Lady in the Lake

Lady in the Lake

The revered New York Times bestselling author returns with a novel set in 1960s Baltimore that combines modern psychological insights with elements of classic noir, about a middle-aged housewife turned aspiring reporter who pursues the murder of a forgotten young woman. In 1966, Baltimore is a city of secrets that everyone seems to know--everyone, that is, except Madeline...

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Title:Lady in the Lake
Author:Laura Lippman
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Lady in the Lake Reviews

  • Lindsey Gandhi

    This is my first book by Laura Lippman and I am so glad I was introduced to this author's writing. Lady in the Lake is a simply captivating book. I absolutely loved the author's writing style and prose. The storyline itself is really intriguing. And the best part for me is there was a big unexpected twist I did not see coming from a million miles away. I thought I was reading about Maddie on her hunt for the truth about how Cleo was killed and then BAM you are hit with this twist. It's absolutel

    This is my first book by Laura Lippman and I am so glad I was introduced to this author's writing. Lady in the Lake is a simply captivating book. I absolutely loved the author's writing style and prose. The storyline itself is really intriguing. And the best part for me is there was a big unexpected twist I did not see coming from a million miles away. I thought I was reading about Maddie on her hunt for the truth about how Cleo was killed and then BAM you are hit with this twist. It's absolutely brilliant!!!

    The book is structured by each chapter being from a different characters perspective. You would think this structure would be confusing to follow. However, Lipman's writing does just the opposite. It flows seamlessly. From a writing viewpoint it's beautiful, clever and masterful!! That is no easy feat and the author does this effortlessly. From a reader's position it makes the book so enjoyable, satisfying and hard to put down.

    This book has elements of love, mystery, desire, ambition, independence, and finding your own way all wrapped up together. The character development is strong and the author is spot on with the rich history of Baltimore and the time period. It's a solid and powerful read. I can see this as a great beach read or Bookclub pick. This book offers the platform for some engaging discussions on how life has changed from the 60's, especially the role of women and the extents people will go to for love. And you can guarantee that not only will I be recommending this book, but also checking out the author's other books.

    My thanks to Laura Lippman, Farber & Farber Publishing and Netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  • Liz

    4.5 stars, rounded up

    I’ve read almost all of Laura Lippman’s books. This one is a departure from her typical style. For starters, it takes place in the past, the sixties to be precise. It also involves a ghost. Yet, it’s still a mystery at heart.

    Maddie Schwatz is recently separated and looking finally to become something other than a wife and mother. Through a fluke, she finds the body of a missing 11 year old girl. Playing off that and what follows, she manages to get a job at a newspaper. As

    4.5 stars, rounded up

    I’ve read almost all of Laura Lippman’s books. This one is a departure from her typical style. For starters, it takes place in the past, the sixties to be precise. It also involves a ghost. Yet, it’s still a mystery at heart.

    Maddie Schwatz is recently separated and looking finally to become something other than a wife and mother. Through a fluke, she finds the body of a missing 11 year old girl. Playing off that and what follows, she manages to get a job at a newspaper. As the story goes on, she becomes interested in the murder of a young black woman whose body was found in the Druid Hill Park fountain.

    Each chapter is told from a different viewpoint, including the ghost’s. And I mean, a lot of different POVs. If that bothers you, you won’t like this book, especially because we are given everyone’s background and thoughts. It reminded me a little of Olive Kitteridge, the way each character moves the story forward.

    As always, Baltimore is as much a character in the book as any of the people. Maybe because I lived there for decades, I’m always fascinated by how I know exactly the neighborhoods and locations Lippman is describing and what a great job she does doing it. And the language. Oh, she’s got the language. Does any other city say “a police” when referring to a policeman?

    Lippman also totally nails the times. When Tessie Fine laments that as an 11 year old girl, she’s told she can’t be a rabbi or even a cantor, it took me right back to the times I was told all the things I couldn’t be. “They gave me the same speech about modesty, tzniut. If I had a dollar for every time someone quoted “all is vanity” to me, I could buy five new bras,one for each school day. Modesty is for people who aren’t lucky enough to have things about which to be conceited.”

    I truly enjoyed this book, although the format is one that would normally bother me. It’s all down to the writing, characters and the plot. Lippman does a great job of nailing all three.

    In a weird stroke of luck, I had searched google looking for a picture of the fountain, only to discover the story is based on a true event, right down to the nickname given the deceased. Actually, both murders are based on real cases, and Lippman acknowledges this in her author’s Note.

    My thanks to netgalley and Faber & Faber for an advance copy of this book.

  • Michelle

    It's Baltimore in 1966 and Maddie Schwartz has decided she is done playing by the rules and wants to start living her life. She leaves her husband and moves to an apartment downtown. She finds herself in the middle of a police investigation and from that point on she gains a focus of what she wants to do with her life. She begins work

    It's Baltimore in 1966 and Maddie Schwartz has decided she is done playing by the rules and wants to start living her life. She leaves her husband and moves to an apartment downtown. She finds herself in the middle of a police investigation and from that point on she gains a focus of what she wants to do with her life. She begins working for the Star, one of Baltimore's newspapers and immediately decides that she is not going to settle for being someone's assistant. She wants her own column and she does almost anything she can (sometimes consequences be damned!) to research a murder that no one seems to care about. A young, black woman was found dead in a nearby lake. The community has moved on from this, but Maddie refuses to let go. It is through this investigation that we follow Maddie, and many other POV from the various people she meets by way of her investigation.

    I can see why some people had trouble with the way this book was laid out. We hear from almost everyone Maddie encounters (even if for only a brief chapter), which in my opinion, helps flesh out the story even more than if we had read it all from Maddie's perspective. I thought it was also a good avenue into the insight of the time and place - not only did we see the world through Maddie's eyes, we saw it through different races, socioeconomic backgrounds, professions, genders, etc. So this aspect of the book was a total win for me.

