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Like her most famous character, Tess Monaghan, Laura Lippman had early success as a reporter. Born in Atlanta, Georgia on January 31, 1959, Laura Lippman grew up in Baltimore, Maryland. In Baltimore, Lippman began her career as a reporter working for the Baltimore Sun and the San Antonio Light, a newspaper she has since shut down. Lippman has established himself in the Baltimore art scene. Her husband, David Simon, is the creator and executive producer of HBO’s acclaimed series The Wire, which follows the reporters, cops and criminals of the city of Baltimore. Lippman’s guest starred in a cameo appearance working for the Baltimore Sun in an early episode of the series.
laura lippman attended baltimore schools until ninth grade. She then attended Wilde Lake High School in Columbia, Maryland. Lippman enrolled at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in Chicago, Illinois. Upon graduating from Northwestern, Lippman returned to her home in Baltimore, where she began what would become a twenty-year career in journalism, twelve of which she would serve with The Baltimore Sun.
lippman retired from journalism entirely in 2001 so that she could fully concentrate on her career as a novelist. Before she left, Ella Lippman had already published seven novels in the Tess Monaghan series. In addition to her work on this series, which has 11 books to date, Lippman has also published eight stand-alone novels, as well as numerous short stories. For her work in her fiction, Lippman received the Edgar®, Agatha, Anthony, Nero Wolfe, Gumeshoe, Shamus and Barry Awards. She has also been nominated for the Hammett and Macavity Awards, notably she was the first recipient of the Mayor’s Award, given for literary excellence. In addition, Lippman was recognized as Author of the Year by the Maryland Library Association. she was the first genre writer to receive this award. Laura Lippman’s writings have been favorably reviewed by multiple institutions. The Washington Post calls Lippman “one of the best novelists, period.” The book listing says that “Lippman’s taut, riveting, and uniquely clever drama of predator and prey is both unusually sensitive and utterly compelling.”
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In 2010, renowned actress Frances McDormand purchased the rights to Lippman’s independent novel Every Secret Things. The film is slated for release in the first half of 2015, after receiving high praise after its showing in April 2014 at the Tribeca Film Festival. The film, produced by McDormand and directed by Amy Berg, stars Diane Lane, Elizabeth Banks and Dakota Fanning. The book follows an 18-year-old named Alice Manning, who becomes a suspect in the disappearance of a child.
Most of Lippman’s writing focuses on Baltimore and its environs. Baltimore is a city with a long history of art and crime, it had a significant impact on Lippman’s various characters and stories, none more so than Tess Monaghan. Tess Monaghan is a reporter from Baltimore who, at the beginning of the series, has “accidentally” become a private investigator. beginning in the novel baltimore blues, p.i. tess monaghan explores some of baltimore’s most sinister cases and solves them with unmatched tenacity.
Baltimore has long been a troubled city, with murders occurring almost every day. In the inaugural Baltimore Blues novel, attorney Michael Abramowitz is murdered. Attorney Abramowitz’s death is different from typical murders because of his high-profile lifestyle. Known for enjoying illegal dates in the middle of the day, Attorney Abramowitz ends up on the front page of every local paper. tess monaghan is a recently unemployed reporter who used to work for the star, a local newspaper that failed and went out of business. Tess’s job as a reporter in Baltimore got her to know the city better than most, including some of the city’s most notorious members. One of her old rowing buddies, Darryl “Rock” Paxton, the cuckolded fiancé, is the Baltimore PD’s number one suspect, so she turns to Ella’s friend Tess Monaghan to help clean up the house. her name. Needing a job, Tess agrees. What should have been a straightforward case leads to secrets and life-threatening situations, bringing Tess closer to death than she ever thought possible.
Later in the series comes the novel In Big Trouble, in which Tess adjusts to her new lifestyle as a private investigator. her calm quickly dissipates upon receiving an envelope postmarked boerne, texas. The content includes a photo of Ella Raven’s ex-boyfriend, Ella, a musician, and a small newspaper excerpt that reads the headline “In Big Trouble”. Monaghan leaves Baltimore behind to visit Raven’s parents in Charlottesville, Texas, but what was meant to be a quick check-in turns into a road trip full of dangers, secrets and lies. Having left the city she knows so well, Tess Monaghan feels lost and insecure in the vast desert landscape where the days are long and hot, the nights are harsh and cold. Tess’s ex-boyfriend, Raven, appears to have disappeared with a relatively unknown blonde singer, setting Tess on a path to discover where and why they disappeared. As she searches, she finds herself entrenched in the multitude of family secrets, and the body count rises rapidly as she continues to search for her.
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In addition to the Tess Monaghan series, Lippman has also written a wide variety of short stories. He highlights one story in particular, easy as ABC, which is collected in the Baltimore Noir anthology. Each story is set in a different Baltimore neighborhood. Lippman’s story takes place at Locust Point, the area that is home to the famous Fort Mchenry. Lippman also writes the foreword to this collection, in which he explains why Baltimore is the perfect setting for noir-style stories. “Baltimore has a strange geographical distinction. it is one of the two main usa cities that are not in any county…landlocked on all but one side…cannot be expanded or annexed. Squeezed this way, it’s a perfect setting for noir, which relies on an almost Darwinian desperation among its actors.” noir fiction is characterized by an often victimized protagonist who dives deep into a corrupt and lawless world. Thus, Laura Lippman’s hometown of Baltimore provides the most compelling setting for these stories and, indeed, for much of her collected works.