Saturday, July 27, 2019

Laura Lippman, The Lady in the Lake

A short review (because that's all I can manage right now) of Laura Lippman's interesting new novel The Lady in the Lake. It's about a Jewish wife and mother in '60s Baltimore who, after a chance encounter, veers suddenly off the conventional path she had created for herself into a new world, with an impossible lover, an improbably career, and an uncertain future. She begins with the discovery of the body of a missing girl (having gone out searching mostly to get out of the house, it seems), then a new focus on the case of a murdered African-American woman whom nobody seems to care about except her parents. Along the way, she reveals the Baltimore (and the ountry) of an era emerging from the conventional 1950s into a new opennes to change in the 1960s. Lippman's previous novel was an exercise in neo-noir genre bending, and the new one is another change in direction for a writer who keeps coming up with interesting takes on the crime novel, expanding the scope of the genre beyond conventional exectations (much as her new heroine expands her own scope and life).