Archive for the ‘Laura Lippman’ Category

Luisa (Lu) Brant has just started her term as the first female state’s attorney of Howard County, MD after beating her boss in the election. The fact that she is the daughter of a previous, well respected state’s attorney certainly did not hurt her at election time.

It is January 5 and there is a murder that needs attention. Lu decides to try the case herself rather than delegate to a staff member because (a) there are few murders in the county and (b) there are some interesting aspects to the case. The victim is a middle aged women, killed in an apparent burglary. Her new rule is the attorney trying the case must visit the scene of the crime, so off she goes.


In chapters alternating between the present narrated in third person and Lu’s childhood narrated in first person, Lippman connects the present to the past. Interestingly, the the titles of current chapters are merely dates while those of the past have actual titles such as Oh Brave New World That Has No Trees In It, relevant to the action in the chapter. Additionally the type fonts are different for present and past.

As Wilde Lake (the name of a lake near her home) progresses readers learn about Lu’s life, the loss of her mother soon after her birth, living with her father and her brother, 8 years her senior, the supposedly idyllic life in Columbia, MD, a planned community. Readers will contrast her solitude with her brother’s charm and outgoing character.

But there are dark sides to their lives as well and how those dark sides play into the murder is the meat of Wilde Lake. I will admit that the connection might be somewhat strained, but I enjoyed the journey. I found especially interesting Lu’s recounting her childhood. As I’m writing this, I’m realizing that Wilde Lake is more a character study than a mystery. There is little in the way of police procedural and forensics. It is more about the relationships of the characters. The story of Lu’s past has a more ‘literary’ feel to it than the present day chapters.

I will tell you that I only read (or tried to read) one other Laura Lippman book, Hush, Hush , a Tess Monaghan mystery, and made it through only 100 pages. So the fact that I finished this one and enjoyed it is certainly worth noting.

So, now that I’ve taken you around in circles, I’ll conclude by saying that I did enjoy Wilde Lake and do suggest you read it, not for its mystery but for its character study.



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