In a Strange City (Tess Monaghan Novel)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

In a Strange City (Tess Monaghan #6)

by
3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  1,553 ratings  ·  115 reviews

It is a treasured Charm City tradition. Every year on Edgar Allan Poe's birthday a figure wrapped in a dark cloak visits the renowned author's Baltimore gravesite and leaves behind three roses and half a bottle of cognac. No Baltimorean worth his or her salt would ever dream of trying to determine the true identity of the "Poe Toaster," thereby possibly destroying a cheris

...more
Kindle Edition, 400 pages
Published (first published 2001)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,435)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Peejay Who Once Was Minsma
Maybe a 2.5 because the writing is good, the characterizations are mostly excellent, the premise was interesting, BUT I found the plot so transparent that I guessed the whodunit quite early on and much of the whydunit. As a result, the ending was flat and not particularly inspiring. The other plot element I didn't care for centered around the main character, Tess Monaghan, doing stupid things. I realize that part of this is because Tess is a risk-taker, but she displayed such stupidity in some p...more
stephanie
re-read began february 2, 2011.

i don't know why i didn't like this one so much the first time around. this time i kind of appreciated the lack of kitty, tyner, whitney, and even crow. the Porcine one, all the poe clues - this is a great mystery, even if it did leave me feeling a little sad (poor, lonely Visitor!)

I liked the glimpses into baltimore history, was annoyed with tess' braid, and mostly was sad that she wasn't rowing as much anymore. for some reason, the fact that she rows makes me rea...more
Erik
This is the only Laura Lippman book I've read to date. Basically, I feel like I'm off to a good start, but I remain a little hesitant to check out any of her other works. I just get a strange feeling that she's a one-trick pony. Regardless, she's definitely a talented writer who knows to add all of the right pop culture references in order to make her characters organic. In fact, what I liked most about this story were the youthful characters, one in particular; a beer-swilling, pizza-scarfing l...more
Faith
Learned more about Poe than I ever wanted to and the book was dragggged out to long. Good book though - I just thought it could have been a bit shorter.
Judith
In other Tess Monaghan novels Edgar Allen Poe is mentioned, as he lived in Baltimore and his grave is there. In this one we explore Poe a little bit more.

Tess interviews a client who wants her to follow a man who has been visiting Poe's grave every year, on the author's birthday, carrying three roses and a half-bottle of cognac. He has been dubbed the "Poe Toaster". There has been someone doing this job since 1949, Lippman acknowledges in the front, but she skewed details deliberately. I find th...more
Shireen
Middles. I've been thinking a lot about middles recently because I've been going through the final edits of my first novel She. The beginning needed little work (probably because I spent the most time on it in the writing phase), and the ending went fast. But the middle...oy! Why is it middles are the hardest part to write? I wondered that again as I was reading In A Strange City. It seemed to sag there for a bit, and I kind of got lost. But the latter could've been because my brain was fried fr...more
Adam Fleming
I'm reviewing this based on listening to the books-on-tape version, so maybe I would have had a different view if I'd read the text, but I don't think so.

There's just not much going on here. The plot consists of listening to a bunch of characters talk about various events and gather more information until a murder is eventually "solved". As the reader (listener) you're never put in the action, so there's never any real tension. If someone is murdered you don't actually get to witness it, you'll...more
Jen
In a Strange City is the sixth Tess Monaghan mystery from Laura Lippman. In this installment, Lippman makes use of a long-standing Baltimore tradition, the Poe Toaster or Visitor. If by some chance you aren't familiar with the Poe Toaster, he's the individual who shows up at Poe's grave on January 19th each year to leave roses and cognac. Only this year, there's a murder at Poe's grave when the Toaster is supposed to arrive.

Tess is not actually employed by anyone, but she begins to investigate w...more
Spuddie
This review refers to the audio version.

