Butchers Hill

Lippman, Laura. Butchers Hill. New York: Avon, 1998.

Tess Monaghan is back. This time she has her own “business” as a private investigator. It’s a bit hokey, but the business actually belongs to someone else and she does the “detecting” for a cut. Since it is a brand new venture for her, she is thrilled when she gets two cases on the same day – cases she considers “slam dunks”, especially since she has other people helping her with the leg work. Client #1 is Luther Beale of Butcher Hill. Six years earlier he went to prison for killing a kid vandalizing cars in his neighborhood. Now, newly released from prison Beale wants to make amends with the children who witnessed the death of their friend, even though he has always claimed self defense. Beale needs Tess to not only find these kids, but identify them first since they were anonymous minors at the time. Her second client is a woman with several different aliases. Although shrouded in mystery, Tess can tell she is a well-to-do black woman. This woman claims she looking for the daughter she put up for adoption thirteen years before. Of course, both cases turn out to be more complicated than they first appeared. The end of the story delivers a curve ball that somehow doesn’t smack of shock that it should. Instead, the surprise misses the mark and fails to make an impact.

Letdown: I was surprised Tess didn’t know what a “mule” was. Reason read: to continue the series started with Baltimore Blues…but not really. See BookLust Twist below for what I mean. I could also say that I am reading Butchers Hill because November is National Adoption Month.

Author fact: Lippman won the Anthony Award for Best Paperback Original for Butchers Hill.

Book trivia: Butcher’s Hill is third in the Tess Monaghan series. I skipped book #2, Charm City.

BookLust Twist: from More Book Lust in the chapter called “Ms. Mystery” (p 171). Funny thing is, Pearl doesn’t mention specific titles except #3 and #8. The first book in the series, Baltimore Blues is mentioned in Book Lust To Go in the chapter “Baltimore.”

As an aside, what would have been really cool is instead of listing the same book in several different chapters (like To Kill a Mockingbird) list out all the books within a series. Less repetition, more information.

Another note: I had been calling this book Butcher’s Hill as opposed to Butchers Hill. Big difference.


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