I try not to take library books on trips, preferring to leave a trail of paperbacks and New Yorkers wherever I go. But Laura Lippman’s short mystery, “The Girl in the Green Raincoat,” was such a thin book, and had been “previously serialized in the New York Times,” so I made an exception.
Tess Monaghan, clever crime investigator, is pregnant, and like Jimmy Stewart in “Rear Window” is confined to a room with a view. When the girl in the fashionable green raincoat, who regularly walks her Italian greyhound by Tess’s window, stops strolling by, Tess gets suspicious, and the mystery begins.
From the sleazy husband who seems to have an affinity for losing wives to accidents, disappearance, and death – to Tess’s friends and lover, Crow, the story could rival Hitchcock. The local Maryland flavor just adds to the fun – with the action referencing Roland Park, Glen Burnie, Severna Park, and Cantler’s in Annapolis – “the kind of place no one ever found by accident. Only a local could write this, and Laura Lippman lives in Baltimore.
The mystery is resolved; the murderer caught; the baby is born – and the dog plays a crucial role. Whether or not you like mysteries, “The Girl in the Green Raincoat” is a quick, satisfying read – with some nostalgic visits to familiar places for anyone who ever lived in the area.