#6 Tess Monaghan, PI series set in Baltimore. This book focused on Edgar Allan Poe, who lived in Baltimore, and his museum, memorabilia, and mostly the famous cloaked, anonymous "visitor" who stops by every year with roses and cognac for his grave. An antiques dealer tries to hire Tess into finding who the visitor is and unmasking him because the visitor has something that belongs to him and the only way he can get it is to threaten him with exposure. Tess...more
Laura
This book was great, and is possibly my favorite so far in the Tess Monaghan series. It's filled with Baltimore local color and facts that even I (a native) did not know about. Including the "Poe Toaster" in a mystery novel was pure genius, I wish I'd though of it first! This, and the other Tess books, have a wonderful dry sense of humor that other reviewers often fail to mention. Of all literature's female detectives and PIs, I think Tess is the most believable. I recommend reading the series f...more
Sharonm
The good thing about this book is that it has an interesting setting and background -- Edgar Allan Poe's Baltimore in the present day. I learned a lot about Poe and Baltimore in this book. However, the unsolved mystery is why Tess Monaghan, our PI sleuth, would have gotten involved in this mystery in the first place. Throughout the book, this nagged at me, and as I finished the book it still didn't make sense. I also really hated the way that the explanation for the thefts and murders involved w...more
Martha
Learned more about Baltimore and Edgar Allen Poe; one clue of sorts motivated me to read new biography called "Wondrous Beauty: The Life of Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte" by Carol Berkin. Entertaining read; not as finely wrought as the V.I. Warshawski series, but hey, even the Kinsey Milhone series has its ups and downs.
C Lasseter
I'm from the Baltimore area, and picked up the book partly because the author is a journalist for The Baltimore Sun, which is a newspaper close to my heart. I loved the references to Baltimore culture. The shout-outs to Highlandtown, Fells Point, and other memorable people and places struck a chord with me, although I thought the heroine having a dog nammed Esskay was a bit overdone.

This book is out of my favored genre, I admit. While I found Tess, the main character, imperfect and likeable, I...more
Renny
A lot of the story is told and dialogue per Laura Lippman style... As mysteries go, I don't think this one had a great deal of depth; however, It is interesting in that it makes me want to go back and explore the facts related to Edgar Allan Poe's life.
Meredith
I had known about the tradition of the Poe Tribute, but hadn't realized it took place in Baltimore. I'm almost surprised it took this long to work it into a Tess story.

Lippman does a lovely job of having various layers of the story sharing the issue of what things represent for us and the desire to have them. From those who want to recreate their childhood's by recreating the decorating style, to those who want the iconic symbols of a city, to those who love books. And while Tess is dealing with...more
Joggingt
Always love to follow the antics of Crow and Tess. This one brings in the historical info on one of Baltimore's more famous resident
Mary Lautner
Good story line but so devoid of details about the environment and the people that I could not stay very connected.
Elise Dubois
Easy read, albeit sometimes a confusing story. This one I am going to have to mull over for a bit to decide what I think of it.
Carol
Tess, Crow and Edgar Allan Poe--fun read.
Stephanie
Not my favorite- Tess was kind of dumb in this one. 2.5 stars
Nancy
I enjoyed reading this book, the writing and the characters seem to have settled in quite nicely. But certainly not a book to keep you on the edge of your seat. And when I finished the book I had a nagging feeling that there were some holes or unanswered questions which didn't make the ending feel settled. But although I enjoyed the book overall, I didn't much feel like going back through with what I now knew. Not a bad book that seemed to start with some energy but slowed down early on and left...more
Debbie Maskus
I enjoy this series set in Baltimore, Maryland, about a private detective Tess Monaghan. This book centers on Edgar Allen Poe, and his January 19th birthday tradition in Baltimore. This was fun, since I have visited Poe's grave(really both), and had an adventure myself. Lippman does extensive research for her writing, and the reader is rewarded for all the work. And I love that the mystery Visitor is profiled, but never revealed. The story makes me wants to reread and newly read more Poe.
Victoria
Not my favorite of the Tess Monaghan series, but an entertaining read. This time the mystery centers around the anonymous person who visits Poe's grave in Baltimore each year on the writer's birthday to leave roses and cognac. The story is a little thin and rambles: the motivation for Tess to solve this mystery is pretty weak. But Lippman's great at creating characters and the usual cast shows up, also a few new ones, including a female P.I. who ends up doing some bumbling buddy comedy with Tess...more
Jill
This is the sixth book in the Tess Monahan detective series about a thirty-one year old private investigator in Baltimore. The story is centered around Baltimore aficionados of Edgar Allan Poe, who was born in Boston in 1809 but died in Baltimore in 1849.


