• Baltimore Blues

  • Tess Monaghan, Book 1
  • By: Laura Lippman
  • Narrated by: Deborah Hazlett
  • Length: 9 hrs and 55 mins
  • 3.8 out of 5 stars (1,474 ratings)

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Baltimore Blues  By  cover art

Baltimore Blues

By: Laura Lippman
Narrated by: Deborah Hazlett
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Publisher's Summary

Unemployed at 29, Tess Monaghan is willing to take any freelance job to pay the rent—including a bit of unorthodox snooping for her rowing buddy, Darryl "Rock" Paxton. In a city where someone is murdered almost every day, attorney Michael Abramowitz's death should be just another statistic. But the slain lawyer's notoriety—and his noontime trysts with Rock's fiancée—make the case front page news...and point to Rock as the likely murderer. But trying to prove her friend's innocence could prove costly to Tess.

©1997 Laura Lippman (P)2008 BBC Audiobooks

What listeners say about Baltimore Blues

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

I'm on #8 - This series is almost unique

Why can't more "gentle" contemporary detective novels like this series be created? I usually avoid U.S. contemporaries because of the
*poor quality of prose
*over-the-top plots
*even more over-the-top action heroes and Barbie heroines who can run in designer shoes
*campy dialogue
*even campier formulaic gratuitous sex and violence scenes and
*overall dumbness factor

This series avoids the above and has the strength of quirky characters (but not TOO quirky) and a strong city setting. Lippman almost does for Baltimore what Rankin does for Edinburgh. Tess usually takes on a social issue (secondary to the plot), which may put off some readers. Except for #2 in the series (Charm City), I think Lippman grows stronger in her craft in each.

As for the narrator, Barabara Rosenblatt, who is much criticized in reviews of this series - I am among the minority who don't like her as the voice of Amelia Peabody, but I love her as Tess Monaghan I don't get the criticisms voicied here--- She doesn't slobber over the vowels -- I think her delivery is part of her fresh take on impulsive Tess. She reads as if speaking, so - yes - there are some human sounds. She is not Microsoft Anna!

So - if you seek a listen to relax, to be engrossed (and not grossed out or blood pressure raised), try this.

124 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Better than I expected

When I want a "who done it", I generally gravitate towards British authors. Americans usually have too much ... something: gratuitous vulgarity or sex or violence or all of the above. The heroines in such novels always seem to make a habit of doing the same remarkably stupid thing over and over. "Gosh. The last time I went out alone investigating a dark and lonely warehouse, I almost died! Well...things like that never happen twice!" And they do.

I was most impressed with this book. It was guilty of none of the above. Personally, I can't help but love an author that can manage to use the word "penultimate" in the very earliest chapters of a story. That sort of thing suggests a deep appreciation for the possibilities of language, a true writer.

I enjoyed listening. The action was well-balanced. I almost didn't know who did it until it was revealed. The city of Baltimore is treated as another character in the story, which is a nice touch. I have no criticisms of the narrator.

I believe I'll go get book #2 now.

52 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Very interesting; couldn't stop listening

It pulled me in immediately with descriptive writing and effective narration that allowed me to see and feel the story unfolding. It left me with a very vivid picture and a desire to hear more about Tess and the other characters which are likely to appear in subsequent books. I'm not sure why I initially chose this, but my next picks will be others in this series.

37 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Great Start to a new Series

I know, I know this series has been out for a while, but this is the first book and totally new to me. I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery/thriller. Tess is a likeable character, story starts with her being unemployed and doing menial tasks for various people. Her close friend and rowing partner asks her to follow his fiance who has been acting strange, she does so and lo and behold finds she has a knack for it. By the end of the book others have come to realize her sluething skills as well. Thus we have the start of PI Tess.
The Narrator did a decent job and made the story enjoyable.
This one is a winner. A wonderful, clean, not too much romance/sex story. I would recommend getting this one.

27 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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This is a 'real time' mystery.

Where does Baltimore Blues rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is the best I've listened to in many months. Perhaps because I once was a reporter, I really identified with Tess and her predicament when her newspaper folded. I liked the fact that this is a real mystery, not a disguised "romance" novel.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Baltimore Blues?

SPOILER ALERT! I held my breath, knowing what was coming when the car started up without its headlights. But the details, the word pictures, were not so predictable. The entire book kept me spellbound.

Any additional comments?

I immediately took advantage of the sale and bought the next three in the series. I know I'll buy the others as well.

25 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Baltimore Blues

Hard to get into. I am having a hard time listening to this, she just seems to jump around and not get to the point. I haven't completed listening because of this.

16 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Excellent

Great book with many twists and turns. I almost didn't buy this book because of the negative reviews. So glad I didn't listen to them.

15 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

story was interestering

If you want a book that is not violent, not many curse words
(I think they say the F bomb once), sex, drugs, humor, or action this book is for you.
The story was good just not full of anything that would put me on the edge of my seat.
I have to say that I'm not keen on women narrators, sorry, a lot of women use funny voices for the man parts, (they seem to try to hard) but I think Deborah did a great job and did not grate on my nerves.
I was hoping for more to motivate me in the series, but I may try the second book in the series.

14 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Too contemporary for me

This book seemed to be firmly embedded into values that I don't think serve anyone well and that I'm tired of. I stopped reading. Perhaps younger women, who believe in the current mores and haven't woken up to how much it is hurting them, would like it.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Hurray for Baltimore Blues

When I started listening to this book, it initially seemed rather ordinary--okay, but nothing special. But as I continued listening, the story and narrator both seemed to hit their pace, and I think it became quite good.

Tess is an out of work reporter, who goes rowing with her friend "Rock" every morning. One day he asks her to spy on his fiancee, who is worrying him with her strange behaviors. Tess agrees to do that, and finds herself discovering more than she bargained for.

In this book, she begins to develop skills that appear to be positioning her to become a full time private eye in future stories. I would say that even though it was a little slow in the beginning, the narration and story both proved to be excellent, and I look forward to reading the next in the series.

I was, at first, a little off-put by the narrator's stressing of native words like "Balmer" (for Baltimore)--which is accurate, but not so obvious in ordinary conversation. But even that got toned down by about the middle of the book. Strongly recommend.

8 people found this helpful