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Hardly Knew Her

3.69  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,123 Ratings  ·  165 Reviews
For the first time together in one volume, a mix of award-winning short stories and a new novella from the acclaimed New York Times bestselling author, including the Edgar nominated Hardly Knew Her.
Kindle Edition, 305 pages
Published (first published 2008)
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Krok Zero
Aug 26, 2010 Krok Zero rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: summer-2010
Laura Lippman is Mrs. David Simon, which makes her the First Lady of The Wire, which is almost reason enough to check out her stuff -- but she's accumulated a fair amount of buzz in her own right, her status as a member of the crime fiction elite confirmed by George Pelecanos's fawning introduction to this short story collection. I picked this up as a first Lippman simply as a little vacation from novel overload, and I definitely plan to check out some of her longformers in the future.

This wasn'
Oct 27, 2008 Patricia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Even if you are a reader that doesn’t enjoy reading short stories I think Hardly Knew Her will change your mind. The stories are so good that you will wish you were reading a book instead of just a short story.

I didn’t find even one of the stories that I didn’t like but I did have my favorites. The story of Mona who increased her income by becoming a porn star was intriguing. Mona was not young and this just didn’t seem to be the occupation to take on late in life but the bills must be paid and
Jan 20, 2009 Judy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have always enjoyed Laura Lippman's novels--in part, I think, because they are set in Baltimore, Maryland and the city usually becomes a major character in each book. This book, however, proved that, in truth, I did hardly know her. In this collection of short stories, Lippman extends her range and her subject matter. While many of the stories are set either in Baltimore and its suburbs or at least in Maryland, some venture as far south as New Orleans and as far east as Dublin, Ireland. Some o ...more
Apr 28, 2009 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I've never read mystery short stories before, so this was an interesting view into a genre I don't read a lot, though I have a lot of respect for the meticulous plotting. I do love Lippman's use of Baltimore, and this was the PERFECT book for sitting in the jury duty waiting room today, but there's still something about her style that I don't quite love.

And now I shall put my finger on it: her characters all seem to speak to me in the voices of the women at my gym. They are the voices of Roland
I've never been a fan of short stories--I am generally of the mind that they do not have time to have enough depth of plot or character to make them interesting. Hardly Knew Her blew that opinion completely out of the water for me--each and every one of these stories immediately engaged me with characters that left lasting impressions. Lippman introduces some seriously off-kilter people who chose to do extraordinary things in completely matter of fact ways that surprise the reader again and agai ...more
Aug 13, 2015 Vicky rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a collection of short stories that I found to be marginally interesting. I enjoyed the Tess Monaghan stories as well as the fictional newspaper article about Tess. Two of the other short stories featured the lead character (Heloise) from Lippman's standalone book "And When She Was Good". Another of the stories featured a young babysitter named Terri who takes a gun from the house where she is sitting, which is a major plot point involving a character named Perri in "To the Power of Three ...more
Mar 19, 2015 Sue rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: guilty-pleasures
I checked out these short stories because I like Lippman's Tess Monaghan series so much. The weird thing about these stories is that after you read a few, they become predictable. Most of them revolve around a seeming normal person murdering someone they know because they've become an inconvenience. The stories are described as mysteries, but they really aren't. You know who does it in every one. The stories are more about how to get away with murder, as that is what happens in most of them. If ...more
May 22, 2010 Shawna rated it it was ok
I was drawn to Laura Lippman's work because I know she is married to David Simon, who helped to create some of the most compelling and complex drama that has ever been brought to the screen, in my opinion. Since Lippman had the same background, Baltimore Sun writer turned author, I figured I'd be in for more of the same. While Lippman is a talented writer, her stories all come to the same conclusion. After the first few stories it was not difficult to guess what end the characters would come to ...more
Again with the half stars, GoodReads: I'd like to give this 2.5 really. It had its highs and lows. For me, I disliked the Tess Monaghan portions because I, having never read one of those books, have no vested interest in the PI. Lippman's other stories were hit or miss. I thought it started off strong, with some shining moments of comedy. Eventually though, they all became formulaic with each one containing a surprising murder of sorts. Overall, it was enjoyable to listen to--didn't pander, was ...more
Stacy Fetters
Jun 16, 2014 Stacy Fetters rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think this book was fabulous. Was a book full of weird and murderous short stories. A lot of people are turned off by short story books but, I think this one will suck you in. Think this will make people more susceptible to short story books.
They range from murder, jealousy and drugs.
My favorite has to be Dear Penthouse Forum. Where a lady writes to penthouse to try to get her true erotic stories published. It doesnt seem to be happening. But what the main character does is plays out scenarios
Jul 14, 2011 Jessica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, short-story
These stories are knockouts - Lippman's talent has really blossomed over the last few years, and this collection is a great introduction to her work. She proves her that she's a master at closing a story in a way that startles and leaves you a little breathless.
Jul 14, 2014 Kaethe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Baltimore noir. Lippman creates some memorably awful characters, and at least one, Heloise, who isn't awful at all. To my surprise, I really enjoyed the bits starring Tess Monaghan, even though I haven't read any of that series.

