Monday, January 17, 2011
Previously serialized in the New York Times, and now published in book form for the very first time, The Girl in the Green Raincoat is a masterful Hitchcockian thriller from one of the very best in the business: multiple award-winner Laura Lippman.-- Avon
A few months ago, I read I'D KNOW YOU ANYWHERE by Laura Lippman, and I was blown away by it -- you can read my review here. One of my unofficial goals for reading in 2011 was to read more of Ms. Lippman's books. So I started with her latest, a novella from her Tess Monaghan series called THE GIRL IN THE GREEN RAINCOAT.
Now I know many of you are thinking that you couldn't start a series in the middle or even at the end like I did. To be honest, I don't like doing it either. But I've learned that I'm missing out on some wonderful books and characters because of my issue. And in the case of THE GIRL IN THE GREEN RAINCOAT, I could tell that I was missing out on some character and plot development, but it didn't really matter. Ms. Lippman provided enough details for me to catch-on. I still enjoyed the story despite not reading the prior novels, and there is no doubt that I will be picking up all of the Tess Monaghan books -- challenge, anyone?
THE GIRL IN THE GREEN RAINCOAT was initially serialized and published in the New York Times. I'd like to say that I was an astute enough reader to tell that the chapters were written as installments, but well... I wasn't. After I finished the novella and read the background on the story, I did I realize that each chapter kind of left me hanging in a way that made me want more. But I didn't find it that unusual in a mystery book. In addition, I now see that Ms. Lippman included side stories within some of the chapters/installments that probably worked very well in the New York Times serialization. But I also thought they worked well in introducing some of the characters to new readers -- like me.
As I read THE GIRL IN THE GREEN RAINCOAT, I couldn't help but be reminded of the Hitchcock movie Rear Window. In fact, Tess actually becomes interested in "the girl in the green raincoat" while looking out her window one day. Since Tess is bedridden due to complications from her pregnancy, she has to solve the entire mystery from her bedroom... and with the help of her friends. I am now a little curious to watch Rear Window again to see how much it influenced Ms. Lippman when she wrote this story.
I can't really speak as to how THE GIRL IN THE GREEN RAINCOAT compares to other Tess Monaghan books, but I can say that I found mystery to be a good one. There were twists and turns and even some suspense scenes which kept my interest. However, I also found that I enjoyed the character development of Tess and her friend Whitney. I am definitely looking forward to the next Tess Monaghan novel (and the old ones too!)
I found it interesting that there is a reading guide for THE GIRL WITH THE GREEN RAINCOAT. My group has never read and discussed a novella, but I started thinking that it could be perfect for the summer or holidays when we have less time to read. The discussion questions are very interesting and I also like the idea of comparing/contrasting this novella with the movie THE REAR WINDOW. Another topic that might be interesting to discuss is the huge amount of change (both professional and personal) that Tess is facing as she approaches motherhood.
I thought THE GIRL IN THE GREEN RAINCOAT was an entertaining read and well worth my time. Of course, it did result in making me crave more of Ms. Lippman's excellent writing!
Thanks to the publisher for sending me a review copy of this novella.