I want to chime back in and give a shout out to all the books by Laura Lippman, one of my favourite authors of all time. Excellent writing. Superb plotting. I haven't read her new release yet, Wild lake, but just re-read one from 2 releases ago: "When she was Good". Stunning.
A suburban madam narrates how disastrous relationships with abusive men got her into the life --reminiscent of many of the narratives of the inmates on OITNB (TV show on Netflix)-- and these flashback, retrospective narrative sequences are interspersed with her present day life as she details the trials and tribulations of her day to day life, or rather, her double life, as both madam of a high class escort service and suburban mother and housewife, although, an impeccably groomed and circumspect one. The narrative opens with Heloise standing in line at a supermarket check out and over-hearing a conversation being held between the two ladies ahead of her in the queue who are loudly condemning the recent news headlines regarding a suburban madam of another brothel who managed to get herself killed, the heinous bitch and oh!, how morally superior these two women in queue are!
Heloise's reaction to these women, her thought processes as she listens while in the queue and thinks about the social implications of the dead woman's life and work, mark her out immediately as in possession of a lively, well-read mind and as a prospective force to be reckoned with. The reader is hooked from this opening sequence. What we will gradually begin to ask ourselves is: what are the ramifications for Heloise of the fate that befell this murdered madam? And, more significantly, can she outwit those who were the instrument of that fate?
Once you've read this novel, head back to your library and grab an armful of Lippman's previous novels, both her stand alone mystery/thrillers and also her series set in Baltimore featuring PI Tess Monaghan, a woman after our own hearts because she is big-boned, loves to eat and eat well, lifts weights, rows/crew and runs. And, of course, has an enquiring mind of her own. All of the Tess books feature Baltimore as a character, just as Manhattan is a character of Sex in the City, as each novel takes in as aspect of Baltimore's past and [present history as backdrop to the present day narrative and events. It is refreshing to have a PI series set somewhere other than New York or Los Angeles.
Happy Bank Holiday everybody!