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Charm City (Tess Monaghan #2)

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3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  2,856 ratings  ·  223 reviews

As a practiced reporter until her newspaper went to that great pressroom in the sky, P.I. Tess Monaghan knows and loves every inch of her native Baltimore, even the parts being slobbered on by the sad-sack greyhound she's minding for her uncle. It's a quirky city where baseball reigns, but lately homicide seems to be the second most popular local sport. Business tycoon "Wi

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Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Published (first published January 1st 1997)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dan Schwent
When someone at the Beacon-Light leaks an unfavorable story about the millionaire planning on bringing an NBA team to Baltimore, Tess Monaghan is hired to figure how who spilled the beans. At the same time, she's trying to figure out who put her uncle in the hospital and if it has anything to do with the greyhound in her possession.

Laura Lippman comes highly recommended but two books into her Tess Monaghan series, I'm just not feeling it.

First off, astute readers will notice my teaser differs fr
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Elvan
I just don't understand how this book could have won a mystery award. Tess Monaghan is a less than average PI and does very little detective work. Instead we learn about the newspaper business in Baltimore which combined with the first person narration makes the book read like an autobiography of the author more than a murder mystery.
For me the only bright light in the novel was the introduction of the less than bright rescue greyhound Esskay. It says a lot about a book when the only memorable
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Mark Soone
I would probably go 3.5 stars were that an option, and don't feel totally comfortable calling this a 3...but I guess I liked this a little so 3 it is!

Tess is back in action, and after wrestling through this for about a quarter of the book and Tess becomes the caretaker of a greyhound for her Uncle who is in a coma, I began to wonder if anything exciting would happen. Then a newspaper files a report it had not intended to be reported, Tess is hired as a consultant to discover who was behind this
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Kathy Davie
Second in the Tess Monaghan mystery series set in Baltimore, Maryland and revolving around a former journalist turned private detective.

My Take
The primary theme is one of betrayal. Betrayal of one's ethics and of friends. Using and manipulating friends to help is one thing; doing it to achieve one's personal goals is another.

A preponderance of the latter weighs very heavily in Charm City from a battering of journalistic ethics, making that career leap, destruction of lives to maintain past sec
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Judy
It's apparent that Laura Lippman loves the city of Baltimore--the good, the bad, and the quirky. And her writing captures the individual flavor of each of Baltimore's varied neighborhoods perfectly. In this homage to Baltimore, "Wink" Wynkowski is found dead of an apparent suicide after a muckraking article about his past is published on the front page of the Baltimore Beacon-Light (Blight). The problem is that the newspaper's editors had killed the story in an editoral meeting. In an effort to ...more
Stephanie
The second book of the Tess Monaghan series is a good read. You really get to learn more about Tess and her family and friends.

Old friends like Rock, Tyner, Whitney, Feeney, Spike, and Tommy show up. You definitely get more insight into Crow, Kitty, and her parents. There is an addition to the great cast of characters too Esskay the Greyhound!!

The beginning is a little slow passed, a murder doesn't happen until page 100. The story does stay interesting though, even early on because there are a
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Justine
I can't imagine anyone who is not from Baltimore would like this book - everyone that I know in Baltimore (and I grew up here) loves it (the series in general), and I think it's because of the frequent local references. Editor slept on the job with 2 simple grammar mistakes (one 3 times, one only once) - suppose/supposed drives me crazy - saw that 3 times. And "Tess would never get use to..." at the end was the final nail down a chalkboard for me. There are much better books to choose from.
Judith
The second Tess Monaghan mystery.

Tess is working as a PI in the office of a lawyer, Tyner Gray. Gray is also her trainer when she gets back to rowing in the summer, and a good friend. He tosses investigative jobs her way but doesn't have enough work to keep her going full time. So he's delighted when a contract job comes along.

Baltimore's only daily newspaper, the Beacon-Light ("Blight" to many) is covering the story of "Wink" Wynkowski, business tycoon, as he makes a bid to buy a basketball tea
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Quinn
Laura Lippman lives in Baltimore and loves her hometown. Her mystery books are set there, and she invites the reader into the quirky city with its Inner Harbor and Fells Point, with the older "hons" and the John Waters weirdness. But it's much more than location that charms me. Laura Lippman writes a tightly-woven mystery story, always adding more information and another plot line, but winding them up before they become confusing.

