New York Times bestselling author Laura Lippman has been hailed as one of the best crime fiction writers in America today, winning virtually every major award in the genre. The author of the enormously popular series featuring Baltimore P.I. Tess Monaghan as well as three critically lauded stand-alone novels, Lippman now turns her attention to short stories—and reveals another level of mastery.
Lippman sets many of the stories in this sterling anthology, Hardly Knew Her, in familiar territory: her beloved Baltimore, from downtown to its affluent suburbs, where successful businessmen go to shocking lengths to protect what they have or ruthlessly expand their holdings, while dissatisfied wives find murderous ways to escape their lives. But Lippman is also unafraid to travel—to New Orleans, to an unnamed southwestern city, and even to Dublin, the backdrop for the lethal clash of two not-so-innocents abroad. Tess Monaghan is here, in two stories and a profile, aligning herself with various underdogs. And in her extraordinary, never-before-published novella, Scratch a Woman, Lippman takes us deep into the private world of a high-priced call girl/madam and devoted soccer mom, exploring the mystery of what may, in fact, be written in the blood.
Each of these ingenious tales is a gem—sometimes poignant, sometimes humorous, always filled with delightfully unanticipated twists and reversals. For people who have yet to read Lippman, get ready to experience the spellbinding power of "one of today's most pleasing storytellers, hailed for her keen psychological insights and her compelling characterizations," (San Diego Union-Tribune), who has "invigorated the crime fiction arena with smart, innovative, and exciting work" (George Pelecanos). As for longtime devotees of her multiple award-winning novels, you'll discover that you hardly know her.
Fans of bestseller Lippman's long-running series featuring Baltimore PI Tess Monaghan (Another Thing to Fall, etc.) will be pleased to find that the 17 selections in her first short story collection are as intricate and witty as her novels. Part one, Girls Gone Wild, focuses on women engaged in all manner of shady enterprises, from first-time drug buyers in The Crack Cocaine Diet to an unassuming femme fatale with a secret in Dear Penthouse Forum (A First Draft). Lest readers think Lippman can only work her magic in her Maryland hometown, she devotes a section, Other Cities, Not My Own, to stories in settings as disparate as New Orleans during Mardi Gras ( Pony Girl ) and Dublin, Ireland, full of jilted lovers ( Honor Bar ). The book's climax is Scratch a Woman, a novella written for the collection and starring Heloise, the enterprising heroine of One True Love, an earlier entry. George Pelecanos provides an appreciative introduction.