Book Reviews of Baltimore Blues (Tess Monaghan, Bk 1)

Baltimore Blues (Tess Monaghan, Bk 1)
Baltimore Blues - Tess Monaghan, Bk 1
Author: Laura Lippman
ISBN-13: 9780380788750
ISBN-10: 0380788756
Publication Date: 2/1/1997
Pages: 304
Rating:
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 187

3.4 stars, based on 187 ratings
Publisher: Avon
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

30 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Baltimore Blues (Tess Monaghan, Bk 1) on + 54 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
I liked the characters; the plot was decent, but not great; but the writing felt very choppy in places. I'm from Baltimore, so I knew the places she was describing, but it still felt like there were some unwritten assumptions being made for us to fill in.
reviewed Baltimore Blues (Tess Monaghan, Bk 1) on + 8 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
Lippman is a very good writer and her Tess is a colorful and self sufficient woman. She's well rounded and has an interesting love life. On a par with Sue Grafton.
reviewed Baltimore Blues (Tess Monaghan, Bk 1) on
Helpful Score: 4
Lippman's books (Baltimore Blues, Butcher's Hill, The Sugar House) are well-written and entertaining. There are a lot of local references to Baltimore, and a lot of, apparently, local dialect that I had trouble understanding. Usually I like stories where the locale is part of the story, but did not enjoy these as much as some others.
reviewed Baltimore Blues (Tess Monaghan, Bk 1) on + 35 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
No spoilers. Being from Baltimore, the works of Ms. Lippman appeal to me (I recall reading her father's articles in the Baltimore Sun years back). The mystery here is average, but the local color puzzled me. Ms. Lippman is supposed to show how much she loves Baltimore in her Tess Monaghan books; the impression I get is not love, but a neutral (at best) feeling.
reviewed Baltimore Blues (Tess Monaghan, Bk 1) on + 305 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
This is the first Tess Monaghan novel of the author's series. I enjoyed the character and all the twists and turns. Also good to learn more about Baltimore. :)
reviewed Baltimore Blues (Tess Monaghan, Bk 1) on + 18 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
If you've never read a Tess Monaghan book, you have no idea what you are missing. This is a first rate hard-boiled mystery series.
reviewed Baltimore Blues (Tess Monaghan, Bk 1) on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I had to drag myself to finish this book. The characters are flat and the plot is choppy, not to mention it moves very slowly. I wish I hadn't wasted a credit and the time on it.
reviewed Baltimore Blues (Tess Monaghan, Bk 1) on + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This is the first book by Lippman that I have read and I really did not care for it at all. I maybe got halfway through it. It thought it boring.
reviewed Baltimore Blues (Tess Monaghan, Bk 1) on + 19 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Excellent story, suprise ending! First time I have read this author, I want to read more!
reviewed Baltimore Blues (Tess Monaghan, Bk 1) on + 557 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
After reading some of Laura Lippman's other great stand alone mysteries, I decided I really wanted to get into the Tess Monaghan series. I started at book 1 which was written in 1997, so VCR and pay phones were still the norm, but the book, plot and story can still stand the test of time. The main character so real, that you want to know her more. Some of the writing was so well done, it was amazing. She describes a building as being embarrassed to find itself placed in Baltimore, and that is just one example. This is more of a old gumshoe feel to it than, a thriller, or a new chicklit cozy, or a CSI/DNA infused mystery. I think you will enjoy this series and want to read more and more about Tess and her friends and family.
reviewed Baltimore Blues (Tess Monaghan, Bk 1) on + 30 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the rest of the books in the series.
reviewed Baltimore Blues (Tess Monaghan, Bk 1) on + 47 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Although it starts out rather slow, Baltimore Blues turnrd out to have some real surprises in it and was complex enough to put Tess among the upper ranks of female amateur sleuths.
reviewed Baltimore Blues (Tess Monaghan, Bk 1) on + 1165 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is the opening salvo from a new voice in mystery novels (at least in 1997, when this was written) - Laura Lippman. She has created a newspaper-reporter-turned-sleuth character, Tess Monaghan. At 29, Tess seems to be drifting. Her comfortable world ended when the Baltimore newspaper she worked for folded and the Baltimore Light did not hire her.

