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Lady in the Lake
Cover of Lady in the Lake
Lady in the Lake
A Novel
Borrow Borrow

SOON TO BE A SERIES FROM APPLE TV!

A New York Times Bestseller

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: Cleo Sherwood, a missing woman whose body was discovered in the fountain of a city park lake.

If Cleo were white, every reporter in Baltimore would be clamoring to tell her story. Instead, her mysterious death receives only cursory mention in the daily newspapers, and no one cares when Maddie starts poking around in a young Black woman's life—except for Cleo's ghost, who is determined to keep her secrets and her dignity. Cleo scolds the ambitious Maddie: You're interested in my death, not my life. They're not the same thing.

Maddie's investigation brings her into contact with people that used to be on the periphery of her life—a jewelry 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 Ferdie, the man who shares her bed, a police officer who is risking far more than Maddie can understand.

SOON TO BE A SERIES FROM APPLE TV!

A New York Times Bestseller

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: Cleo Sherwood, a missing woman whose body was discovered in the fountain of a city park lake.

If Cleo were white, every reporter in Baltimore would be clamoring to tell her story. Instead, her mysterious death receives only cursory mention in the daily newspapers, and no one cares when Maddie starts poking around in a young Black woman's life—except for Cleo's ghost, who is determined to keep her secrets and her dignity. Cleo scolds the ambitious Maddie: You're interested in my death, not my life. They're not the same thing.

Maddie's investigation brings her into contact with people that used to be on the periphery of her life—a jewelry 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 Ferdie, the man who shares her bed, a police officer who is risking far more than Maddie can understand.

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About the Author-
  • Since Laura Lippman's debut in 1997, she has been recognized as a distinctive voice in mystery fiction and named one of the "essential" crime writers of the last 100 years. Her books have won most of the major awards in her field and been translated into more than twenty languages. She lives in Baltimore and New Orleans with her daughter.

Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    April 15, 2019
    Baltimore in the 1960s is the setting for this historical fiction about a real-life unsolved drowning. In her most ambitious work to date, Lippman (Sunburn, 2018, etc.) tells the story of Maddie Schwartz, an attractive 37-year-old Jewish housewife who abruptly leaves her husband and son to pursue a long-held ambition to be a journalist, and Cleo Sherwood, an African-American cocktail waitress about whom little is known. Sherwood's body was found in a lake in a city park months after she disappeared, and while no one else seems to care enough to investigate, Maddie becomes obsessed--partly due to certain similarities she perceives between her life and Cleo's, partly due to her faith in her own detective skills. The story unfolds from Maddie's point of view as well as that of Cleo's ghost, who seems to be watching from behind the scenes, commenting acerbically on Maddie's nosing around like a bull in a china shop after getting a job at one of the city papers. Added to these are a chorus of Baltimore characters who make vivid one-time appearances: a jewelry store clerk, an about-to-be-murdered schoolgirl, "Mr. Helpline," a bartender, a political operative, a waitress, a Baltimore Oriole, the first African-American female policewoman (these last two are based on real people), and many more. Maddie's ambition propels her forward despite the cost to others, including the family of the deceased and her own secret lover, a black policeman. Lippman's high-def depiction of 1960s Baltimore and the atmosphere of the newsroom at that time--she interviewed associates of her father, Baltimore Sun journalist Theo Lippman Jr., for the details--ground the book in fascinating historical fact.The literary gambit she balances atop that foundation--the collage of voices--works impressively, showcasing the author's gift for rhythms of speech. The story is bigger than the crime, and the crime is bigger than its solution, making Lippman's skill as a mystery novelist work as icing on the cake. The racism, classism, and sexism of 50 years ago wrapped up in a stylish, sexy, suspenseful period drama about a newsroom and the city it covers.

    COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from May 6, 2019
    Set in 1960s Baltimore, this smoldering standalone from Edgar winner Lippman (Sunburn) trails Madeline Schwartz, an affluent 37-year-old Jewish housewife who separates from her husband after dinner with an old classmate reminds her that she once had goals beyond marriage and motherhood. Maddie relishes her newfound freedom, renting an apartment downtown and starting an affair with a black patrolman, but she yearns for more. After discovering the corpse of 11-year-old Tessie Fine and later corresponding with Tessie’s incarcerated killer to determine his motive, Maddie leverages her story for an assistant’s position at the Star. She dreams of becoming a reporter, though, and starts investigating a crime otherwise ignored by the newspaper: the murder of Cleo Sherwood, a young black woman whose body turned up in the Druid Hill Park fountain. Lippman relates the bulk of the tale from Maddie’s perspective, but enriches the narrative with derisive commentary from Cleo and stunning vignettes of ancillary characters. Lippman’s fans will devour this sophisticated crime novel, which captures the era’s zeitgeist while painting a striking portrait of unapologetic female ambition. Agent: Vicky Bijur, Vicky Bijur Literary.

