In Baltimore, even though someone is murdered every day, the murder of Michael Abramowitz causes quite flutters. Michael was infamous as a brash public defender. He was notorious for helping killers and rapists go scot free. So when Police catch the culprit almost immediately, everybody is happy. But Tess Monaghan is not convinced as the culprit is her rower friend “Rock” and she is sure of his innocence.
I started Baltimore Blues assuming it will be a good cosy mystery which of course it was. Tess is 29, an ex-journalist and living in a kind of limbo for past 2 years since she lost her job. She agrees to help her friend Darryl “Rock” Paxton by following his fiancée Ava who currently seems distracted. But her private eye act sets a series of incidents in motion that result in brutal murder of Ava’s boss, a notorious former public defender and Rock is arrested for the murder. Tess starts to work with Rock’s attorney to help her friend. But she also can’t forget that her sleuthing was also partially responsible for the murder and starts following separate leads on her.
I liked two things about the book – Tess Monaghan and the backdrop of the city of Baltimore. Tess is energetic, active and has a flair for sleuthing. Of course this is her first attempt and hence she fumbles or chases leads that are dead ends but eventually is able to unravel the mystery. During the process she realises that even though she liked being a journalist, it is not her true calling and starts asking questions about her own attitude. By the time the book ends, she is a changed person and ready to embrace her life with open arms. Lippman’s love for the city of Baltimore is evident right from the beginning and she has used the city as a perfect setting for the mystery.
The mystery is good though sometimes it looks as if Tess is unnecessarily running in circles. It’s actually a two in one mystery and I found the second mystery more compelling. Baltimore Blues is the first books in the series and maybe that’s why I felt it was bit jagged at the edges. But the series is already 11 books old and it will be worthwhile to track further growth of Tess’s character.
Thank you for reading. I appreciate your time.
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