Lady in the Lake

Lady in the Lake

by Laura Lippman

Hardcover

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Overview

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

Cleo Sherwood was a young black 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 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 the man who shares her bed, a black police officer who cares for Maddie more than she knows.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062390011
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 07/23/2019
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 3,352
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.40(d)

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 family.

Hometown:

Baltimore, Maryland

Date of Birth:

January 31, 1959

Place of Birth:

Atlanta, Georgia

Education:

B.S., Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University, 1981

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Lady in the Lake: A Novel 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
Meemo_B 20 days ago
There's so much going on in this book. It's a mystery, but it's also about a woman having a mid-life crisis (back in the days before we had a name for it) and trying to forge a new life for herself. It's told from multiple points of view, and with flashbacks. As the central character, Maddie, works toward her goal of becoming a reporter (with no journalistic training), the multiple points of view show the things she's caught in her investigative efforts - as well as the things she's missed. For me there was also a nostalgia factor - set in 1966, I could relate to much of it as my mother was right around Maddie's age at that time, and I was about the age of Maddie's son. But it's not a sanitized version of the time, sexism and racism are both well-represented, as are the roots of changing attitudes. Overall I enjoyed this one - it isn't exactly a happy book, but it was well worth the read, both for the writing and for the story. (And as a sort of homage to Marjorie Morningstar, which I've read a couple of times but long ago - it's moved my planned re-read up my TBR list.)
Anonymous 21 days ago
Twink 3 months ago
Laura Lippman takes us back to the Sixties in her new stand alone novel Lady in the Lake. Its also set in the city she knows so well - Baltimore. The prologue had me hooked - its the voice of a dead woman, cursing the woman who wouldn't let her lie in piece. Curioser and more curiouser.... Maddie is the perfect housewife, but she's growing bored with her life, wondering if this is all there is and seeing nothing but the same for years to come. So - she leaves her husband, gets an apartment and a lover and an unexpected job at a local newspaper. Determined to make her mark as a reporter, she latches on the story of a young woman found murdered. Now, here's the neat thing about this book. While Maddie is the driving force, almost every person she comes into contact with is given the next chapter in the book. The reader gets an in depth look at many characters and their connection to both Maddie and the dead woman. (Cleo) This format provided a very different reading experience. It had the feel of a serialized news story. With so many points of view, I felt like I knew something about each player, but didn't really know them - and I wanted to know more about many of them. (This speaks volumes about Lippman's characterizations!) Maddie is the exception as her voice and chapters are updated as the book progresses. I felt one way about Maddie in the beginning and quite liked her. But as the book progresses, she grows harder, becoming quite conniving when it comes to getting a story and I found I was becoming disillusioned with her. But - you don't have to like a protagonist. Lippman always brings the city of Baltimore to life for the reader. The racial tensions, mores of the time, gender and class divides, the newspaper industry (always well done as Lippman herself was a reporter) and more are woven into the story. The ending provides a great twist - I like being surprised with unexpected turns. And it was only on finishing the book that I discovered that Lady in the Lake takes inspiration from an actual murder. Lippman is an excellent wordsmith. I quite enjoyed this character driven, different style of narrative.
GratefulGrandma 3 months ago
As I read this book, I was not sure if I would enjoy the style it is written in. Madeleine, Maddie, Schwartz is the main character in this story and it is basically told from her POV. She narrates a chapter of this mystery, then the next chapter is told from the POV of one of the characters we met in the previous chapter. Sometimes we find out what they were thinking, sometimes they share a secret. I wasn't sure if I liked it or not, actually to be honest, I was a bit confused to begin with. Once I got used to the style, and listened to a few chapters again, I really enjoyed it and thought it brought some realism to the story. Maddie is recently separated and searching for something to help her become something other than a wife and mother. When a young 11 year old Jewish girl goes missing, her Synagogue sends out search teams to try and find her. Maddie has a hunch and sets off with a friend to a spot where she thinks a body could be hidden, there she finds the body. Using this situation, as well as an intimate friendship with a police officer, she parlays this into a job with the local newspaper. She does not get credit for the stories that