Book of the Week: Hush Hush – Laura Lippman

I’ve written about Lippman before; I really admire the balance she strikes between perfectly plotted, perfectly paced commercial mysteries and thoughtful, complex themes about the lives of women.

In her article “Why today’s most exciting crime novelists are women,” Salon’s Laura Miller does an excellent job of explaining why these sorts of mysteries feel so much more absorbing and relevant than Chandler-esque classic crime stories.  Miller includes a brief survey of Lippman’s work along with a discussion of Tana French, Kate Atkinson and other first-rate women suspense writers. It’s worth a look.

These books trespass the established boundaries of their genre, adding a dash — or more than a dash — of fabulism, or lingering over characters who used to serve as the mere furniture of the old-style hard-boiled fiction. They may dare not to offer a solution to every mystery or to have their sleuths arrive at those solutions by nonrational means. Their prose ranges from the matter-of-fact to the intoxicating, and the battlefields they depict are not the sleazy nightclubs, back alleys, diners and shabby offices of the archetypal P.I. novel, but a far more intimate and treacherous terrain: family, marriage, friendship.”

Lippman herself discusses her decision to give her longstanding PI Tess Monahan a daughter in a PWIn My Own Words” column.

Reviewers rightly look forward to every new book from Laura Lippman. Hush Hush has received three starred advance reviews and general coverage will start with reviews in the Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, Miami Herald and a “Playlist” feature in The Wall Street Journal.

In bestseller Lippman’s searing 12th installment in her series featuring Baltimore PI Tess Monaghan (last seen in the 2011 novella “The Girl in the Green Raincoat”), Tess, now the mother of a three-year-old girl with longtime boyfriend Crow, reluctantly takes a security job from attorney Tyner Gray, a family friend. Tyner represents Melisandre Harris Dawes, who, 12 years earlier, intentionally left her infant daughter in a hot car to die. Melisandre, a former lawyer, successfully argued that she suffered from postpartum psychosis….[When Melisandre returns for her daughters years later] Tess, along with her new partner, ex-cop Sandy Sanchez, must assess Melisandre’s security risks. Lippman expertly delves into what it means to be mad—and more importantly, what comes next.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Lippman’s latest installment in the Tess Monaghan series weaves an exploration of the joys and frustrations of motherhood with a clever and engaging mystery… Lippman dives deep not only into the ways women tend to question their choices and abilities, but also into whether all mothers, and kids, are a little crazy.”
Kirkus (starred review)

“After writing several excellent stand-alone novels (After I’m Gone), Lippman returns to her popular series sleuth in this compelling mystery about a good mother gone bad. Strongly recommended….”
Library Journal (starred review)

“With an intriguing cast of characters, stinging dialogue, hilarious moments, and a superbly convoluted and suspenseful plot, Lippman has created an incisive and provocative tale about parents good and evil.”

Hush Hush: A Tess Monaghan Novel (9780062083425) by Laura Lippman. $26.99 hardcover. 2/24/15 on sale.

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