The award-winning New York Times bestselling author of After I'm Gone, The Most Dangerous Thing, I'd Know You Anywhere, and What the Dead Know brings back private detective Tess Monaghan, introduced in the classic Baltimore Blues, in an absorbing mystery that plunges the new parent into a disturbing case involving murder and a manipulative mother.
On a searing August day, Melisandre Harris Dawes committed the unthinkable: she left her two-month-old daughter locked in a car while she sat nearby on the shores of the Patapsco River. Melisandre was found not guilty by reason of criminal insanity, although there was much skepticism about her mental state. Freed, she left the country, her husband and her two surviving children, determined to start over.
But now Melisandre has returned Baltimore to meet with her estranged teenage daughters and wants to film the reunion for a documentary. The problem is, she relinquished custody and her ex, now remarried, isn't sure he approves.
Now that's she's a mother herself--short on time, patience--Tess Monaghan wants nothing to do with a woman crazy enough to have killed her own child. But her mentor and close friend Tyner Gray, Melisandre's lawyer, has asked Tess and her new partner, retired Baltimore P.D. homicide detective Sandy Sanchez, to assess Melisandre's security needs.
As a former reporter and private investigator, Tess tries to understand why other people break the rules and the law. Yet the imperious Melisandre is something far different from anyone she's encountered. A decade ago, a judge ruled that Melisandre was beyond rational thought. But was she? Tess tries to ignore the discomfort she feels around the confident, manipulative Melisandre. But that gets tricky after Melisandre becomes a prime suspect in a murder.
Yet as her suspicions deepen, Tess realizes that just as she's been scrutinizing Melisandre, a judgmental stalker has been watching her every move as well. . .
HUSH HUSH (Tess Monaghan #12) by Laura Lippman is an absorbing mystery case, involving a mother and a Reporter-turned PI, Tess Monaghan juggling work, motherhood, and her personal life.
Twelve years earlier, Melisandre Harris Dawes committed a horrible crime, leaving her two-month-old daughter locked in a hot car while she sat nearby on the shores of the Patapsco River. Melisandre was found not guilty by reason of criminal insanity and spent time in a mental institution. She was a wealthy, beautiful former Baltimore socialite, once an attorney, and later wife of a wealthy developer. After being released she fled the country, leaving the two older daughters with their father. Not many agreed with this verdict.
With such a controversial case, a decade later, Melisandre is in town for a documentary on the insanity defense, and wants to reconnect with her daughters, now ages 15 and 17. Their dad does not want them to be a part of this to relive the nightmare. There will need to be high security, as she has a lot of enemies.
PI Tess does not want to be involved with this crazy woman (like how could a mother do such a thing)? However, her friend Tyner (Melisandre’s attorney) has requested Tess and her new partner, Sandy to oversee the former crazy woman’s security. Of course, all does not go well, when the threats begin to occur and turns dangerous.
Moving back and forth between Tess, Sandy, Melisandre, the daughters, and the ex’s new wife—we soon learn everything is not as it appeared, leading to a whodunit mystery. I enjoyed the family which was left behind and how their current lives are affected. Tess, is constantly second guessing herself in her role with Crow and mother as high drama and complications.
Some may think the food rules are a little over the top; however, I can appreciate his food rules, since I have to eat this way, as have MCS (multiple chemical sensitivities), very serious food allergies. If I eat something with an additive or preservative I go into Analyphaxis which is very scary. Unless you have these type allergies, you do not take it seriously. Some parts were quite humorous.
Tess and her stressful demands, her live in boyfriend, and motherly duties to bratty Carla Scott took over a big portion of the story, a little distracting as she balances work and her personal life; however, an overall an intriguing psychological mystery suspense. I listened to the audiobook and Jan Maxwell delivered a pleasant performance.