come out of this, being a woman, but she does not let that deter her. At the same time, a body of the young black woman is found in the Druid Hill Park fountain. No one seems interested in her death and possible murder, except for Maddie. She uses her connections to the newspaper to investigate and solve the mystery of "The Lady in the Lake". As I stated above, this story is told from multiple point of views, including that of a ghost or two. It is well written paying careful attention to the time and place. The nuances of Baltimore in 1966 are a large part of this story. It is a well written mystery based on true events. I loved how Maddie did not give up when fighting for what she believed and the rights of women. Even though the format of the book was very different from anything I have read before, I enjoyed the story because Laura Lippman did a wonderful job developing the story and characters. Make sure you read the author's notes at the end of the book as she shares some heartbreaking information that influenced and assisted her in writing this book. This book is fiction, but it is based on two actual murders that occured in Baltimore in 1966. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.
BlondeswithBooks 4 months ago
This one left my head spinning and not in a good way. It’s 1965, Baltimore, and Maddie Schwartz decides she is going to leave her husband without a concrete plan of where she will go or how she will survive financially on her own. She moves into an apartment in a rough part of town where she begins a relationship with a black policeman. Maddie is determined to get a job at a local newspaper. She happens to be indirectly linked to two murder cases that happen in the area which gives her an in at the paper. And she continues to receive inside information from her relationship with the policeman, Ferdie. But her fixation on solving the mystery of these murders and finally receiving the recognition she so desperately wants comes at a cost. I feel like this book had so much potential, but with the introduction of so many characters I was completely overwhelmed and lost at times. The never ending jump from one narrator to the next felt unnecessary and took away from the storyline. However, Laura Lippman did an excellent job of transporting the reader back to the 1960s. The history of Baltimore was interesting -racial tensions were high and women’s roles were quite different at the time. This book really felt more like historical fiction with a dose of mystery thrown in.
FrancescaFB 4 months ago
Honolulubelle 4 months ago
Favorite Quotes: It was like that first great work of art that transfixes you, that novel that stays with you the rest of your life, even if you go on to read much better ones. Within a year, she was engaged to Milton Schwartz, big and hairy and older, twenty-two to her eighteen, his first year of law school already behind him. I went to their wedding. It was like watching Alice Faye run away with King Kong. The detectives, who seemed to find everything about her mildly hilarious, had shrugged, told her that motives were for Perry Mason. Another blue-eyed brunette would indicate that she was just a type, whereas a wispy blonde would suggest that he would never quite get over her, that she would be with him forever, sort of like chickenpox. My Review: Baltimore in 1966 – a completely unfamiliar locale and a lifetime away; I was a child in the sixties so I have only a vague awareness of some of the events and icons mentioned. And I should not fail to mention that laws and societal expectations were vastly more limiting, confining, and even dangerous for women and minorities. While reading and even upon reaching the last page, I was conflicted in how to assess and rate this uniquely constructed, captivating, and complicated opus. It was like an oddly choreographed symphony consisting of numerous instruments and movements that couldn’t be fully appreciated or heard until assimilated and meshed together. Only in those final pages did the separate notes weave together to reveal the clarity and understanding of how brilliantly contrived the entirety had been. I kid you not, while compelling and original, this wasn’t an easy read as the myriad POV and meaty storylines were robust and somewhat labor-intensive to hold together. The ingeniously diabolical Laura Lippman led me on a merry chase, and while somewhat addled and even exasperated at times my interest never flagged as the intensely captivating breadcrumbs and mysterious undercurrents constantly tickled my gray matter. It was mesmerizing and well-worthy of a 5-Star rating.
miss_mesmerized 4 months ago
Just one evening with an old school friend and Maddie’s life is not what it was anymore. Her life with her husband Milton and their son Seth simply isn’t what she wants anymore and so she makes a courageous decision for the year 1966: she leaves. Now completely on her own, she wants to make real another dream: becoming a journalist and when she, by pure chance, comes across the body of a young girl and soon after again of a woman, she seizes the opportunity of her first contact with the press. It is especially the second case of the “Lady in the Lake” as she was named that turns in her mind. Nobody seems to be really care about who murdered Cleo Sherwood, just because Cleo was black. Maddie knows that there must be a story behind it and that this can be her chance to really become a reporter. Laura Lippman’s novel is one of the most talked about