Lady in the Lake by Laura Lippman [6/10]

I’ve been a Laura Lippman fan since her engaging Tess Monaghan series. “Lady in the Lake,” her latest standalone mystery extends her writing chops with some unusual elements. The tale of a young Jewish Baltimore woman in the mid 60s, who shrugs off husband and children to pursue a newspaper reporting career, revolves around missing women, the latest found in a drained water fountain. As usual, Lippman plunges us into a rich, complex world of many characters (aka suspects), and her prose is lively and sure-footed, but although I enjoyed a speedy read, two aspects left me wishing for the certainty of those Tess Monaghan days. “Lady in the Lake” employs the somewhat daring strategy of bringing in pithy personal tales of bystander characters, presumably to enrich the novel’s themes; to me, they just slowed down the plot. And the book’s specific mystery resolution was not only always a plot possibility, it provided little closure. Another well executed tale but lacking snap.

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