Morrow, Sept 2001, 24.00, 368 pp.
Nobody loves and appreciates Baltimore more than Tess Monahan, who has seen the city's seamier side and still thinks it is a beautiful place. The former reporter turned private detective would not think of living anywhere else as her roots go deep into the city's soul.
Every night on January 19th, the visitor comes to Poe's grave, leaving behind a glass of cognac and roses on his final resting site. Ironically, the first and only time Tess goes to the grave to see the Visitor two men show up, one killing the other. Earlier in the day, a wannabe client wants Tess to find out the identity of the Visitor because he believes the Visitor hid money that belongs to him. The police think the victim is not the Visitor and plead for the client to come in so they can ask him some questions since he was a witness. Tess would like to stay out of the mess altogether but that proves impossible to do when somebody leaves half a bottle of cognac and some roses on her doorstep. More incidents concerning the murder draw her deeper into the homicide than any other one she has previously investigated.
Laura Lippman defines Baltimore and her love for her chosen city shines brightly on every page of IN A STRANGE CITY. People who read this book will definitely want to take a vacation to this city to enjoy its uniqueness. Ms. Lippman has created a complex and fascinating linear story line that will leave the audience guessing on the who and why of the killing until the last chapter.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner