My Review: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.
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.
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: 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--and the dead woman herself. Maddie's going to find the truth about Cleo's life and death. Cleo's ghost, privy to Maddie's poking and prying, wants to be left alone.
Maddie's investigation brings her into contact with people that used to be on the periphery of her life--a jewelery 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 the man who shares her bed, a black police officer who cares for Maddie more than she knows.
I probably preferred the last book by Laura Lippman, Sunburn, to this one but this was a solid read and definitely unique. It had so many POV - essentially any scene involving one of two main characters was followed by a chapter from a POV of one of the characters in the last chapter. The POVs were done well, however, and I've never read something portrayed from so very many perspectives. I liked to be in both Maddie's head and Cleo's head, and the journalistic homage. Definitely recommend this for fans of this author and/or an interesting mystery.
My family and I ate black-eyed peas for the New Year. Do you know the custom? It's supposed to bring luck. My father didn't like it. He didn't like anything that had the faintest shade of hoodoo to it. If you spilled salt on the table, he thought it better to just let it be. He would walk under ladders, cross any black cat's path. To my father, superstitions were godless. Live right, follow the Ten Commandments, and you wouldn't have to worry about ladders or cats or the number thirteen. But he let my mam make black-eyed peas on New Year's Day, as long as we didn't talk about it, and I believed in those peas.