The Girl in the Green* Raincoat by Laura Lippman

17th March 2011

“I am being held hostage,” Tess Monaghan whispered into her iPhone. “By a terrorist. The agenda is unclear, the demands vague, but she’s prepared to hold me here for at least two months. Twelve weeks or eighteen years, depending on how you look at it.”

“Nice way to talk about our future child,” said her boyfriend.

Thus begins Laura Lippman’s novella The Girl in the Green Raincoat. Tess Monahan is on bedrest, and she’s not thrilled about it. Unused to rest or dependence on others, she is forced to amuse herself, people watching from a chaise lounge with her cell phone and laptop nearby when a girl in a green raincoat walks by with her dog, who is similarly attired. She catches the attention of Tess, who notices the next day the dog running free on its leash, no owner in sight. Tess runs her own investigative firm, and her curiosity is piqued. In modern Rear Window style and relying on the Internet and a few friends as well as her own keen nose for the truth, Tess delves into the background of a very unlucky man and his equally unlucky (and dead) wives.

Originally written as a serial in The New York Times, The Girl in the Green Raincoat is a fun, fast-paced read and a perfect introduction to, what I understand is, a great series. Plus, I just love the idea of a serial. It’s a quaint notion – to sit and read a novella through a series of publications, waiting for the next installment, anticipating it.

Have you read this or any other Tess Monaghan? If so, which should I pick up next?

jenn aka the picky girl

Read this one: immediately / asap / when you get a chance / if you’re bored


*And yes, I may have held off on this review just so I could post it on St. Paddy’s Day. Green IS my favorite color, after all. To see some of my favorite greens, check out last year’s post.


Don’t take my word for it….

Linus’s Blanket

Devourer of Books

Booking Mama

  • cat

    This looks like an interesting, fun, quick and light read! Thank you for the review – I love learning of new books I may otherwise not have come across. Tess sounds like a character to whom I can relate.

    • pickygirl

      Thank you for stopping by. It really was just as you describe it. I had seen several reviews, so when I saw it on my library’s “Just In” shelf, I had to get it.

  • Hadn’t heard of this- sounds like a lot of fun. Thanks for the intro!

    • pickygirl

      It really was. Short and sweet. On occasion, you need something just like that.

  • I didn’t realize that this was a series. I’ve only read one Lippman book before and I didn’t like it too much – though the writing was good and the suspense edge-of-the-seat type. I like the sound of this one though. Have to check it out, esp since it’s short too.

    • pickygirl

      I’ve heard it is actually much lighter than her others. It can definitely stand alone.

  • I haven’t read her Monaghan series; have only read Lippman’s standalones. While I found the language wonderful, I had a hard time identifying with the characters. After reading and being underwhelmed by three of her books now, I don’t think I want to pick up another one, even though people tell me the series is good.

  • Can’t wait to read this. I love novellas, and especially really, really New York-y ones like this. Thanks for the rec!

    • pickygirl

      Did I say New York? I think it’s actually set in Baltimore. Let me go back and look. Novellas set in New York.. hmm. It’s not a novella, but have you read An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin? I will review it this week, and it was awesome. Very New York.

  • Brian Brady

    I just finished two stand-alones, ‘What the Dead Know'(03/07) and ‘Life Sentences’ (03/09). I liked Laura Lippman’s style of writing so much, and I love P.I. books too much, I just made a list of the Tess Monaghan books and started reading book 1 two nights ago. 1) ‘Baltimore Blues’ (02/97)
    2) ‘Charm City (10/97)
    3) ‘Butcher’s Hill (07/98)
    4) ‘In Big Trouble’ (09/99)
    5) ‘The Sugar House’ (09/00)
    6) ‘In a Strange City’ (09/01)
    7) ‘The Last Place’ (10/02)
    8) ‘By a Spider’s Thread (07/04)
    9) ‘No Good Deed’ (07/06)
    10) ‘Another Thing To Fall’ (03/08)
    11) ‘Hardly Knew Her’ (10/08) [Anthology w/ 2 Tess short stories]
    12) ‘The Girl In The Green Rain Coat’ (01/11) [Serialized collection]

    • pickygirl

      That’s good to know, especially the order. I love finding any author when there are already several books out because I hate nothing more than to find a great book and then have to wait a year for the next one. Thanks for posting that!

  • I totally bought this on a whim at one of the Borders that was closing in the city. I’ve read 3 Laura Lippman books now: What the Dead Know, Every Secret Thing, and Life Sentences, all of which have been stand-alones (although there were a couple of overlapping characters in EST and LS). I tend to gravitate toward stand-alones when it comes to mysteries, which is no easy feat! but this was so slim and the cover so green and inviting I thought, what the hell? I wish I could recommend some other Tess Monaghan to you but this is going to be my first too. That said, I’m looking forward to it because of your review!

    • pickygirl

      Ah, see, and I’m the opposite. I love a good series. But yes, isn’t the cover great? It really is inviting – great way to describe it. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you enjoy.