter chill and the graveyard dark to observe the strange, beloved rite from a respectful distance. But on this particular January 19, two caped figures approach Poe's resting place. One leaves the tribute and escapes into the night. The other dies there, felled by an assassin's bullet.
Tess sees nothing that the other witnesses didn't see. She isn't working for anyone at the momentand the homicide detective who caught this particular "red ball" is an old and dangerous nemesis so it might be worth her while to avoid this case like the plague. But someone else wants Tess involved in the worst way. A stranger is surreptitiously leaving her roses and cognac and bizarre, cryptic clues someone who knows Tess's habits, someone who knows who she knows and where she lives. And suddenly home is a safe haven no longer.
Like it or not, Tess Monaghan is now a prime player in the murderous drama. And as the body count rises even higher, she uncovers links in a chain of greed, lies, false histories, and deadly acquisitiveness, a dangerously twisted mystery worthy of Poe himself.
"If Lippman has her way, Baltimore will be a strange city no longer, but the delight of readers from there to San Diego." Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Laura Lippman grew up in Baltimore and returned to her hometown in 1989 to work as a journalist. After writing seven books while still a full-time reporter, she left the Baltimore Sun to focus on fiction. She is the author of eleven Tess Monaghan books, including Baltimore Blues, Another Thing to Fall, and The Girl in the Green Raincoat; five stand-alone novels, including Every Secret Thing, To the Power of Three, What the Dead Know, and Life Sentences; and one short story collection, Hardly Knew Her. She is also the editor of another story collection, Baltimore Noir. Lippman has won numerous awards for her work, including the Edgar, Quill, Anthony, Nero Wolfe, Agatha, Gumshoe, Barry, and Macavity.