Library copy.
Tracy Robertson
Oct 04, 2012 Tracy Robertson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm halfway through and liking it a lot. I'm a fan of short stories with twisted characters, and this is up my alley.
This was my first Laura Lippman encounter as before I found this collection of short stories in Dollar Tree, I had never even heard of her but it was a well-spent dollar.
I tend to be iffy about short stories written by women as the few I have read tended to be rushed romance and low-rung "chick-lit" so I was happily surprised with Laura's candor and grit.
I liked the fact that the three stories centering around Tess didn't leave me feeling left out since she was a new character They were f
Sep 03, 2012 Kerri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow, I really enjoyed this book. It made for a long commute that felt too fast! Hardly Knew Her is a collection of short crime stories, which were all really good. The stories were shocking at first, and then you sort of pick up on the formula. But this doesn't make the stories any less entertaining--you just start realizing where the story might go. I found them all really good, and some of them a little off-color in that "The Wire" sort of way. A couple of the stories feature Lippman's heronin ...more
Sep 18, 2009 Shane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Light romps through Baltimore with quirky, cold blooded characters, where the women usually win, where cheating on spouses is de rigueur, and killing husbands for comfortable insurance policies is desirable and achievable - is how I would write my elevator pitch on this collection.

Plot is predominant in these stories which are delivered in the strong narrative voice of the author; sometimes the character voices intrude to comment on their situation or on their antogonist;sometimes whole sections
I got the title story as an audiobook from and listened last week while I was in the bath since it was a nice short one (about 40 minutes). To quote Sarah Rachel Egelman's Amazon review, "In the title story, 'Hardly Knew Her,' 16-year-old Sofia wrests power from her abusive father, literally locking him out of her life. The male characters here are most often victimizers turned victim."

There's nothing light and fluffy about this story, in case you couldn't tell. It's compelling in i
I was a bit skeptical about this book after realizing that the author is a crime writer. I haven't read any of her other books and really haven't read any crime fiction. The thing that disappointed me about this book wasn't the writing--it was actually fairly well written and LOL in many places. The thing that disappointed me was that most of the stories end with a character being murdered. It reminded me a lot of the stories that I used to write when I was new to the story writing genre, where ...more
Feb 26, 2011 Laurel-Rain rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In Laura Lippman's short story collection, we experience a variety of voices: first person narratives; stories from the perspective of women ranging from teens to aged; two from men who have been less than faithful to their wives (spousal betrayal seems to be a recurring theme); and a couple from the perspective of black men.

Another recurring theme lies in the numerous stories set in Baltimore or neighboring cities, like Washington, D.C. There are a few Tess Monaghan stories, and one of my favor
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Jul 10, 2016 Jaime rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This short story collection could have been subtitled “Women Who Kill”, because that is essentially what most of the stories revolve around. It’s a very strong collection, with only a few duds. Strangely, one of those duds was a Tess Monaghan story (Lippman’s most well-known character).

