By a Spider’s Thread by Laura Lippman, book 8 in the Tess Monaghan series (William Morrow, 2004), 368 pages
Mark Rubin, orthodox Jew and wealthy Baltimore furrier, insists that he had a perfectly happy marriage, despite the fact that his wife and three children vanished. The police won’t help, so he comes to Tess.
I blew through most of this series this fall. I’m not planning on reviewing most of them, though; I just don’t feel like I have much to say about them. They were all enjoyable, but mostly quickly forgotten. And since I read five of them back to back, they kind of blend together in my mind.
Really, this one is no exception. I have but one rant, and it’s really more of an editing rant than a beef with the actual story, but it won’t leave me alone, so here I am. Note: I read the hardcover, so maybe (hopefully!) this was fixed in later editions already.
Speaking of Tess’s newly formed country-wide group of female private detectives, the book states:
“There were still some wide-open places to be filled — they had no one to cover the vast swath west of the Mississippi and east of the Rockies, and an Atlanta connection would have been helpful. But they were otherwise solid along the eastern seaboard and could do most of Texas and the Pacific Coast in a pinch.”~page 30, By a Spider’s Thread
See the problem?
Yes, I’m probably more attuned to it than some, since I live in that vast wasteland known as the Midwest. But there’s no excuse for screwing up (so badly) on geography. Look at a map! Most of Texas lies between the Rocky Mountains and the Mississippi River.
I understand that Tess lives in Baltimore and hasn’t ever ventured far from there and is probably clueless about this, as so many people who live on the coasts are. But this paragraph wasn’t really in her words. It should have been accurate.
Anyway, like I said, I’ve generally enjoyed this series. I like how rooted they are in their place, and Tess and her family are delightfully flawed.
I think my favorite aspect of this book is how her partly Jewish, partly not, background tugs on Tess in various scenarios.
Rating: 3 stars
About the author
Laura Lippman grew up in Baltimore and returned there in 1989 to work as a journalist. She has won numerous awards for her work. I interviewed her last year. Her most recently published is The Most Dangerous Thing.
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