At the center of this mystery is Tess Monaghan, former reporter fo
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Shannon
Not a bad little story - this one follows newspaper people that end up in murder plots. It also includes some family/personal stuff where Tess' uncle is involved in something but it doesn't become quite clear until the end. The boyfriend - Crow - seemed to just be thrown in there and not really too important so I'll be interested to see how he and Whitney get back into the stories in the future.
Michelle
For me, this was another mediocre work by Ms. Lippman. Something about Tess Monaghan just annoys me. She’s all over the place, at times coming off as snide and insulting, yet she does show a very caring and compassionate side when questioning the widow of a murder victim. She thinks her young, laid-back, musician boyfriend is ‘too good’ for her, but she’s willing to dump him in a second for a dinner invitation from an editor at the newspaper that has hired her to do an investigation. The case Te ...more
Peggy
Tess Monaghan is a former newspaper reporter turned P.I. in Baltimore. This is the 2nd installment in the series and we find Tess dealing with the severe beating of her favorite uncle. He asks her to take care of his newly acquired greyhound and Tess is confused by this request. When some thugs come looking for the dog and something else her comatose uncle is hiding from them, Tess is in danger but she doesn't know why. The other story in this book is about a rich man who is trying to get an NBA ...more
Denise
The local references are definitely fun to read. But I found this book dragged, and Tess was a bit attitudinal for my taste. Most characters were pretty two-dimensional.
Bethany
Mmm, more Tess Monaghan. I liked this book better than Baltimore Blues, probably almost entirely because of the romance angle. I loved Crow in this book! I thought Tess was blind to how awesome he was (pansies! homemade dog food!), and the end...I am eager to read on in the series to see what happens between them, mostly.

The mystery was fun, intriguing, but it wasn't really what kept me reading. I am just so into these characters, now. And Baltimore, of course, is the second main character in bo
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Michael
A reminder: I'm on a quest to find out how Laura Lippman graduated from genre writer to someone with literary credibility.

After this, I really don't know. This wasn't actually much worse than the first one, but the things that annoyed me about the first one still annoy me here, and maybe I'm in a worse mood today.

First, the writing is really bad. There are lots of bizarre similes. Odd redundancies. Confusing sentences.

Second, there's something about the attitude towards affirmative action that
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Paul Haspel
Laura Lippman's Tess Monaghan mystery novels are fun to read, and capture well the regional texture of life in Baltimore. Her novel Charm City, which takes its title from a popular nickname for Baltimore, imagines the NBA considering a return to Maryland's largest city, with a team to be called the Baltimore Keys. No sign of such developments in real life, alas; but Lippman, a longtime reporter for the Baltimore Sun, draws well upon her journalistic experience in creating her journalist-turned-p ...more
Tracy
Baltimore is BORING, or at least that's what I think after reading this novel. Formulaic and completely predictable storyline interspersed with banal and routine activities. Sue Grafton followed the same formula, and I didn’t read anymore of her after the first novel either. How did this ever win an Edgar award?

*Spoiler in this paragraph*
Our heroine is an archetypal detective who fell into the job after nothing else clicked, exercises everyday for hours, and eats like an elephant. She gets a ne
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Rebecca
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Christy
In the second installment of the Tess Monaghan series, Tess, a former newspaper reporter, is working for an attorney while applying for her license as a private investigator. After business tycoon Wink Wynkowski announces he is going to bring pro basketball back to Baltimore, an article about his troubled financial situation appears in the Beacon-Light. The managing editor of the Beacon-Light hires Tess to find out who placed this article in the paper, since it was rejected until sources could b ...more
Avadhut
Summary –

When “Wink” Wynkowski announces bringing a pro basketball team to Baltimore, people of Baltimore are excited. But a nasty piece of article in local newspaper Beacon-Light kills his plans. Unable to save his crumbling business empire without Basketball deal, Wink commits suicide. Editors at Beacon Light hire Tess to find out who published the article. Was it ambitious young reporter Rosita Ruiz? Or Was it somebody else? And did Wink really commit suicide?

