The Girl in the Green Raincoat is a Tess Monaghan Novel by Laura Lippman, previously published in a serialized format for The New York Times. After really enjoying Lippman's standalone novel, I'd know you anywhere, I jumped at the chance to review her latest book. Although The Girl in the Green Raincoat is Tess Monaghan #11, readers like myself for whom this is their first encounter with Tess are able to jump into the novel really comfortably without too much wondering about who is who. This particular story begins with Tess confined to bed-rest during a difficult and unexpected pregnancy. Appalled at the situation, Tess' first request is for a pair of binoculars which she uses to watch her unsuspecting neighbours walk their dogs. Most interesting among these neighbours is a woman in a green raincoat walking an Italian greyhound in a matching jacket. When the dog is seen running away without its owner, Tess takes it in and tracks down the owner over the telephones and offers to return the dog. The man who answers the phone is both surprised that the dog was found, and uninterested in its return, so Tess asks to speak to the wife who is apparently away on business. As time passes and the woman in the green raincoat fails to make an appearance, Tess begins to suspect that the woman is missing and that a larger mystery is about to be uncovered.“I’m being held hostage,” Tess Monaghan whispered into her iPhone. “By a terrorist. The agenda is unclear, the demands are vague, but she’s prepared to hold me here at least two months. Twelve weeks or eighteen weeks, depending on how you look at it.”
“Nice way to talk about our future child,” said her boyfriend Crow.
The Girl in the Green Raincoat is a fun and easy mystery read. Lippman manages to tell the story in a unique way due to the fact that Tess is confined to her bed for the course of the novel. The book definitely builds up some suspense, although I found myself reading less for the mystery than simply because I was enjoying the writing and the sense of humour. The mystery itself had a few decent twists, although I never found myself truly invested in its outcome. I was a little puzzled by the very overly emotional last few chapters, which seemed out of place. In the author's note Lippman says she wanted each chapter to be its own little story, and although The Girl in the Green Raincoat succeeds in that respect, I read the book in one sitting and I almost thought the last couple chapters belonged in another book. However, I was definitely intrigued enough that I'll likely try another Lippman in the future as her writing blends mystery with believable characters for easy but satisfying books. Overall, The Girl in the Green Raincoat is a light but enjoyable little mystery and exactly the kind of book perfect for a plane ride or rainy evening, the reader is able to dip into Lippman's world, enjoy themselves without thinking too hard, and find themselves just as happily on the other side when the experience is over.
As a minor but annoying side note and as indicated by Lydia in her review, the raincoat on the cover of this book is most certainly not the "celery green" described by Tess in the novel. Was it seriously that difficult for them to find a coat in the right colour?
Release Date: January 1, 2011
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This review was a part of TLC Book Tours. Click here to read what other tour hosts thought. For the purpose of this review I was provided with a copy of the book which did not require a positive review. The opinions expressed in this post are completely my own.