Review

The Girl in the Green Raincoat: A Tess Monaghan Novel

by Laura Lippman

In Alfred Hitchcock's classic thriller, Rear Window,
photographer Jeff Jeffries is homebound with a broken leg. Bored,
he begins to watch the comings and goings of his New York City
neighbors until, through his binoculars, he sees what he believes
to be evidence of a murder. From his chair he orchestrates an
investigation into the events. Riffing on this story, Laura
Lippman's latest has private investigator Tess Monaghan confined to
bed rest for the final weeks of her pregnancy and itching for
excitement. THE GIRL IN THE GREEN RAINCOAT is a novella that was
previously serially published in the New York Times
Magazine
and is now available in printed book form.

From her upstairs window, between daytime television and book
chapters, Tess watches the dog park across from her house. Every
day she sees a young woman in a stylish green coat walking a
rambunctious puppy. But one day she observes the dog running free,
trailing its leash, and the woman is nowhere to be seen. Drawing on
her investigative skills (not to mention sheer curiosity), Tess
organizes an exciting but unconventional probe. Enlisting the help
of her associate, the unassuming but shrewd Mrs. Blossom, and her
closest friend Whitney, plus a host of others, Tess quickly learns
the identity of the missing woman.

She is Carole Epstein, the wife of Don Epstein, a person of
interest in the murders and deaths of other women. Don claims
Carole left, but Tess fears he killed her, and she hatches a
potentially dangerous plot to reveal the truth. As she gets closer
and closer to learning what has happened not only to Carole but to
the other women, Tess is still dealing with a risky pregnancy and
caring for the stranded puppy. The action is fast-paced and
exciting, the resolution swift and compelling, making THE GIRL IN
THE GREEN RAINCOAT a fantastic thriller.

In under 160 pages, Lippman crafts a fully realized and
believable story without it feeling rushed. Tess is so likable and
real, and the author manages to put her in such a sensational
situation without losing plausibility. The thrills of the story,
the danger and the intrigue are cleverly and humorously balanced
with Tess's physical restraints and frustrations.

With requisite twists and turns, and Tess's homey but still
tough and smart characterization, THE GIRL IN THE GREEN RAINCOAT is
a worthy homage to Hitchcock's award-winning film (which is
actually based on a short story). Because of its length, it’s
perfect for a quick read or vacation book, but there’s
nothing fluffy about it. It’s powerful and provocative,
surprising and fun. While not as psychologically rich or deep as
some of her other novels, Lippman’s new book remains
satisfying and recommendable.

Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman on March 28, 2011

The Girl in the Green Raincoat: A Tess Monaghan Novel
by Laura Lippman

  • Publication Date: January 1, 2011
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 006193836X
  • ISBN-13: 9780061938368