books of 2019 and it only takes a couple of pages to understand why all this praise is more than justified. “Lady in the Lake” is the perfect combination of a crime novel and the story of a woman who follows her will and is brave enough to do this against all societal conventions. The setting is all but favourable for such an undertaking and Lippman’s lively portrait of Baltimore of the 1960s underlines with which severe consequences such an attitude came in these days. The most outstanding aspect of the novel is surely the protagonist. Maddie Schwartz is the perfect Jewish housewife – until she isn’t anymore. She remembers the young woman she once was, surely a bit stubborn, but to put it positively: she knew what she wanted and she got it. So why should she be pleased with the second best life? She definitely is a bit naive, but her sympathetic authenticity is the key to the people and this makes her story convincing and plausible. Times were harsh, above all for black people and the novel gives a good impression of what this meant in everyday life. It is not an open accusation of segregation and the different kind of treatment of people of colour or even a political statement, but simply a fact and thus an integral part of what the characters experience. I also liked the constant change of perspective and how Lippman integrated different points of view which also gives a good idea of someone like Maddie was perceived in her time. This also make the narrative lively and varied. I had some high expectations due to the masses of admiring reviews I had read, but nevertheless, the novel surpassed them easily.
bookchickdi 4 months ago
Baltimore is in the news this week, and if you want to get a real taste of what that city is like, turn to the novels of mystery writer Laura Lippman. Along with her Tess Monaghan Baltimore PI series, Lippman's stand alone novels are set in and near Baltimore, including her latest, Lady in the Lake. Madeline Schwartz is a middle-aged housewife and mother of a teenage son, living a comfortable existence in 1960's Baltimore. But she is not satisfied with that anymore. She leaves her husband, moves to a small apartment in a different part of the city, and begins to look for a bigger meaning to her life. She also begins a torrid, secret affair with a black police officer. She befriends Judith, a younger woman, and when a young girl goes missing, Maddie and Judith join the search party. When they find the body of the girl, a reporter from a local newspaper interviews Maddie, and Maddie decides to befriend him in order to get a job at the newspaper. Lippman began her career as a newspaper journalist and Maddie's experiences at the paper have such a ring of authenticity to them that you can smell the ever-present cigarette smoke that permeates the newsroom. The newsroom is a male-dominated bastion, and Maddie has to maneuver her way to figure out how to rise in the ranks from assistant to the advice columnist to real reporter. When a young black woman goes missing, Maddie asks why this woman's disappearance is less newsworthy. Cleo, the single mom of a young child, was dating a married man of prominence in the community. When her body is found in the fountain of a city park, the police show little interest in solving the case. Maddie gets to know Cleo's mother, and ingratiates herself with the police detective in charge of the case. Her cop boyfriend warns her to stay away from it, but Maddie wants justice for Cleo. The story alternates between Maddie and chapters narrated by Cleo, who is speaking from beyond to Maddie. There are also short chapters narrated by others, including the reporter Maddie works with, and a Baltimore Oriole baseball player, that give additional layers of depth to this powerful, immersive story. You can add Maddie Schwartz to the long list of Lippman's strong and brilliantly drawn female characters, including Tess Monaghan, Lu Brant from Wilde Lake and Polly from Sunburn. I don't know of anyone who writes literary mysteries better than Laura Lippman, and I bow down to anyone who gives a shout-out to The Big Valley. I highly recommend Lady in the Lake.
brf1948 5 months ago
Set in Baltimore, MD in the mid-1960s, Lady in the Lake is an excellent historical who-done-it. The mystery which appears routine is actually deeply buried, the people are well-drawn and the background in Baltimore is picturesque. This very volatile period in our nation's history is well presented - racial tension, the suppression of both blacks and women at home, on the job, and educationally, the day-to-day trappings of the local press, and the extreme bias of police coverage and protection. The slowly building rumbles of discontent are authentic for the time and emphasized, for me, just how far we have come, and how far we still need to go. I found it very interesting that Laura Lippman basically re-wrote this novel to expand the part played by the press in Lady of the Lake, to honor friends lost in the mass shooting on June 28, 2018, at the Capital Gazette newsroom in Parole, MD, where 5 newspersons were killed. Newspapers are our most authentic window on the world. Television and internet news is often just flash-teasers of undocumented rumors. If you want to know what really happened, go to your newspaper's website. Laura Lippman is an author I follow. I am happy to recommend this novel to friends and family. I received a free electronic copy of this novel from Netgalley, Laura Lippman, and William Morrow publishers. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. I have read this novel of my own volition, and this review reflects my honest opinion of this work.
