Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:
<p>A New York Times Bestseller</p> <p>The revered New York Times bestselling author returns with a novel set in 1960s Baltimore that combines modern psychological insights with elements of classic noir, about a middle-aged housewife turned aspiring reporter who pursues the murder of a forgotten young woman. </p> <p>In 1966, Baltimore is a city of secrets that everyone seems to know--everyone, that is, except Madeline "Maddie" Schwartz. Last year, she was a happy, even pampered housewife. This year, she's bolted from her marriage of almost twenty years, determined to make good on her youthful ambitions to live a passionate, meaningful life.</p> <p>Maddie wants to matter, to leave her mark on a swiftly changing world. Drawing on her own secrets, she helps Baltimore police find a murdered girl--assistance that leads to a job at the city's afternoon newspaper, the Star. Working at the newspaper offers Maddie the opportunity to make her name, and she has found just the story to do it: Cleo Sherwood, a missing woman whose body was discovered in the fountain of a city park lake.</p> <p>If Cleo were white, every reporter in Baltimore would be clamoring to tell her story. Instead, her mysterious death receives only cursory mention in the daily newspapers, and no one cares when Maddie starts poking around in a young Black woman's life--except for Cleo's ghost, who is determined to keep her secrets and her dignity. Cleo scolds the ambitious Maddie: You're interested in my death, not my life. They're not the same thing.</p> <p>Maddie's investigation brings her into contact with people that used to be on the periphery of her life--a jewelry store clerk, a waitress, a rising star on the Baltimore Orioles, a patrol cop, a hardened female reporter, a lonely man in a movie theater. But for all her ambition and drive, Maddie often fails to see the people right in front of her. Her inability to look beyond her own needs will lead to tragedy and turmoil for all sorts of people--including Ferdie, the man who shares her bed, a police officer who is risking far more than Maddie can understand.</p>
Includes author's note.
1966, Baltimore. Last year Madeline "Maddie" Schwartz was a happy, even pampered housewife. This year, she's bolted from her marriage of almost twenty years, determined to make good on her youthful ambitions to live a passionate, meaningful life. When she helps Baltimore police find a murdered girl, it leads to a job at the city's afternoon newspaper, the Star. This is Maddie's opportunity to make her name, and she has found just the story to do it: a missing woman whose body was discovered in the fountain of a city park lake. Cleo Sherwood was a young African-American woman who liked to have a good time. No one seems to know or care why she was killed except Maddie. Cleo's ghost, privy to Maddie's poking and prying, wants to be left alone. -- Adapted from jacket.
Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal Review
Two murders in mid-1960s Baltimore change the life of 37-year-old housewife Madeline Morgenstern Schwartz. Maddie has already decided to leave her husband, Milton, when she's turned away from a search group of Jewish men looking for missing 11-year-old Tessie Fine. On impulse, she heads to the arboretum where she used to park with dates and spots Tessie's body. Her subsequent interview by a newspaper columnist sparks her interest in reporting, and her persistence gets her hired as assistant to the paper's helpline column writer. When she responds to a question about why lights are out in a park, police find the body of long-missing Cleo Sherwood, an African American woman, in the fountain. Maddie may be untrained and inexperienced, but she's ambitious and persistent, writing to the suspect in Tessie's murder and searching for hints to Cleo's. First-person accounts by persons who interact with Maddie--including Cleo's, in italics--add texture and insight to what Lippman describes as "a newspaper novel." VERDICT While short of the adrenaline-fueled suspense of other Lippman stand-alones (Sunburn), this work captures a time and place as it mixes fact with its fiction, plus a protagonist who challenges norms. With its well-drawn characters and lucid prose, this newspaper novel shines. [See Prepub Alert, 1/23/19.]--Michele Leber, Arlington, VA
Publishers Weekly Review