She spends her time sculling (early mornings) and exercising (weights in the pm) most days. One day, a friend and fellow-sculler asks Tess to follow his fiancée and find out why she's upset. Having met the fabulous Ava before, Tess doesn't like her and cannot understand what Rock (the fiancée who has hired Tess) sees in this cold, self-centered, beautiful woman.

Tess starts following the woman; Ava's boss is murdered and Rock is accused of the crime. As Tess investigates, things get more complicated and another body falls.

This is a fairly complicated plot, with lots of red herrings. Considerable time is spent introducing the reader to the cast of characters who will return in future Tess novels. Our heroine, Tess, is an interesting character: She makes mistakes, is called `lazy' by some of her friends, but shows a flair for private investigative work. 4 stars

Tess Monaghan
1. Baltimore Blues (1997)
2. Charm City (1997)
reviewed Baltimore Blues (Tess Monaghan, Bk 1) on + 174 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is the first of Lippman's books I've read, and since I'm from the Baltimore area, I gave it a try. I thought the book was awfully slow, and I just couldn't work up a liking for Tess. I plan on reading the next one in the series to see if I like it any better than this first one.

What I did enjoy were some things that I had completely forgotten about. BWI Airport used to be Friendship Airport and that really jogged my memory on that. I knew the places and streets pretty well, but the overall story seemed to drag, and a few things were predictable. I thought the plot was a little weak. I'll try again, though, with this author. It's just the first in a series, so not reading another wouldn't be fair judgment.
reviewed Baltimore Blues (Tess Monaghan, Bk 1) on + 1165 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is the opening salvo from a new voice in mystery novels (at least in 1997, when this was written) Laura Lippman. She has created a newspaper-reporter-turned-sleuth character, Tess Monaghan. At 29, Tess seems to be drifting. Her comfortable world ended when the Baltimore newspaper she worked for folded and the Baltimore Light did not hire her.

She spends her time sculling (early mornings) and exercising (weights in the pm) most days. One day, a friend and fellow-sculler asks Tess to follow his fiancée and find out why shes upset. Having met the fabulous Ava before, Tess doesnt like her and cannot understand what Rock (the fiancée who has hired Tess) sees in this cold, self-centered, beautiful woman.

Tess starts following the woman; Avas boss is murdered and Rock is accused of the crime. As Tess investigates, things get more complicated and another body falls.

This is a fairly complicated plot, with lots of red herrings. Considerable time is spent introducing the reader to the cast of characters who will return in future Tess novels. Our heroine, Tess, is interesting: She makes mistakes, is called lazy by some of her friends, but shows a flair for private investigative work. 4 stars

Tess Monaghan
1. Baltimore Blues (1997)
2. Charm City (1997)
reviewed Baltimore Blues (Tess Monaghan, Bk 1) on + 211 more book reviews
Absolutely my favorite chick mystery series, although I hate to describe Tess as a chick.
reviewed Baltimore Blues (Tess Monaghan, Bk 1) on + 57 more book reviews
The FIRST book in the series featuring Tess Monaghan, a private investigator in Baltimore, Maryland.
reviewed Baltimore Blues (Tess Monaghan, Bk 1) on + 12 more book reviews
Really good book. Interesting character/detective in Baltimore.
reviewed Baltimore Blues (Tess Monaghan, Bk 1) on + 12 more book reviews
A fun mystery, true to the Baltimore setting, Tess Monaghan is one of my favorite literary detectives of all time!
reviewed Baltimore Blues (Tess Monaghan, Bk 1) on + 86 more book reviews
First in the series. You will learn a lot about
Baltimore in these mysteries. Seven of the first
eight are listed here.
reviewed Baltimore Blues (Tess Monaghan, Bk 1) on + 14 more book reviews
A fun read for anyone from the "Bawlmer" area "hon".
reviewed Baltimore Blues (Tess Monaghan, Bk 1) on + 132 more book reviews
In a city where someone is murdered almost every day, attorney Michael Abramowitz's death should be just another statistic. But the slain lawyer's notoriety-and his taste for illicit midday trysts-makes the case front page news in every local paper except the Star, which crashed and burned before Abramowitz did. A former Star reporter who knows every inch of this town-from historic Fort McHenry to the crumbling projects of Cherry Hill-now-unemployed journalist Tess Monaghan also knows the guy the cops like for the killing: cuckolded fiance' Darryl "Rock" Paxton. The time is ripe for a career move, so when rowing buddy Rock wants to hire her to do some unorthodox snooping to help clear his name, Tess agrees. But there are lethal secrets hiding in the Charm City shadows. And Tess's own name could end up on that ever-expanding list of Baltimore dead.
reviewed Baltimore Blues (Tess Monaghan, Bk 1) on + 33 more book reviews
This book was hard for me to get into. I felt like half the time Lippman was just reciting a history of Baltimore buildings. It might seem that way to me because I grew up around Baltimore City, but her descriptions of the city were dry. The characters progressed slowly and I found myself not understanding a character's motivation for certain actions. I felt the characters were also dry, and realized a third of the way through that I didn't really care what happened to any of them. This might be because I couldn't relate to any of them. This book is probably great for a different type of person but I ended up unable to finish it.
reviewed Baltimore Blues (Tess Monaghan, Bk 1) on + 20 more book reviews
A good read! Moves right along. Good setting. Good characters.
reviewed Baltimore Blues (Tess Monaghan, Bk 1) on + 6 more book reviews
Not as good as What the Dead Know also by Lippman. If this were a TV show, it would be over in a half hour.
reviewed Baltimore Blues (Tess Monaghan, Bk 1) on + 310 more book reviews
This is a new edition of Lippman's first book in the Tess mystery series. It is the first of this series that I have read. It is a good mystery, which kept me guessing until the end. I appreciate that it is not violent, profane, or explicit. Tess is her own person, not a stereotypical character. I look forward to reading later books, as Lippman hones her writing style. Book received in goodreads contest, thank you
reviewed Baltimore Blues (Tess Monaghan, Bk 1) on + 1518 more book reviews
First Line: On the last night of August, Tess Monaghan went to the drugstore and bought a composition book-- one with a black-and-white marble cover.

