Eleventh in the Tess Monaghan mystery series set in Baltimore, Maryland revolving around Tess and Crow and a select group of friends.
Trapped into complete bed rest by her surprise pregnancy, Tess takes her frustrations out on the people walking in the park opposite her house. Tracking their habits, she becomes worried when one of them no longer shows and her dog is seen running around loose. She just knows something is wrong and without her usual distractions, and while under the influence of Oprah and Judge Judy, Tess pushes and pushes until everyone around her is caught up in the mystery of the disappearing raincoat.
The facts that are revealed. The pattern of dead significant others is too great to ignore and Tess continues to push until the killer strikes back.
Tess Monaghan has been happily running her detective agency for years; she only hopes that her new assistant, Mrs. Blossom, is up to keeping the agency going while she takes some time out for her pregnancy and the eventual, one day, maybe, in the far, far distant future maternity leave. Crow is her musician boyfriend who now runs a restaurant/bar and books bands. Lloyd Jupiter is a formerly-at-risk young man whom they helped get back on track. He’s now attending Crow’s old alma mater, the Maryland Institute College of Art studying film on a scholarship and is creating a wee bit of havoc with his girlfriend, May. A potential catastrophe as far as May’s parents, Liz Matthias and Beth Angleton, are concerned. Martin Tull, a cop friend, gets a brief mention.
Whitney Talbot is Tess’ oldest and best friend. The daughter of a wealthy family, she now runs the family foundation. Dorie Starnes is a friend from Tess’ journalism days who now runs her own research company.
Don Epstein is the Blythewood Bluebeard. Sergeant Harold Lenhardt is a policeman Tess contacts who had been the primary on the first homicide. He sounds pretty cute with a quilting wife and I hope he’s around in the next story.
Omigod!! Crack. Me. Up. The first paragraph had me confused and anxious wanting to know what the heck Lippman is doing! The more I read, the more I loved it!
“I am being held hostage…by a terrorist. The agenda is unclear, the demands vague, but she’s prepared to hold me here for at least two months…”
Nice blend of real world life and fears with the hopes and dreams of their friends to fill it out. Nice phrase to keep in mind: Being happy made me happier than being unhappy. I did enjoy Tess’ dream about delivering a giant radish and the so-lovely compliments she got from everyone! Tess is following some of her family’s Jewish beliefs when it comes to the baby—and it’s driving Crow and her dad mad.
I like how Lippman provides a back history on Tess, Crow, and Lloyd. They also have some very nice friends who pitch in and help out…just amping up the cozy feeling of the story. Along with a snapshot of her parents’ courtship—not quite what she had thought! And I loved how she ended it…talk about circular!
The cover is a torso shot of a green raincoat with some pretty suggestive buttons and a pair of hands tying its belt. The title is spot on as the missing woman is The Girl in the Green Raincoat.