Set in 1960s Baltimore, this smoldering standalone from Edgar winner Lippman (Sunburn) trails Madeline Schwartz, an affluent 37-year-old Jewish housewife who separates from her husband after dinner with an old classmate reminds her that she once had goals beyond marriage and motherhood. Maddie relishes her newfound freedom, renting an apartment downtown and starting an affair with a black patrolman, but she yearns for more. After discovering the corpse of 11-year-old Tessie Fine and later corresponding with Tessie's incarcerated killer to determine his motive, Maddie leverages her story for an assistant's position at the Star. She dreams of becoming a reporter, though, and starts investigating a crime otherwise ignored by the newspaper: the murder of Cleo Sherwood, a young black woman whose body turned up in the Druid Hill Park fountain. Lippman relates the bulk of the tale from Maddie's perspective, but enriches the narrative with derisive commentary from Cleo and stunning vignettes of ancillary characters. Lippman's fans will devour this sophisticated crime novel, which captures the era's zeitgeist while painting a striking portrait of unapologetic female ambition. Agent: Vicky Bijur, Vicky Bijur Literary. (July) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Laura Lippman and Thomas Perry have something in common. As good as their crime series are, they both show the full range of their talents more completely in their stand-alones, as Lippman demonstrates in this riveting historical thriller set in Baltimore in the 1960s. In A Doll's House fashion, Madeline ""Maddie"" Schwartz walks away from a seemingly happy marriage to carve a life for herself, landing a clerical job at a Baltimore newspaper and setting the goal of becoming a reporter. It happens, but slowly and not without causing significant injury to the lives of others in her wake. Maddie becomes obsessed with the story of Cleo Sherwood, an African American cocktail waitress whose body is found in the lake of a city park. As she jumps between Cleo's life before her body is discovered and Maddie's attempt to solve the crime (in which her paper has little interest), Lippman does some innovative things with narrative: not only does the ghost of Cleo speak directly to the reader, excoriating the reporter for digging into the past that Cleo wants left undisturbed, but we also hear from a Greek chorus-like assembly of voices, some fictional, some historical (including former Baltimore Oriole Paul Blair and Violet Wilson Whyte, the first black person to be appointed to the city's police force), who add texture to the portrayal of the city's racial politics. In the middle of all that is Maddie, a significantly flawed especially in her relationship with her black lover, a Baltimore cop but always compelling figure, an utterly human mix of compassion and self-centered ambition. This is a superb character study, a terrific newspaper novel, and a fascinating look at urban life and racial discrimination in the '60s.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Lippman's critical acclaim and sales figures continue to climb, and this genre-crossing thriller will extend her reach still further.--Bill Ott Copyright 2019 Booklist
Kirkus Book Review
Baltimore in the 1960s is the setting for this historical fiction about a real-life unsolved drowning.In her most ambitious work to date, Lippman (Sunburn, 2018, etc.) tells the story of Maddie Schwartz, an attractive 37-year-old Jewish housewife who abruptly leaves her husband and son to pursue a long-held ambition to be a journalist, and Cleo Sherwood, an African-American cocktail waitress about whom little is known. Sherwood's body was found in a lake in a city park months after she disappeared, and while no one else seems to care enough to investigate, Maddie becomes obsessedpartly due to certain similarities she perceives between her life and Cleo's, partly due to her faith in her own detective skills. The story unfolds from Maddie's point of view as well as that of Cleo's ghost, who seems to be watching from behind the scenes, commenting acerbically on Maddie's nosing around like a bull in a china shop after getting a job at one of the city papers. Added to these are a chorus of Baltimore characters who make vivid one-time appearances: a jewelry store clerk, an about-to-be-murdered schoolgirl, "Mr. Helpline," a bartender, a political operative, a waitress, a Baltimore Oriole, the first African-American female policewoman (these last two are based on real people), and many more. Maddie's ambition propels her forward despite the cost to others, including the family of the deceased and her own secret lover, a black policeman. Lippman's high-def depiction of 1960s Baltimore and the atmosphere of the newsroom at that timeshe interviewed associates of her father, Baltimore Sun journalist Theo Lippman Jr., for the detailsground the book in fascinating historical fact.The literary gambit she balances atop that foundationthe collage of voicesworks impressively, showcasing the author's gift for rhythms of speech. The story is bigger than the crime, and the crime is bigger than its solution, making Lippman's skill as a mystery novelist work as icing on the cake.The racism, classism, and sexism of 50 years ago wrapped up in a stylish, sexy, suspenseful period drama about a newsroom and the city it covers. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.