After her paper, The Baltimore Star, folded, reporter Tess Monaghan endures jobless months by putting in hours of rowing on the river and by putting her faith in the comfort of routine. When her rowing buddy "Rock" Paxton wonders about the change in his fiancee and hires Tess to follow Ava, Tess needs the money so she agrees. Eva is having noontime trysts with another lawyer, Michael Abramowitz, and when Abramowitz turns up dead, all fingers point right to Tess's friend.

After reading and enjoying Lippman's standalone hits such as I'd Know You Anywhere and What the Dead Know, reading the first book in her Tess Monaghan series was only natural. After reading Baltimore Blues, I think Lippman could probably find her way around Baltimore blindfolded, and she wrote of the city in a way that made it interesting and intriguing-- and without an over-dependence on street names which can pull me right out of a story.

Tess is a multi-faceted character, and not all of the facets are likable. She's bright, she's talented, she's capable, but when she lost her job as a reporter, it seems to have knocked the wind-- and the desire-- right out of her. If she can't have what she wants, she's willing to settle for whatever happens.

She has a strong cast of characters around her who truly care for her, and they've been watching her, wondering when in the world she's going to snap out of her funk. To their credit-- and Lippman's-- when they reach the point of no return, they tell Tess a few home truths, but it's done with love. Characterization like that can be tricky, but Lippman does it perfectly.

Good plot, good pacing, good setting, good characters? I now know that, whatever Lippman writes, it's Good!
reviewed Baltimore Blues (Tess Monaghan, Bk 1) on + 11 more book reviews
i enjoyed the book. many characters, info on the sport of rowing.
reviewed Baltimore Blues (Tess Monaghan, Bk 1) on + 362 more book reviews
Until her paper, the BALTIMORE STAR, crashed and burned, Tess Monaghan was a damn good reporter who knew her hometown intimately--from historic Fort McHenry to the crumbling projects of Cherry Hill. Now gainfully unemployed at twenty-nine, she's willing to take any freelance job to pay the rent--including a bit of unorthodox snooping for her rowing buddy, Darryl "Rock" Paxton.

In a city where someone is murdered almost everyday, attorney Michael Abramowitz's death should be just another statistic. But the slain lawyer's notoriety--and his noontime trysts with Rock's fiancee--make the case front page news...and points to Rock as the likely murderer. But trying to prove her friend's innocence couls prove costly to Tess--and add her name to that infamous ever-growing list.

This book had you guessing to the end! Very well done and enjoyable!
reviewed Baltimore Blues (Tess Monaghan, Bk 1) on + 49 more book reviews
I like the way she writes!