This isn’t my favorite of the Tess Monaghan stories; I am much more interested in Tess and her friends than in Poe and his. How you feel about this book will probably depend on how much you enjoy finding out about Edgar Allan Poe.
CJ
Lippman has been getting better with each book, but the story lines are also getting darker. Tess is no longer the happy-go-lucky PI she started out as - and she's a better character for it.

This book actually taught me a little bit about Edgar Allan Poe and that can never be a bad thing. I'm more interested in his stories than I have been since my friend Amy introduced me to him in the 6th grade. I may have to pick up a book of his short stories very soon.
Nancy
Tess is a private detective, who is in need of earning money. She turns down a case from a man she doesn't trust. She still goes to the cemetery, where the man had asked her to follow the vistor, who visits the grave of Edgar Allan Poe each year on January 19th. She see's a murder. Tess will not give all the information she has to the police, and keeps on investigating. She keeps getting into trouble, and fights.

I didn't find the book very interesting.
Kwoomac
Main character, Tess Monahan, is a private eye in Baltimore. Baltimore is like another character. The restaurants, the local politics, edgar alan poe (apparently he's buried there).Tess is a little immature and seems to succeed inspite of herself. She is aided by her aunt, her aunt's boyfriend, and her own boyfriend Crow. Crow is 25 to tess's 31. he's naive and genuinely enthusiastic about everything. I don't get the attraction. Tess is not a warm person.
Brian
The Baltimore reference are fun. It is chock full of them. It seems like every chapter they are patronizing another bar, restaurant or store. I like the strong sense of place. It made me more intrigued by Baltimore.

I didn't find the mystery compelling. I felt like the mystery unfolded without violating any of it's own rules (i.e. lying to the reader in order to later "surprise" the reader), but I didn't feel tension as it did so.
Jenna
Mar 15, 2009 Jenna rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jenna by: Library Shelf
I was honestly not that thrilled with this book. First let me say that I thought that basing a mystery around the Poe Toaster was a really good idea. However, I didn't appreciate the heavy language in the book and there were places where it seemed as if the plot was not progressing and I had to drag myself through parts. And if it counts for anything, I knew who the murderer was shortly after being introduced to his character.
Michael
(This review is one part in my series of reviews attempting to discover how Lippman made the transition from genre author to literary respectability.)

This is a three-star book if ever there was one.

A perfectly fine plot, well-warn characters that don't change much in the course of the book. Lots of local flavor.

I don't feel better for having read this, but I don't feel worse either.

This book is Perfectly Okay.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 81 82 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Baltimore 2 15 Aug 03, 2008 04:34PM  
  • Killer Market (Deborah Knott Mysteries #5)
  • Sorrow's Anthem (Lincoln Perry Series #2)
  • Kill Chain
  • Stone Quarry (Lydia Chin & Bill Smith #6)
  • Misery Loves Maggody (Arly Hanks, #11)
  • Coyote (A Carlotta Carlyle Mystery #3)
  • Death of a Garage Sale Newbie (Bargain Hunters Mysteries, #1)
  • Redemption Street (Moe Prager, #2)
  • The Dead Tracks (David Raker, #2)
  • A Moment on the Edge: 100 Years of Crime Stories by Women
  • Gift Collection: D is for Deadbeat / E is for Evidence / F is for Fugitive
  • Killing Critics (Kathleen Mallory, #3)
  • Hocus (Irene Kelly #5)
  • Hard Revolution
  • Dread Champion (Chelsea Adams, #2)
  • The Bride's Kimono
60459
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
More about Laura Lippman...
I'd Know You Anywhere What the Dead Know And When She Was Good After I'm Gone Every Secret Thing

Share This Book

“The past was worth remembering and knowing in its own right. It was not behind us, never truly behind us, but under us, holding us up, a foundation for all that was to come and everything that had ever been.” 9 likes
“She was only beginning to grasp the geometry lessons that had perplexed her in junior high, the revelation that the world was full of infinite planes that never intersect.” 0 likes
More quotes…