Book Report: The Girl in the Green Raincoat

 Read 04.13.2011:
The Girl in the Green Raincoat by Laura Lippman
Category: Mystery
Tags: Private Investigator, Mystery, Pregnancy, Dogs


To be honest, I’ve never read a book by Laura Lippman.  I’ve seen her name around the book blogging community and when I saw the cover of this book, and noticed that it was under 200 pages, I figured I’d give it a go.  What’s so striking about this book is its compactness: it’s only 158 pages, but a full, multi-layered story unfolds in that short time.

People watching is one of my favorite activities. Trying to guess the backgrounds of strangers, wondering what they are up to, maybe concocting a back story for them in my mind. For Baltimore private investigator Tess Monaghan, ordered to bed rest in her third trimester of pregnancy, people watching becomes a way to relieve her boredom, trapped on her winterized sun porch watching the dog walkers in the park outside. A miniature greyhound in a green jacket and its blond female owner in her matching green raincoat catch Tess’s eye and she begins to look for them each afternoon until one evening the dog appears on its own, leash still attached, but the girl in the green raincoat is nowhere to be found. Tess is bound and determined to stick her nose into it and solve the mystery, even if it’s from her bed.

The Girl in the Green Raincoat started as a serial in the New York Times and has now been published as a mystery novella for the first time. It’s a quick read and apparently is a twist on Rear Window, which I have never read or seen.  Tess Monaghan is the main character in 10 previous books by Lippman, but it is not necessary to have read them to enjoy this book. (However do be forewarned that after reading this book, you will likely end up with a new series to read!) 

What I love about Tess is that she is so human. She isn’t written as a character who doesn’t have insecurities, worries or that is 100% sure of her relationships. It’s that very thing that really endeared me to her character. In this story when she’s pregnant she is concerned about what kind of mom will she be, because, she “thinks” she’s lacking a maternal instinct. I can identify with Tess, and that’s one of the reasons I enjoyed this book so much.


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