LADY IN THE LAKE By Laura Lippman

In his excellent review of Lady in the Lake in the New York Times Book Review (you can read it here), Stephen King compares Laura Lippman to Ruth Rendell. Both writers produced character-based mysteries that draw the reader into the story.

Laura Lippman’s Lady in the Lake focuses on Madeline “Maddie” Schwartz, a woman who leaves her comfortable middle-class life and struggles to become a journalist in a male-oriented profession. Lady in the Lake takes place between October 1966 and November 1967 in Baltimore. Maddie starts her journalistic career as a go-for at a Baltimore newspaper, The Star. But she becomes fascinated by the death of a missing woman whose body was discovered in the fountain of a city park lake. Little by little, Maddie learns how to investigate a crime and how to write in newspaper format. Laura Lippman enriches her novel with chapters narrated by a jewelry store clerk, a troubled waitress, a star player on the Baltimore Orioles, a Baltimore cop, a veteran female reporter, and the ghost of the victim which provide both detail and context.

Lady in the Lake captures the sense of change of the Sixties and the roles women in America. GRADE: B

19 thoughts on “LADY IN THE LAKE By Laura Lippman

  1. Steve Oerkfitz

    I have read all of her Tess Monaghan novels and liked them. I have a copy of her previous novel Sunburn from the library and will probably be reading it soon. This one sounds partially autobiographical.

      1. Steve Oerkfitz

        Referring back to yesterdays post. I found a copy of Goodbye Pops by Joe Gores. Was not very impressed. Struck me as rather slight and I am a fan of Gore’s novels. Unless I am missing something (would not be the first time).

  2. Michael Padgett

    I’ve read quite a few of Lippman’s novels, including this one, which I thought worked better as a novel about journalism than as a crime novel. My favorite is “What the Dead Know”.

  3. Jeff Meyerson

    I loved Lippman’s short story about The Book Thing in Baltimore, the store we visited during the last Bouchercon there.

  4. Patti Abbott

    My favorite is also WHAT THE DEAD KNOW. I also liked SUNBURN a lot. This one didn’t work as well for me. Maddie was not a compelling character, I think. I didn’t mind her being unlikable. I just thought she was uninteresting. And the multiple POVs just petered out midway through.

  5. Jeff Smith

    I liked this a lot, and I liked the multiple POVs. I liked the way you would meet a character from the outside and then get in their head. It did seem like a novel novel rather than a crime novel, with the murders just incidents among other things that were happening, although the story wouldn’t exist without them.

    1. george Post author

      Jeff, you must have recognized plenty of the sites and locations Laura Lippman referred to in LADY IN THE LAKE. I think Baltimore is a great place despite our President’s comments about it.


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