Marlene976 5 months ago
A well written, entertaining and page turner of a book. I could not put this one down and kept wondering how these characters intersected, so much wondering kept my up until the wee hours of the morning in order to finish it!!!
LuvSnoop42 5 months ago
Interesting is my best description for this one. Not my favorite Laura Lippman book (I have read almost all), but still worthy. I did not find it all that suspenseful like I was hoping but I definitely wanted to see how the story resolved. I really feel the author had a good grasp of the time period and I felt I was there. The racism and sexism sadly, felt very real. I also ended up liking how the chapters were laid out, although I struggled with that at first. The story is mainly Maggie's, and most chapters are hers, followed by one with someone she just dealt with in some capacity. This is more of a "thinking" book than your typical summer fare and I urge you to try it! Thank you to #NetGalley, Patricia MacDonald and Faber & Faber for this ARC!
gmcootie 5 months ago
I’m not going to do a detailed recap of the story or an in-depth analysis and look for all the hidden meanings and symbolism; many better writers and reviewers than I am have done that, but I do want to tell you how much I enjoyed listening to Lady in the Lake and why. The time is the mid-1960’s. Maddie Schwartz decides to leave her marriage of almost twenty years, move into an apartment, begin an affair with an African-American police officer, and pursue her long-time dream of becoming a newspaper reporter. Maddie is a very capable woman, but she’s also self-centered, short-sighted, a snob, and a product of her time. Racism, classism, and sexism are the norm, and Maddie isn’t exempt from using any of them when it suits her purpose. The two main news stories are the murder of an 11-year old white girl, Tessie Fine, which gets a lot of press and police attention, and the murder of a twenty-something African American woman, Cleo Sherwood, which does not. Maddie makes investigating Cleo’s death her mission. How she goes about it and the effect her investigation has on people is the meat of the story. And a fascinating story it is. The point of view scrolls through many 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, and many more. I read in another review that this hand-off method of switching to another character, someone Maddie has just interacted with, is the literary equivalent of a TV binge watching structure. That’s very accurate. And it’s especially effective in the audiobook version of the story I listened to. Narrator Susan Bennett is (as always) phenomenal, switching from voice to voice with ease and bring all these minor characters, as well as Maddie, to life. Maddie pays very little attention to these minor characters once they have served their purpose and provided whatever information she wanted. She doesn’t look any deeper than necessary for her immediate needs and is remarkably incurious about anything not directly affecting her. Nor does she seem to be aware of, or care about, the effect her charging around and stirring things up has on the lives of others. Lady in the Lake is a solid mystery about two murders, a lfascinating ook at the times and one woman in particular surviving and getting ahead in them, and an enjoyable look into the life stories of several minor characters. Listening to the story was a special treat. Reader Susan Bennett is a favorite of mine and always makes a good story into a great one. Thanks to Harper Audio. This review is solely my opinion. I thoroughly enjoyed Lady in the Lake and recommend it.
3no7 5 months ago
“Lady in the Lake” by Laura Lippman opens with an unusual narrative that sets up the story in a compelling way. “1964 God knows, my death has changed me. Alive, I was Cleo Sherwood. Dead, I became the Lady in the Lake, a nasty broken thing, dragged from the fountain after steeping there for months,” This book is not really the story of “The lady in the lake,” but of Maddie Schwartz, the woman who found her and gave her that name. Maddie lived in Baltimore, embracing the Jewish family traditions and cultural norms of the time. She was good at entertaining and took particular pride in her ability to throw together a dinner party with almost no warning. Every day, Maddie was a little less beautiful than she had been the day before. Every moment she lived, she also was dying. Maddie was a woman in search of an identity. She had a brain, but it had almost atrophied from lack of use, and she wanted to use it. Readers follow her struggle for identity, growth, and self-assurance for just over one year, from October 1965 through November 1966. Feelings, comments, and attitudes reflect the societal norms of the times. This is the foundation of the book, but there is more, much more to this story. Maddie’s acquaintances saw a peculiarity. “I don’t know what it is about you and dead people, Maddie, but it’s getting out of hand. Can’t you find another way to get ahead?” Alternate chapters set this story apart from a traditional narrative and each chapter identifies the speaker. Maddie Schwartz ties all these people together; they all fall within her sphere of influence. They interact with her; they have some connection to her. These chapters tell the story in the first person present tense, as if