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Charm City: A Tess Monaghan Novel    by Laura Lippman Amazon.com order for
Charm City
by Laura Lippman
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2007 (2007)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Ex-reporter, now PI, Tess Monaghan loves her home city of Baltimore, even though baseball is the main topic of conversation and murder the main sport. So far neither has affected her. But when she is hired to find who released a damaging story about a local bigwig before it was approved for publication, she becomes involved in murder and suicide and news stories that shouldn't be printed.

As Tess investigates, she learns that the newspaper computer system can be used to her advantage. And that all is not as it seems on the surface. When she gains temporary custody of a rescued greyhound, she learns to love the ugly animal. Esskay becomes a part of her household along with her live-in boyfriend Crew. As her uncle Spike lies in a coma from a beating at his bar, she is driven to find why he was attacked.

It all comes together at the ending. The journey to that end is exciting, a real page-turner. The city of Baltimore plays a big role as does the personality and care of a greyhound. Tess Monaghan is an investigative reporter at heart who decides she prefers her own PI work. The characters who grace Charm City pages are those we would expect to inhabit the seamier side of any city - well described right down to their peculiar aroma. Laura Lippman's books this is her thirteenth only get better and better, if that is even possible.

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