So about ten years ago, I got the bright idea to read all the Edgar Award "Best Novel" nominees for 2005. This was a stupid idea, as it turns out. I read the winner California Girl, back in 2006. I picked up another nominee, Out of the Deep I Cry in 2008. And now I've read another. Yes, it's good. But what was I thinking?
This book is the eighth entry in author Laura Lippman's series featuring Baltimore private investigator Tess Monaghan (since grown to an even dozen). Tess is the offspring of an Irish father and a Jewish mother; the latter heritage helps her here. Wealthy furrier Mark Rubin's wife and three children have vanished; since there's no indication of foul play, but Rubin's anxious to avoid public scrutiny, he hires Tess to track down his family. Rubin is very much an Orthodox Jew, even declining to shake Tess's hand at their first meeting. (Yes, that's a thing.)
There is, of course, more than meets the eye. Ms. Lippman uses third-person, multiple POV to tell the story, so we know that Rubin's wife is driving through the Midwest with the mysterious, malevolent Zeke. The kids are unwilling tagalongs, and Zeke's not above sticking the oldest boy, Isaac, into the car trunk when he gets obstreperous. Everyone's motives are mysterious, and are revealed only gradually over the course of the book.
It becomes clear to Tess that Rubin isn't being entirely forthcoming with his wife's history. Is that due to a desire for privacy or something more sinister? Nevertheless, Rubin and Tess develop an interesting relationship, to the extent that Tess is reluctant to honestly convey to him what she learns about the peripatetic Mrs. Rubin.
Despite being number eight of a series, the book works pretty well on its own, without my having first read entries one through seven. There are some refrences to harrowing incidents in a previous book, mooning over an absent boyfriend, preparations for the upcoming wedding of a beloved aunt. That's to be expected.
I am not sure whether I will continue with my plan to read all the 2005 Edgar nominees. Not sure, either, whether I'll read more Laura Lippman. She's very good, but geez my TBR pile is really tall without adding eleven more.