Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Charm City (Tess Monaghan Novel)” as Want to Read:
Charm City (Tess Monaghan Novel)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Charm City (Tess Monaghan #2)

3.60  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,951 Ratings  ·  291 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

Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Published (first published January 1st 1997)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Charm City, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Charm City

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Dan Schwent
Oct 30, 2014 Dan Schwent rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
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
Dec 21, 2013 Elvan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
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
These are like Lays potato chips - not my favorite but I can't seem to stop at just one.
Jan 08, 2016 Marilee rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle-book, mystery
This is more of a 3.5 star book… decently written, good characters, but the story line leaves a bit to be desired.
Sara Leigh
Apr 01, 2015 Sara Leigh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although this is the second book in the Tess Monaghan series, it's the first one I read. That was no problem. I didn't feel like I was missing anything. I thoroughly enjoy Lippman's writing style, and the reader did a great job with voice characterizations. It probably helps that I lived in Baltimore for a few years and was familiar with a lot of the locations, and especially the accent. There was one passage wherein Tess throws out several distinctive phrases that are pure Bawlmer that had me l ...more
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
Kathy Davie
Sep 08, 2014 Kathy Davie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
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
Feb 06, 2016 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book starts out slow & clunky. There's too much emphasis on Baltimore. I get that we're supposed to get the feel of the place, what makes it unique. But it occupies too much space in this novel. Also, this feel really dated. It's about the newspaper business before the Internet boom. Newspapers have redefined themselves by now, but in 1997, the struggle was looming. And reading this now feels moot. So in this instance, Lippman's setting & B story work against the book today.

Dec 19, 2012 Judy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 24, 2012 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Tess Monaghan is now pursuing her PI license, and her first investigative job involves old friends and a possible saboteur who puts a spiked story on the corruption of a local politician on to the front page. Meanwhile, she has to deal with a younger lover who she's not so sure about, temptation at her job, her uncle in hospital, and a new dog she never wanted.

A long long time ago, I read Baltimore Blues after hearing Lippman speak on true crime at the Sydney Writers Festival, and really really
Jun 14, 2012 Justine rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 18, 2014 Judith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 10, 2014 Quinn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 17, 2015 Kathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books
Enjoyable characters and love the Maryland setting. I was looking for a new series and I have found one!!
Oct 08, 2013 Shannon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Review originally posted: Traveling With T

Traveling With T’s Thoughts:

I am SO late to the game of the awesomeness that Laura Lippman is, it’s not even funny. Having read her last 2 Tess Monaghan books, AFTER I’M GONE and HUSH HUSH (along with a couple of her stand-alones), when William Morrow offered review copies of some of her earlier books, I jumped at the chance.

Having established that I am a Laura fan- am I a fan of her earlier work?

Yes and no.

CHARM CITY started a tad bit slow for me (or m
Jul 20, 2014 Michelle rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 06, 2014 Peggy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 08, 2009 Denise rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 15, 2014 Bethany rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, contemporary
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
May 16, 2016 Jan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Timing really is everything when reading. In 2014 when I read Baltimore Blues by Laura Lippman I wasn't that impressed. Things changed this week when I read Charm City - 2nd in Lippman's Tess Monaghan series. The mystery was so-so & Tess is still a bit jocky for my taste. However, now there is a dog - Esskay a greyhound rescue. More importantly there is Baltimore. I loved soaking in the city's ambiance in anticipation of visiting there this summer. It also doesn't hurt that I recently discov ...more
Oct 16, 2010 Michael rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Paul Haspel
Aug 13, 2012 Paul Haspel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 31, 2009 Tracy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 09, 2012 Rebecca rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Sep 15, 2012 Avadhut rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 17, 2012 Margaret rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Vanishing Point (Sharon McCone, #23)
  • Desert Wives (A Lena Jones Mystery #2)
  • Backstabber (Hitchcock Sewell Mysteries, #5)
  • Missing Justice (Samantha Kincaid #2)
  • Missing Persons (Kate Conway Mysteries, #1)
  • Lie Down with the Devil (A Carlotta Carlyle Mystery #12)
  • Mercy Kill (Mercy Gunderson Mystery, #2)
  • A Bad Day for Pretty (Bad Day, #2)
  • By Stone, by Blade, by Fire (Barbara Holloway, #13)
  • Blunt Impact (Theresa MacLean #5)
  • Wicked Fix (Home Repair is Homicide, #3)
  • Shooting at Loons (Deborah Knott Mysteries, #3)
  • A Safe Place for Dying
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 ...more
More about Laura Lippman...

Other Books in the Series

Tess Monaghan (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • Baltimore Blues (Tess Monaghan #1)
  • Butchers Hill (Tess Monaghan #3)
  • In Big Trouble (Tess Monaghan #4)
  • The Sugar House (Tess Monaghan #5)
  • In a Strange City (Tess Monaghan, #6)
  • The Last Place (Tess Monaghan #7)
  • By a Spider's Thread (Tess Monaghan #8)
  • No Good Deeds (Tess Monaghan #9)
  • Another Thing to Fall (Tess Monaghan #10)
  • The Girl in the Green Raincoat (Tess Monaghan, #11)

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“Towns That Love Sports Too Much, and the Greedy Team Owners Who Use Them. “So please” 0 likes
“Esskay rested her head on Tess’s knee, gazing into her eyes in the soulful way that meant “Pet me,” unless there was food handy, in which case it translated to “Feed me.” 0 likes
More quotes…