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Monday, May 23, 2011

Review: 'The Girl in the Green Raincoat'

By Laura Lippman
Mystery (Tess Monaghan)
January 2011
William Morrow

Tess Monaghan has been confined to bedrest during her unexpected pregnancy. She turns into Jimmy Stewart's character in Rear Window, watching the world pass by. The daily appearance of a young woman in a green raincoat and accompanying greyhound catches her attention. When they fail to appear one day, Tess gets involved.

This novella from Lippman about a major event in her continuing character's life is filled with the author's fascinating portraits. Whether it's Tess's parents and what she thought she knew about them, her friend Whitney or characters that appear courtesy of the disappearing dog walker. They have the unique traits of individiuals anchored by those genuine touches of realism that are Lippman hallmarks.

A lot happens both concerning the case -- just what did happen to that girl -- and what about her husband's other wives? --and Tess's life -- are she and Crow ready or willing to be "normal" parents with mundane lives? Yet this slim volume does not feel rushed or packed too tightly for proper breathing.

Some of the events are major, and it will be fascinating to see what happens next to Tess. There are repercussions that should be processed over time and that will deepen the characterizations that readers already know and appreciate. At the same time, The Girl in the Green Raincoat presents a case that unfolds with the best traits of fair play in detection, and which may surprise at its denoument. Even if the reader guesses the outcome, however, its unfolding and how it affects Tess and other characters both literally and symbolically are well played.

©2011 All Rights Reserved CompuServe Books Reviews and reprinted with permission

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