I’m a huge fan of Laura Lippman and I had high hopes for “Lady in the Lake”. I wasn’t disappointed really, and I certainly enjoyed the book, but it left me wishing there was more to it.
It takes place in 1960s Baltimore. Maddie Schwartz, newly divorced, finds herself in a new apartment and looking for the next thing life has to offer. She gets a job at a newspaper where she realizes she would like to be a reporter. After the death of a young black woman, Cleo Sherwood, she ends up inserting herself into the investigation which ends up taking its toll on her new relationship with a cop and on that of her coworkers. There is an interesting twist at the end, though, which I won’t spoil for you.
Lippman jumps around a lot from one character to the next, many of whom are side characters and don’t really do much to further the story along. Really, it is Maddie and Cleo who carry the story. They are the interesting reads, the women you want to know about and want to root for. These two women from opposite ends of society are both ambitious and strong in ways they probably didn’t realize.
This isn’t Lippman’s best work, but it is worth reading simply for Cleo and Maddie. The rest of the characters are uninteresting and often misogynistic filler. It was the 1960’s after all. Like I said before – I just wanted more of the mystery and murder solving and less of the hopping around from character to character. A good winter afternoon read, though, if you have a Sunday to fill.