author: Laura Lippman
to be published January 2011
publisher: Avon - Harper Collins
The newest Tess Monaghan novella has Tess on mandatory bedrest because of her high-risk pregnancy. Remember James Stewart in Hitchcock's Rear Window? He has a broken leg and can't get out of his apartment so he watches his neighbors. Tess is more frustrated, stuck in one room of her house, able to look outside at a park. Not many neighbors to see, just a woman in a green raincoat walking her dog to the park.
One day, the woman and the dog go into the park; only the dog comes back out. Tess immediately calls on the people around her to help her solve this disappearance. Tess ends up stuck with the neurotic dog; she finds out about the dog's family. Her background as a private investigator makes her insist on getting more details about that family.
I've admired Laura Lippman the past ten years, even more so after I saw her interview on Today Show (or Good Morning America) when she wrote To the Power of Three. She is an artist with words --- I highlighted many of her sentences in The Girl to share: Tess's baby-to-be, a girl, is "a taskmaster in amniotic fluid." Tess has mood swings, "Mood swings? Try mood teeter-totters, mood elevators, mood escalators, mood rockets. Add a daily dose of Oprah and Judge Judy to the mix and she was truly unpredictable."
The story's whodunnit and howdunnit was also unpredictable for me and took me by surprise. I like that! The characters in the book are a hoot. Now I'm curious how Tess will be a working mom. In the meantime, I'll be reading earlier Tess Monaghan novels. This was the first Tess I've read, and it is a good standalone.