  • Library Journal

    July 1, 2019

    Two murders in mid-1960s Baltimore change the life of 37-year-old housewife Madeline Morgenstern Schwartz. Maddie has already decided to leave her husband, Milton, when she's turned away from a search group of Jewish men looking for missing 11-year-old Tessie Fine. On impulse, she heads to the arboretum where she used to park with dates and spots Tessie's body. Her subsequent interview by a newspaper columnist sparks her interest in reporting, and her persistence gets her hired as assistant to the paper's helpline column writer. When she responds to a question about why lights are out in a park, police find the body of long-missing Cleo Sherwood, an African American woman, in the fountain. Maddie may be untrained and inexperienced, but she's ambitious and persistent, writing to the suspect in Tessie's murder and searching for hints to Cleo's. First-person accounts by persons who interact with Maddie--including Cleo's, in italics--add texture and insight to what Lippman describes as "a newspaper novel." VERDICT While short of the adrenaline-fueled suspense of other Lippman stand-alones (Sunburn), this work captures a time and place as it mixes fact with its fiction, plus a protagonist who challenges norms. With its well-drawn characters and lucid prose, this newspaper novel shines. [See Prepub Alert, 1/23/19.]--Michele Leber, Arlington, VA

    Copyright 2019 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from May 1, 2019
    Laura Lippman and Thomas Perry have something in common. As good as their crime series are, they both show the full range of their talents more completely in their stand-alones, as Lippman demonstrates in this riveting historical thriller set in Baltimore in the 1960s. In A Doll's House fashion, Madeline "Maddie" Schwartz walks away from a seemingly happy marriage to carve a life for herself, landing a clerical job at a Baltimore newspaper and setting the goal of becoming a reporter. It happens, but slowly and not without causing significant injury to the lives of others in her wake. Maddie becomes obsessed with the story of Cleo Sherwood, an African American cocktail waitress whose body is found in the lake of a city park. As she jumps between Cleo's life before her body is discovered and Maddie's attempt to solve the crime (in which her paper has little interest), Lippman does some innovative things with narrative: not only does the ghost of Cleo speak directly to the reader, excoriating the reporter for digging into the past that Cleo wants left undisturbed, but we also hear from a Greek chorus-like assembly of voices, some fictional, some historical (including former Baltimore Oriole Paul Blair and Violet Wilson Whyte, the first black person to be appointed to the city's police force), who add texture to the portrayal of the city's racial politics. In the middle of all that is Maddie, a significantly flawed?especially in her relationship with her black lover, a Baltimore cop?but always compelling figure, an utterly human mix of compassion and self-centered ambition. This is a superb character study, a terrific newspaper novel, and a fascinating look at urban life and racial discrimination in the '60s.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Lippman's critical acclaim and sales figures continue to climb, and this genre-crossing thriller will extend her reach still further.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2019, American Library Association.)

  • Stephen King

    "...the closest writer America has to Ruth Rendell.... What makes this book special, even extraordinary, is that the crossword puzzle aspect is secondary...[Lady in the Lake] reflects the gulf which then existed between what women were expected to be and what they aspired to be." — Stephen King

    "Don't miss this novel." — Anna Quindlen, New York Times bestselling author

    "A cavalcade of narrators—including Cleo's ghost, who wants Maddie to stop poking into her world—and Lippman's expert storytelling bring the city's tensions wondrously to life." — People

    "[Lippman] only seems to be getting better." — Entertainment Weekly

    "[Lippman] tells a classic mystery through the prism of many characters, all feeling the reverberations of dawning feminism and racial tension in civil-rights-era Baltimore...Lady in the Lake is aching, thoughtful, and compulsively readable." — Vanity Fair

    "Baltimore in the mid-1960s is the setting of Lady in the Lake, the latest novel from the ever impressive Laura Lippman...Lippman's book is revelatory, too, in showing the personal and professional costs to others—friends, loved ones, sources, witnesses—of Maddie's single-minded quest for achievement and recognition." — Wall Street Journal

    "Elegantly written, the novel moves with an eye to how people adapt to changes in culture, or maybe how an evolving culture causes shifts in people...Lippman again proves she's a sharp observer of people, with an affinity for shaping complicated people in a refined plot." — Associated Press

    "Inspired by the unsolved death of Shirley Parker... Lippman's ambitious novel weaves some 20 points of view into a seamless, vivid whole. The novel demonstrates that Lippman, a former Baltimore Sun reporter, is both a skilled journalist and a masterful novelist." — Washington Post

    "Lippman's fans will devour this sophisticated crime novel, which captures the era's zeitgeist while painting a striking portrait of unapologetic female ambition." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

    "The story is bigger than the crime, and the crime is bigger than its solution, making Lippman's skill as a mystery novelist work as icing on the cake. The racism, classism, and sexism of 50 years ago wrapped up in a stylish, sexy, suspenseful period drama..." — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

    "...as much a mystery as it is a stylized look at life in 1966 Baltimore. Another must read from Lippman." — Popsugar

    "Riveting...This is a superb character study, a terrific newspaper novel, and a fascinating look at urban life and racial discrimination in the '60s...Lippman's critical acclaim and sales figures continue to climb, and this genre-crossing thriller will extend her reach still further." — Booklist (starred review)

    Praise for Sunburn:
    “Suspenseful as hell, and she writes like a dream. . . . Lippman's always good, but this is a cut above.” — Stephen King

    Praise for Sunburn: “Every time Laura Lippman comes out with a new book, I get chills because I know I am back in the hands of the master...Sunburn is her dark, gleaming noir gem. Read it.” — Gillian Flynn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Gone Girl

    Praise for Sunburn: “Fast-paced and unpredictable, Sunburn is a smart, sly riff on love in a world of...

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