Synopses & Reviews
Thirty years ago two sisters disappeared from a shopping mall. Their bodies were never found and those familiar with the case have always been tortured by these questions: How do you kidnap two girls? Who or what could have lured the two sisters away from a busy mall on a Saturday afternoon without leaving behind a single clue or witness?
Now a clearly disoriented woman involved in a rush-hour hit-and-run claims to be the younger of the long-gone Bethany sisters. But her involuntary admission and subsequent attempt to stonewall investigators only deepens the mystery. Where has she been, why has she waited so long to come forward? Could her abductor truly be a beloved Baltimore cop? There isn't a shred of evidence to support her story, and every lead she gives the police seems to be another dead-end a dying, incoherent man, a razed house, a missing grave, and a family that disintegrated long ago, torn apart not only by the crime but by the fissures the tragedy revealed in what appeared to be the perfect household.
In a story that moves back and forth across the decades, there is only one person who dares to be skeptical of a woman who wants to claim the identity of one Bethany sister without revealing the fate of the other. Will he be able to discover the truth?
"[A] story of achingly real characters and deep emotional resonance, an intense psychological study of loss....[B]y venturing out in such a bold new direction, Lippman has not only expanded the frontiers of genre fiction, she has also enriched the body of American literature." Philadelphia Inquirer
"What the Dead Know, like the best books in this tradition, is doubly satisfying. You read it once just to move breathlessly toward the finale. Then you revisit it to marvel at how well Ms. Lippman pulled the wool over your eyes." Janet Maslin, New York Times
"Lippman has burnished her storytelling skills and the elegance of her writing to a new level....Lippman has cemented her new standing as a literary novelist who just happens to work in the mystery genre." Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Though her ending is a bit of a stretch in this latest offering, the compelling plot and vivid characters prove the author well worthy of honors bestowed." Booklist
"This standalone mystery featuring recurring characters is as heavy on the portrait of one Baltimore family as it is on the whodunit. Lippman fans are most likely to be pleased." Library Journal
"You don't have to be a mystery lover to appreciate it, a moving portrait of a family's private grief during a public tragedy....Lippman pulls you to the end with an exquisite twist." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"What the Dead Know, which takes its title from Ecclesiastes, is a particularly well done puzzle by a true pro. While clever readers may be able to guess the mystery woman's identity, that won't detract from the book's considerable enjoyment. (Grade: A-)" Yvonne Zipp, The Christian Science Monitor (read the entire CSM review)
Bestselling author Lippman returns to the compelling terrain of Every Secret Thing and To the Power of Three with this indelible story of crime and vengeance in which the past becomes all too present.
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.