This is the eleventh book of the Tess Monaghan detective series. The author, Laura Lippman, is obviously a movie buff as her other books reveal, and this book is a knock-off of the 1954 Hitchcock classic, “Rear Window.”
Tess, a private detective with her own business, is now 35. She isn’t used to being inactive, but is temporarily confined to bed rest because of a high-risk pregnancy. She lives with her boyfriend Crow, who is “alarmingly in touch with his inner Martha Stewart.” Crow outfits Tess with all she might need to combat her frustration and crabbiness over her confinement, including a pair of binoculars so she can watch the neighbors at the dog park. Before long she notices that a dog has been abandoned, a dog previously walked by a woman in a green raincoat. She suspects foul play, and sends Crow along with her best friend Whitney to investigate.
As Tess does what research she can on the computer about the missing woman, she also worries about what aspect of herself might go missing when the baby arrives. How will she balance being a mother with having a dangerous, demanding job that she really loves? Moreover, Crow hasn’t said anything about getting married; doesn’t he want to? It’s all making her a wreck.
Evaluation: This is more like a novella than a book, and isn’t Lippman at her finest. Nevertheless, it is a must for fans of Tess Monaghan, because of the life-changing situation in which she now finds herself. In addition, other regular characters weigh in with Tess on love, marriage, and parenthood, and this gives us valuable and often touching insights into their lives as well as Tess’s.
Published by HarperCollins, 2008