characters are speaking to an unseen interrogator, speaking directly to the reader, and telling their version of events. Readers get to know the participants, what they think and how they feel about themselves and others. The exceptions, of course, are the conversations of “The lady in the Lake” herself; she speaks to readers but she mostly talks to Maddie Schwartz. Mattie exemplifies motivation for writers of mysteries, “How many larger crimes lurked in the city’s petty complaints?” I received a copy of “Lady in the Lake” from Laura Lippman and HarperCollins Publishers. Its exceptional narrative organization and plot structure make it a favorite for readers. It captured my attention of and drew me into the story until the very unusual and surprising end. “I’m painting a picture of myself painting a picture of myself painting a picture of myself. The picture goes on and on, the words go on and on, until they make no sense, until the picture is so tiny that you can’t see anything at all. “
mytwocents 5 months ago
Whew, Lady in the Lake was a dizzying ride! The basics of the plot do have a lot of potential--the "lady in the lake" and her killer have to be identified, and recently separated Maddie Schwartz is on the case. However, the rotating cast of narrators made my head spin. Nearly every minor character Maddie meets ends up narrating a chapter. These narrators are often one-dimensional, and they tend to ramble, sending the storyline off on tangents that aren't central to the narrative. It's 1966, and Maddie is a white Jewish woman who is regularly sleeping with a black police officer. Why don't we hear a lot more from him? I'd love to cut most of the minor narrators in exchange for more insight into his perspective. Lady in the Lake would be a lot more cohesive with fewer narrators and significant cuts to the manuscript. (It's roughly 350 pages, but it could easily be cut to 250.) Three stars--the premise is interesting, but the execution has its flaws. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a DRC of this novel,
MicheleReader 5 months ago
Maddie Schwartz decides after 18 years of marriage to leave her husband and find herself. She rekindles her love of writing and hopes to become a reporter at a Baltimore newspaper. Knowing she is entering the field late and is a woman, she needs to be crafty to get ahead. She inserts herself into two local missing persons cases which opens the door for her. The book is set in the mid 1960s and does a good job in showing where the country was in terms of race relations, religious beliefs, and gender equality. A good solid read from a fine author. Many thanks to NetGalley, Faber & Faber and Laura Lippman for the advance copy.
MKF 5 months ago
Fans of Laura Lippman know that the city of Baltimore is a strong character in and of itself in all of her novels and that's true here as well. Maddie Schwartz is a woman who needs to find her place in the world- or at least in 1966 Baltimore. She leaves her husband and son, moves to a small apartment, and finds herself trying to sell her wedding and engagement rings. This leads her down the path to her future. Part of a group looking for small Tessie Fine who has gone missing, she spots the girl's body. An impulsive act declaring that she's been robbed puts her in touch with Ferdie, an African American police officer who becomes her lover. An exchange of letters with the suspect in the Fine case leads her to a newspaper career and it is there that a random call to the parks department about a missing light leads her to the story of Cleo, who has been murdered and left in a fountain. There are many voices in this novel, most notably Maddie and Cleo's (although Paul Blair (!) makes an appearance as well.). I liked this as a device- sometimes the smallest player has input that will be critical later. Maddie's terrific. There's a twist I did not see coming, which was a bonus point. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. As always with Lippman, and as a native of the city, I loved the opportunity to revisit places I'd almost forgotten. And then there's the phrase "a Baltimore bachelor!" An excellent read.
diane92345 5 months ago
“Alive, I was Cleo Sherwood. Dead, I became the Lady in the Lake, a nasty broken thing.” Maddie is feeling unfulfilled in her life as a full-time wife and mother of one. It’s 1965, when women can dream of careers—and Maddie is a good dreamer. She leaves her husband of twenty years to become a reporter at the Baltimore Sun. Stuck with fluff pieces, she dreams of breaking a big story. She finds that story in Cleo Sherwood. The Lady in the Lake is an almost perfect sixties adaptation of a forties crime noir. Instead of a good man in a hat, it’s feminist Maddie finding truths that are best kept hidden. Like classic noir, most of the characters are unsympathetic. The pacing is slower than modern thrillers. If both of those traits are fine with you, you will enjoy this “modern” update. 4 stars! Thanks to Faber & Faber and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
RMeckley 5 months ago
