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    Review of HARDLY KNEW HER by Laura Lippman (see her website)


    William Morrow, October 2008

    Laura Lippman is one of my favorite mystery writers, but I was a bit disappointed when I realized HARDLY KNEW HER was a short story collection. Short stories are okay, but I'd been looking forward to digging deep into a Lippman novel.

    I needn't have worried. This slim volume isn't just a collection of leftovers or something slapped together to cash in on Lippman's popularity. Each story is a well-crafted tale in its own right, with Lippman's trademark characters and rich settings ever-present. Some are light, some are dark and some are downright scary. Some made me squirm with their inherent truths about humankind as I recognized some characters' flaws and foibles as my own. I read this whole collection in two sittings.

    The narrators vary from male to female, from young to old, but always authentic. One section of stories is devoted to Lippman's beloved Baltimore, and two stories feature her popular private detective Tess Monaghan. But other cities are featured, too.

    And finally, there is a novella, Scratch A Woman, which features two very different half-sisters, molded partly from the different families they grew up in. Heloise, a suburban prostitute/madam, is an intriguing character and one I would like to see more of.

    See more reviews of mysteries by Laura Lippman.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 12/15/08

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