It’s difficult to narrow down exactly which stories were my favorites. The first story, The Crack Cocaine Diet, is fabulous just for its voice. I really enjoyed The Accidental Detective, a newspaper-style piece on
Jul 22, 2016 Karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
I've admired Ms. Lippman's mystery novels for some time, but wasn't sure to think about her short stories, until I read this collection. Most of the characters are pretty feisty females, and things they act upon or consider doing make up the interesting part of each story. I enjoyed this book and recommend it to people who like to pick up a book, read a story, and give thought to what the author is saying; sometimes it's quite a puzzle.
Jan 26, 2016 Annemarie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Surprisingly violent at times this book had me gasp and laugh often. I tend to not read a lot of short story collections because I find it hard to get into many different storylines over the course of one book. However this book had some of the stories intertwined with each other and even the stand alone stories grabbed my attention quickly. This book also seemed to keep overall themes together which was a concept I had not yet encountered.
I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Nov 12, 2008 Sandie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary-lit
Laura Lippman’s Hardly Knew Her presents the reader with a medley of innovative stories about caprice, violence, prostitution, murder and the less than traditional ironies of life. Her characters are richly drawn and she deftly spins seventeen delectable tales of women caught in various predicaments. Some situations are of their own making while others are caused by happenstance or perhaps by a cruel twist of fate.

Lippman’s women are as varied as the colorful icings on a dozen donuts. Some of h
Jul 22, 2016 Lauren rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved the variety in these stories and the sense of place. I grew up in Annapolis and live in Baltimore so I recognized a lot of the local references. I loved how in the story about the two girls who go to the city to buy drugs, the protagonist says she's seen HBO...clearly a nod to The Wire (Lippman is married to David Simon!).
Mike Barresi
Aug 01, 2011 Mike Barresi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, literature
Lippman's collection of short stories in Hardly Knew Her, are told through a variety of voices. A suburban prostitute, a college age girl, and a sixty year old adult film actress to name a few. All have one underlying theme: murder. Lippman's diologue propels the stories, which are all rich in plot and characters. And maybe not surprisingly, I was most interested in the two stories featuring Tess Monaghan. Although I haven't ready a Lippman novel starring Tess, I could tell that Tess was a full ...more
I didn't really care for the first Tess Monaghan novel when I read it a few years back, but this highly entertaining short story collection has prompted me to reassess my opinion of Laura Lippman's work. Lippman depicts Baltimore, D.C., and their surrounding suburbs with the appropriate mix of satire and social realism. The best stories in this collection are fantastically entertaining, and even the weaker entries have some perfect local detail, turn of phrase, or sociological insight that make ...more
I have enjoyed the Tess Monaghan books that I have read. Lippman knows her city, Baltimore, and her characters are fun and interesting to follow. There are a couple of stories in this book about Tess and I liked them a lot.

I tend to like short stories, especially when my life is stressed and I am having trouble concentrating. Lippman knows how to write economically and so her stories were all good.

The ones that are going to stick with me were about Heloise - a madam who is raising her son in the
Jun 15, 2016 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Only a native can write Baltimore like this. Sarcasm mixed with dark pulp is Lippman's bread and butter, and it's a rich treat for the reader.
Several of these are deeply creepifying, but in a good way. I also enjoyed the Tess Monahan shorts, as I miss having new Tess stories to read.

I particularly the two about Heloise. She's very self-aware, knowing her strengths and foibles - and the cause and effect in life that are often the source of those blind spots. Her story is a particularly effect as a compare and contrast with those with whom she interacts. What's legal, what's moral, and what we're willing to rationalize for our own sake
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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
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“There's a serendipity to real life that the Internet can't duplicate. Do you use the library? For anything? Well, sometimes you end up picking up the book next to the one you were looking for, and it's that book that changes your life.” 18 likes
“...Baltimore. It's imperfect. Boy, is it imperfect. And there are parts of its past that make you wince. It's not all marble steps and waitresses calling you 'hon,' you know. Racial strife in the sixties, the riots during the Civil War. F. Scott Fitzgerald said it was civilized and gay, rotted and polite. The terms are slightly anachronistic now, but I think he was essentially right.” 7 likes
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