Baltimore, MD, in 1966 is the setting for this novel. Ms. Lippman lives in Baltimore and knows the area very well, but I think she misses the mark in this book. I found it very difficult to like main character Maddie Schwartz. She is the wife of a successful businessman and the mother of a teenage boy. It appears that after one dinner party, during which she meets an old high school friend, she suddenly decides to leave her husband and pursue a career as a newspaper reporter, although she has no experience. Two murders help move along her “career.” The Jewish culture is strongly represented in this story, as Maddie struggles to establish her independence, from her husband, parents, and background. Many chapters are written from the points of view of minor characters who help move the story along but then are never heard from again. The book is well-written, but I just could not get into the story. Thanks to NetGalley for providing a preprint of this book for review.
Katie__B 5 months ago
I've been wanting to read a book by this author for awhile now and the synopsis for this one sounded good. so I finally took the plunge. While this book can be classified as historical fiction, it also fits in the mystery and women's fiction genres. I ended up really enjoying this novel and look forward to reading other books by Laura Lippman. It's 1966 and Madeline "Maddie" Schwartz. lives in Baltimore with her husband and teenage son. It might seem like she has it all but she wants more than just playing the role of dutiful housewife. In search of living a more meaningful life, she leaves her husband and eventually finds work at a local newspaper. She is on the low end of the totem pole there but she thinks the right story will get her some attention. Maddie is particularly interested in finding out what exactly happened to Cleo Sherwood, a young African American woman who was found dead in the fountain of a city park lake. However her eagerness to find out the truth could come at an awful price for some. I was surprised at how many different things the story was able to touch on such as race, religion, women in the workforce, the newspaper industry, and politics to name a few. For me what really drove the story was the mystery of Cleo Sherwood more so than the Maddie "finding herself" storyline. While Maddie's perspective was predominately featured, other characters, including Cleo gave their spin on events throughout the book. For the most part I liked this method of telling the story especially as it really demonstrated how Maddie's actions affected other people. However, a few characters really had nothing much to do with advancing the plot so even though the appearances were brief, they just felt unnecessary. This is the type of book in which there is a little bit of something for everyone and what each reader takes away from it might be different. Definitely recommend especially if the 1960s Baltimore setting peaks your interest like it did for me. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an advance digital copy in exchange for an honest review!
SheTreadsSoftly 5 months ago
Lady in the Lake by Laura Lippman is a very highly recommended standalone mystery Set in Baltimore, Lady in the Lake follows Madeline “Maddie” Schwartz for a little over a year from 1965 to 1966. Maddie is a 37-year-old Jewish housewife who has separated from her husband of almost twenty year after a dinner party forces her to remember that as a young woman she aspired to live a meaningful life. When an 11-year-old girl is missing, presumed dead, Maddie joins the search for her and ends up finding the body and helping the police. Maddie parlays this and some correspondence she had with the suspected killer into a job at the Star, one of the cities local newspapers. Cleo Sherwood was a young black woman whose body is discovered in the Druid Hill Park fountain. While discovering what happened to her murder seems less pressing to the police, Maddie is determined to discover what happened to Cleo. Cleo's ghost, whose voice is an ongoing part of the narrative, wants Maddie to leave it alone. Maddie is sure this is the story that can start her career as a reporter, but Maddie's determination will cause problems for many other people. Everyone expects exceptional writing from Lippman and Lady in the Lake makes good on that expectation and gives even more. The narrative is mainly told through Maddie's voice, but there is also consistent commentary from Cleo (in italics) as well as first person vignettes from a whole host of other characters that Maddie encounters along the way. For me, these accounts provide a richness and depth to the plot that would have otherwise been an excellent story presented in a more typical style. I applaud Lippman for this choice and appreciated the "Our Town" presentation style. I felt it helped set Lady in the Lake apart and created a more complete picture of the time, place, and people in the novel. Maddie is a complicated character living in a time when her choices were limited by societal expectations and the men around her. This atmosphere is captured perfectly in Lippman's newspaper noir novel. Maddie is a very well developed character. She may not always know what reactions her actions will result in, but she is determined to uncover the truth behind the two mysteries in the novel. It is to her credit that she seemingly cares more than the police about getting answers. The answers are both there, but getting them comes via a surprising, unexpected twist. Lady in the Lake is a rich nuanced novel with well-drawn characters, depth, and style. While it is not the adrenaline packed thriller than some fans might have been expecting, I was engrossed in this complex, interesting story from start to finish and give it my highest recommendation. Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of HarperCollins
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