Hush Hush by Laura Lippman, narrated by Jan Maxwell, is the 12th book in the Tess Monaghan series, but it’s not necessary to read these books in order.
As a new mother, Monaghan, a private detective, struggles with her ability to parent well, and she’s often her harshest critic. Her concerns about her own parenting skills are the backdrop to the case she’s working involving the “baby killer” Melisandre Harris Dawes, who left her two-month-old daughter locked in a car while she sat nearby on the shores of the Patapsco River. She was found not guilty by reason of criminal insanity, but when she’s back from a stint abroad to avoid the press and tries to reconnect with her two daughters and film a reunion documentary, the process is much harder than she expects, especially as her ex-husband strives to keep her out of their lives.
Baltimore comes alive in this novel, as Lippman is careful to supply readers with both the good and bad elements of the city. As Monaghan struggles with her new role as a mother and to pay the bills, she and her partner Sandy Sanchez have little choice by to take up her mentor and close friend Tyner Gray’s offer to assess Melisandre’s security needs. In the midst of this, people end up dying, and the finger starts pointing at her client. Jan Maxwell is an excellent narrator, particularly when she has to narrate the dialogue for a very manipulative and closed off woman.
Hush Hush by Laura Lippman, narrated by Jan Maxwell, was a twisted tale that will have mothers everywhere praising their own parenting abilities in comparison to Melisandre. Monaghan, like most new mothers, must juggle new responsibilities with their jobs, but at least her partner provides some help, as do her parents and daycare. She’s a brilliant woman who struggles to do it all, but in many ways, the book is a cautionary tale. Mothers should not have to do it all, and they should be able to ask for help and rely on others.
About the Author:
Laura Lippman was a reporter for twenty years, including twelve years at The (Baltimore) Sun. She began writing novels while working fulltime and published seven books about “accidental PI” Tess Monaghan before leaving daily journalism in 2001. Her work has been awarded the Edgar ®, the Anthony, the Agatha, the Shamus, the Nero Wolfe, Gumshoe and Barry awards. She also has been nominated for other prizes in the crime fiction field, including the Hammett and the Macavity. She was the first-ever recipient of the Mayor’s Prize for Literary Excellence and the first genre writer recognized as Author of the Year by the Maryland Library Association.
Ms. Lippman grew up in Baltimore and attended city schools through ninth grade. After graduating from Wilde Lake High School in Columbia, Md., Ms. Lippman attended Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Her other newspaper jobs included the Waco Tribune-Herald and the San Antonio Light.
Ms. Lippman returned to Baltimore in 1989 and has lived there since. She is the daughter of Theo Lippman Jr., a Sun editorial writer who retired in 1995 but continues to freelance for several newspapers, and Madeline Mabry Lippman, a former Baltimore City school librarian. Her sister, Susan, is a local bookseller.