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In a Strange City (Tess Monaghan #6)
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In a Strange City (Tess Monaghan #6)

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  2,053 ratings  ·  149 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

Kindle Edition, 400 pages
Published (first published 2001)
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Book Concierge
January in Baltimore can only mean one thing – the annual visit to Edgar Allan Poe’s final resting place by the Poe Toaster, an anonymous person, dressed in cape and scarf, who leaves three roses and a half-full bottle of cognac at the grave on Poe’s birthday. PI Tess Monaghan gets embroiled in the tradition when a mysterious man tries to hire her to follow and unmask the Toaster. She declines the job, but winds up investigating when 1) TWO Toasters show up and one is shot, and 2) she receives a ...more
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
Tess Is a P.I., rather inexperienced, in Baltimore. A former journalist, Tess is curious and tenacious. Baltimore is almost always a character in this series as well. The stories are heavy with the history of Baltimore and rich descriptions of the people and neighborhoods. In this book Tess turns down a job to uncover the identity of the Visitor, who yearly leaves roses and cognac on the grave of Edgar Allen Poe. But her curiosity brings Tess to the grave sight to witness the ritual even if she ...more
I don't know why I keep reading these. The main character is such a sanctimonious monster. At one point, her boyfriend calls her out on it because she is complaining that a third character behaves more or less exactly like she does. It was satisfying and maybe even self-aware of the author, but it doesn't change the fact that Tess is a macho-woman paragon who loves carbohydrates, her "signature" braid, and knowing what men want in a woman (i.e. not some put-together, too-skinny, she-devil).

The w
I'm in a mystery book club and we read what we want each month and talk about the books. I found this one at a library book sale and because it was about the Poe Visitor I had to read it. I thoroughly enjoyed the quirky PI, Tess. She is a character I'd love to sit down with over and cup of coffee. Also loved that a librarian held a central role in this novel. The plot twists to discover who killed one of the two Poe Visitors who showed up the night Tess was there had me involved in the book to t ...more
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
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
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
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
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
I enjoyed this one, however I do need to make a comment on the audio version. Isn't there supposed to be a "director"? Several words were so mispronounced that they were almost laughable. Come on, this whole series is about Baltimore and Johnny Unitas' name was pronounced "une-eh-taas". "Zydeco" was also pronounced incorrectly. Oh well....
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
A story about Poe and his mystique - and those that are greedy and desperate for "things". The bad characters never really resonate but Tess and Crow (and to a minor extent Whitney and Kitty and Tyner)are pretty much the same but more settled which is just fine. I did enjoy the look into Poe history and those that are fascinated and obsessed with it.
As a Baltimore native, I was anxious to finally get my hands on a Laura Lippman novel. I loved the cultural references. It was almost like visiting my hometown with all its charms.

The mystery was intriguing. And I learned so much about Poe. I wish I had read the previous Tess novels, though. Perhaps I would have felt more connected to this character.
You can check my other Laura Lippman reviews for Tess/non-Tess work to see what I think. Nothing different here except for two things...
1.The killer was eyerollingly obvious.
2. The final scene (not spoiling anything) was fantastic and a great nod to the Poe tradition.
Cara St.Germain
this is one of my favorites! I think Lippman has improved as a writer as she's aged. but none the less, I love her characters, their flaws and all. this was one of my favorites! Poe came into the picture,
along with some more Baltimore mythology and history.
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.
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
Emily Ellis
Good engaging murder mystery. I enjoyed the fascination Baltimore holds for its one time resident Edgar Allan Poe and the references to Poe collectibles. I listened to this on CD on a road trip and it made the miles go faster.
I always enjoy Laura Lippman's Tess Monaghan series. This particular entry in the series was good and enjoyable in its education on Edgar Allen Poe and Baltimore. I am only rating it a "3" because the mystery was okay but not as good as some of Lippman's. It was fun and certainly included some quirky characters.
Not one of my favorite Laura Lippman books. Her books are my go-to, fall backs if I need to have something to read and there isn't an author or book that I've heard a lot of great things about. This one, while good, seemed to drag and I struggled to finish it.
Books get better and better.
Mystery revolves around Edgar Allen Poe.
Mysterious person who brings 3 roses and 1/2 bottle of whiskey to his grave.
Mary Ellen McWhirter
An early book which set some of the info on Tess and Crowe. I decent story based on a lot of the Poe lore and the Baltimore connection.
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Baltimore 2 16 Aug 03, 2008 04:34PM  
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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 other ...more
More about Laura Lippman...

Other Books in the Series

Tess Monaghan (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • Baltimore Blues (Tess Monaghan #1)
  • Charm City (Tess Monaghan #2)
  • Butchers Hill (Tess Monaghan #3)
  • In Big Trouble (Tess Monaghan #4)
  • The Sugar House (Tess Monaghan #5)
  • 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)

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