Tess Monaghan, Laura Lippman’s heroine, as the author describes her in
Baltimore Blues, is out of work and out of unemployment benefits, although she has some freelance and part time work to keep ends at least close together if not meeting. Her favorite means of exercise and stress-relieving is rowing. Her commitment to that sport is blended throughout the tale.
Baltimore, Tess’s town, heading for record-breaking murder rate
Tess’s town, Baltimore, is likely to set an unprecedented, record-breaking murder rate, and Tess will soon find herself right in the middle of it all. It begins when Rock, a friend and rowing companion, confesses his worry that his girlfriend, Ava, may be in some sort of serious trouble. He offers to pay Tess, a former reporter, to follow Ava for a few days to uncover her secrets, if they do exist. Tess isn’t eager to do this, but the hourly rate he offers is irresistible to Tess in her present straightened circumstances. She signs on.