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Pickle Me This

July 31, 2007

What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman

Laura Lippman’s novel What the Dead Know came recommended by Deanna and Kate for good reason, because the book was fantastic. Please see photo below of me on the dock with a beer, and the book, which just about sums it up. What the Dead Know was an absolute pleasure to take along on a weekend away.

Two teenage sisters disappear from suburban Baltimore in 1975, and a dazed woman emerging from a car accident thirty years later confesses to being one of them. Police detectives must prove that this Jane Doe is truly one of the missing Bethany sisters, but the pieces of the puzzle refuse to add up, roads lead to dead ends, and it’s a meandering path taken toward solution. But oh, such a compelling one.

Here is popular fiction at its finest, well-written, well-storied, taking every advantage of prose. I love that this book gave me the chance to recognize one of my latest new words “postprandial” in print. That characters are bookish, there are scattered literary references. Multiple points of view are convincing, and the story so well-developed that I couldn’t put it down until it was finished, until the last piece had fit. Afterwards I was pleased to realize that time so enjoyed could also feel well spent, and that this feeling didn’t even have to do with the paradise where I’d spent it.

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