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Butchers Hill (Tess Monaghan Mysteries) Mass Market Paperback – July 1, 1998


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Product Details

  • Series: Tess Monaghan Mysteries (Book 3)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Avon; a edition (July 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380798468
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380798469
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,495,680 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Tess Monaghan, newspaperwoman turned sleuth, makes it official with a new business as a PI in a run-down section of Baltimore, Butchers Hill. Her first clientsAan elderly man known as the Butcher of Butchers Hill and a highly successful female professional fund-raiserApresent the first dilemma. Tess needs a cover, reluctantly supplied by Client 2, in order to get access to information on the ghetto for Client 1. The process of finding diverse missing persons starts Monaghan and her two black clients on sometimes prickly discourse involving race. As in Baltimore Blues and Charm City, dialogue is on the mark, accompanied by lively observations about female entrepreneurship, adoption, foster home rackets, and quirky Baltimore natives and neighborhoods. A bittersweet, perfectly plausible ending winds things up.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From the Back Cover

No sooner has Tess Monaghan hung her p.i.-for-hire shingle outside her new office on Butchers Hill when in walks Luther Beale. The notorious vigilante who shot a boy for vandalizing his car five years ago, Luther has just gotten out of prison and wants to make amends, he says, to the kids who witnessed his crime. He needs to find them first, and that’s where Tess comes in.

But once she starts snooping, the witnesses start dying. Like it or not, she’s gotten herself embroiled in a case that could have devastating repercussions for Tess, the city she treasures, and the young lives a corrupt system heartlessly destroys—as she follows a nasty trail of lies, money, and murder that winds from Baltimore’s darkest corners all the way back to Butchers Hill.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

More About the Author

Laura Lippman was a reporter for twenty years, including twelve years at The (Baltimore) Sun. She began writing novels while working fulltime and published seven books about "accidental PI" Tess Monaghan before leaving daily journalism in 2001. Her work has been awarded the Edgar ®, the Anthony, the Agatha, the Shamus, the Nero Wolfe, Gumshoe and Barry awards. She also has been nominated for other prizes in the crime fiction field, including the Hammett and the Macavity. She was the first-ever recipient of the Mayor's Prize for Literary Excellence and the first genre writer recognized as Author of the Year by the Maryland Library Association. Ms. Lippman grew up in Baltimore and attended city schools through ninth grade. After graduating from Wilde Lake High School in Columbia, Md., Ms. Lippman attended Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Her other newspaper jobs included the Waco Tribune-Herald and the San Antonio Light. Ms. Lippman returned to Baltimore in 1989 and has lived there since.

Customer Reviews

The plot is well developed and tight.
Collene Irvin
While the ending is just a bit too pat, Tess and her city are very convincingly portrayed.
V.T. Too
I'm very pleased with Lippman's books and her further development with Tess.
Annette Sobolak

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Henry on April 30, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the third of the Tess Monaghan books. Mysteries are often filled with cardboard characters and one or two well developed characters. Laura Lippman doesn't work that way. All her characters are imperfect, but then, so are real people. The characters in this, and the other two novels in this series are interesting and have twists and turns in their characteristics that are as amusing as are the twists and turns of the plots. Normally, I don't identify with female protagonists, but Tess is such an interesting person that even a straight guy such as myself enjoys her point of view.
I recently had the opportunity to meet Laura Lippman when she came around to the local library to talk to her fans. She's also an interesting character.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 17, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Even though I didn't particular care for the first two books in the Tess Monaghan series, a friend's recent relocation to Baltimore gave me enough of a nudge to go ahead and try the third. This installment opens with a prologue involving an altercation between a proud old man and a group of foster children running wild, which doesn't end well. Fast forward five years to the present, and we find former newspaper reporter Tess hanging out her shingle as a private investigator, complete with office in the titular semi-seedy neighborhood. (Given her relative ineptitude in the other two books, I'm not sure why her lawyer-rowing coach-mentor Tyler Gray thinks it's a good idea to push her into becoming a detective, but whatever.)

Her first two cases present themselves on the same day. The first is Luther, the old man seen in the prologue, just released from five years in prison on gun charges stemming from the incident in the prologue. He wants Tess to track down the kids so that he can try and do some good. Her other client is a young professional black woman around her own age, seeking to track down her estranged sister. Of course, neither case is quite what it seems at first glance, and various reversals and revelations make for a rocky start to Tess's detecting career.

They also make for a somewhat more compelling read than the previous two books in the series, although this one is also far from perfect. For one thing, the prologue presents a very obvious clue to the reader about the events of that evening five years previously, leaving the reader wondering for more than half the book just when Tess is going to be given the same information. And of course, when she does, it isn't the stunning scene it's meant to be.
Read more ›
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14 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 21, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Butchers Hill is the best of the series. There are many surprising twists. And well-constructed: I quickly got trapped in the dream of the novel, switching focus as the author placed different lenses of perspective on the "facts" presented to Tess. I also like that Tess herself puts together incorrect suppositions. It's real to life -- unlike, say, Mickey Spillane. Though mystery aficionados might find Tess' humanity a nuisance.
Nice touch with the convict's dictionary-derived pedantry; I wish it had been carried further (in Charm City Laura did a similar thing with Spike's assistant's forming statements as questions).
One caveat for the author: the heroine's family/friend environment is starting to resemble a Tom Clancylike picture of social palatability, albeit with an NPR-approved, nineties urbanite twist. Sigh. I mean, what's next? Kitty becomes a lesbian and finally can enjoy a meaningful relationship? There might be more dimension in revealing the humanity of one who is politically anathema to the author. Readers should check out NYC journalist Sparkle Hayter's wacky mysteries. Though I prefer Baltimore!
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16 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Kate Flora, kozak@tiac.net on December 24, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read a series mystery for character, and a character is not interesting if she doesn't grow. With Butcher's Hill, Lippman takes us, and her character, inside the seedy side of Baltimore and adoption politics, and Lippman is a mistress of both. You always feel Baltimore when you read her books. More important, she takes you along with Tess. I love Tess. Lippman's protagonist is delightfully human. Like your little sister, the one you are frustrated with, hope the best for, love, admire, and wish she'd straighten up and find someone decent to love, Tess bumbles and fumbles her way through a life that's wonderfully rich, complex and authentic. Welcome to Baltimore. Welcome to Tess's world. And welcome another Lippman success. I can't wait for the next one!
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Kristin Brown on September 6, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Lippman's writing continues to improve. She does a wonderful job of letting her characters age and learn from life, and the actual "mystery" is better than the two previous books. I do tend to think Lippman throws in a bit too much at the end (facts that suddenly change the direction of the story), but this fact didn't take away from my enjoyment of the book. If for no other reason, this book is worth reading to get to the next (In Big Trouble) - the best of the series, in my opinion.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By M. C. Carter on June 18, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Tess really becomes a person in this third entry in this series. As the reader learns more about the missing children, more is also revealed about Tess and her relationships with her somewhat unorthodox family. The secondary characters become nearly fully realized and Tess becomes a likable hero. The two plot lines are nicely interwoven and believably resolved. Living close to the scene of the action, it's fun to recognize the foibles, flaws, and strengths of the book's setting.
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