Review –

Six months after the even
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Margaret
When writing about The Sugar House, I said that I couldn't believe this author had won "every mystery writer award" as stated on her book jacket. Not that she isn't good--she just isn't THAT good. I said that her writing was often juvenile, and I promised to give an example from the text of Charm City.
Here it is, from page 105:
"Do you have a boyfriend?"
"Sort of. I mean yes, yes I do. In fact, his band is playing tonight so I have to go do the band member's girlfriend thing. Stand in a crowd and
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Luca Lesi
Sempre legando libri e musica, nelle mie recensioni, ho trovato un grande pezzo It Never Entered My Mind che vi propongo nella versione mirabile di Miles Davis.
E' uno dei brani preferiti da Tess Monaghan e, anche se non riflette il libro, lo trovo buon interprete della Baltimora, signora decadente e a tratti violenta, che fa da contorno ai romanzi di Laura Lippman.
In questo romanzo, seguito di un interessante Baltimora Blues, Tess lascia l'incarico di giornalista per intraprendere la carriera d
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stephanie
May 08, 2008 stephanie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone, thriller and non-thriller fans alike
Recommended to stephanie by: series by a.
i might come back and give this a five, i haven't decided.

what i do know, i think, is what i love most about lippman's series - this isn't just a thriller with serial characters. this is a novel that happens to have a wicked twisting plot inside it. never, really, do i feel like the characters suffer for plot purposes - something that is all too common in this genre.

not to mention that tess is an actual person in these books, with a metabolism, and the type of person that wonders where her kid
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Angie
Charm City picks up a few months after the events of Baltimore Blues. Tess is still living above her Aunt Kitty's bookshop, and the endearing musician/bookseller Crow seems to have worn down some of Tess' reservations about a possible relationship. She's even relented enough to accept a job as an apprentice investigator for the curmudgeonly lawyer/rowing instructor Tyner. But this unusually "normal" period doesn't last long, as the editors of the Beacon-Light hire Tess to investigate a case of ...more
Jessica
One of the early books in the Tess Monaghan series, centering on a young former reporter for a Baltimore newspaper who is now working as an investigator. Tess is tough, clever, and spunky, and is surrounded by tough, clever, and spunky supporting characters. Laura Lippman is now married to the creator of The Wire, David Simon, and you can see how their work is related in the way they have love, skepticism, and insight into Baltimore, its joys and its problems.

This story centers around a possible
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Walt
CHARM CITY picks up a few months after the events of Baltimore Blues: A Tess Monaghan Novel (Tess Monaghan Mysteries). Tess is still living above her Aunt Kitty's bookshop, and the endearing musician/bookseller Crow seems to have worn down some of Tess' reservations about a possible relationship. She's even relented enough to accept a job as an apprentice investigator for the curmudgeonly lawyer/rowing instructor Tyner. But this unusually "normal" period doesn't last long, as the editors of the ...more
Jaime
This second book in the series made yet another enjoyable listen. Lippman manages to make Baltimore just as much a character as Tess or her Aunt Kitty. And Deborah Hazlett’s narration doesn’t hurt — her Baltimore accent is spot-on. Tess herself isn’t the greatest private investigator, which I guess is to be expected, since she hasn’t been one for very long. A lot of what she discovers is happenstance. But where she does excel is in talking to people, and it’s this ability to talk to everyone fro ...more
Thepinkpig Abides
Tess and her family are so charming, bordering on goofball. I really liked this second book in the series. I appreciated how Laura Lippman weaves the city of Baltimore into the story, both in it's places, it's people and in some interesting historical information about the city (but not in a boring way). I definitely recommend this read, it was light and had some funny moments, though a murder mystery. I look forward to reading the next book in the Tess Monaghan series.
Maura
I actually only got halfway thru this book, and that was a couple of months ago. but i was reorging the bookshelves this evening, and decided this needed to go into the "not gonna finish it" pile. i had liked the first book in the series well enough, but not so much this time. essentially the mystery didn't grab me enough to overcome my growing dislike for the main character. and if we're being honest, i think i mainly didn't like her because she's in a relationship with a nice guy and it's bein ...more
Ken
Pros: Strong female lead character. Gives great feeling for Baltimore. Interesting characters and family interaction. Plotting is good.

Cons: There are actually two different mysteries going on -- the murder and why Tess's uncle is beaten up over a greyhound. The ending attempts to tie them together but the tie in seems rushed and a bit weak.

Overall this is a good read despite the cons.
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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 othe ...more
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