    I also found the story extremely interesting and inspiring. Was Maddie my favorite character in the world? No. But who cares? She had a dream and she chased it. I highly recommend giving this a chance it you have any interest in newsroom/reporting, mystery, the 60's, or women's fiction.

    I want to thank Netgalley, Faber & Faber and Laura Lippman for the opportunity to read and provide an honest review of this book. I was particularly touched by Ms. Lippman's author's note.

    Review Date: 7/21/19

    Publication Date: 7/23/19

  • Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)

    Maddie Schwartz has been a housewife for almost twenty years.  She thought she'd resigned herself to this life as soon as she married Milton and became a mother to their son Seth.  

    It's a guest from her past at a small dinner party that reminds Maddie of her ambitions and she leaves Milton to begin a life of her own.  She assumed Seth would want to live with her and she's hurt when he decides to stay and finish high school at home with his father.

    When young Tessie Fine goes missing near Maddie's

    Maddie Schwartz has been a housewife for almost twenty years.  She thought she'd resigned herself to this life as soon as she married Milton and became a mother to their son Seth.  

    It's a guest from her past at a small dinner party that reminds Maddie of her ambitions and she leaves Milton to begin a life of her own.  She assumed Seth would want to live with her and she's hurt when he decides to stay and finish high school at home with his father.

    When young Tessie Fine goes missing near Maddie's new Baltimore neighborhood, Maddie and another young woman form their own search party and as she follows streets that remind her of her past, she finds the body of the young girl.  

    This leads to a job at the afternoon newspaper the

    , where Maddie hopes to work her way up and eventually have her own byline.  Unfortunately she's relegated to sorting and answering questions from the public for a help column.

    Maddie believes her big break is the case of missing woman Cleo Sherwood, whose body is found in the fountain of a park lake.  She works on her own time to learn more about Cleo's life and discover how she died.

    But what if there's something Cleo doesn't want Maddie to uncover?

    is a slow burning noir novel that uncovers the secrets of Maddie Schwartz's past and present while she works a case no one else seems to care about.  Maddie understands what it's like to have secrets and yearn for a fresh start, just like Cleo; learning Cleo's secrets will be the key to solving her death.  

    During her investigation, Maddie comes in contact with a string of people, both related and unrelated to case, who each have a brief chance to narrate the story to share a truth with readers.  The resounding voice that returns continuously is that of the ghost of Cleo Sherwood herself and she wants Maddie to stop searching for answers.  What is it that Cleo doesn't want Maddie to uncover?

    Maddie's determination stems from her own selfish ambition and causes her to miss clues that ultimately lead to devastating consequences for herself and those connected with her investigation.

    Lippman's writing is subtle; her stories are not about action but the character perspectives that move the story to its eventual conclusion.  I was never on the edge of my seat but I was compelled to follow Maddie around the streets of Baltimore to see what she would find.  

    I had a couple of theories on Cleo's death and just when the least dramatic one seemed to tie up Maddie's investigation, Lippman threw in a curveball that ultimately solves the mystery while giving us more questions than answers!  While that certainly could've been more frustrating than satisfying, I appreciate that the ending has me considering the possibilities long after I've finished reading.

    Mixing noir with hints of hard-boiled fiction,

    gives readers unlikeable but entertaining characters surrounding a mystery loosely based on actual events of the time period.

    If you love a slow burn mystery with noir and detective fiction vibes,

    is worthy of adding to your TBR stack.

    Thanks to William Morrow for sending me an advance copy and Goodreads for hosting the giveaway!  

    is scheduled for release on July 23, 2019.

    For more reviews, visit

  • Esil

    3.5 stars

    I liked the feel of Lady in the Lake, but there was something a bit disjointed about it at times. The story is set in 1966 Baltimore and focuses on Maddie Schwartz. Maddie is somewhat at odds with the times. She is restless in her marriage, has a healthy sexual appetite, is itching to work at something engaging and is willing to take risks. But she’s no hero. She gets a job with a newspaper and starts meddling in the murder of Cleo Sherwood, and things become complicated for Maddie and

    3.5 stars

    I liked the feel of Lady in the Lake, but there was something a bit disjointed about it at times. The story is set in 1966 Baltimore and focuses on Maddie Schwartz. Maddie is somewhat at odds with the times. She is restless in her marriage, has a healthy sexual appetite, is itching to work at something engaging and is willing to take risks. But she’s no hero. She gets a job with a newspaper and starts meddling in the murder of Cleo Sherwood, and things become complicated for Maddie and people around her. The story is told mostly from Maddie’s point of few, with the occasional perspective of the people she comes in contact with. I liked the writing. I liked the perspective on the 1960s in the US. And I mostly liked the story, but I thought it didn’t always hold together as well as it could. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an opportunity to read an advance copy.

  • Katie B

    I've been wanting to read a book by this author for awhile now and the synopsis for this one sounded good. so I finally took the plunge. While this book can be classified as historical fiction, it also fits in the mystery and women's fiction genres. I ended up really enjoying this novel and look forward to reading other books by Laura Lippman.

    It's 1966 and Madeline "Maddie" Schwartz. lives in Baltimore with her husband and teenage son. It might seem like she has it all but she wants more than ju

    I've been wanting to read a book by this author for awhile now and the synopsis for this one sounded good. so I finally took the plunge. While this book can be classified as historical fiction, it also fits in the mystery and women's fiction genres. I ended up really enjoying this novel and look forward to reading other books by Laura Lippman.

    It's 1966 and Madeline "Maddie" Schwartz. lives in Baltimore with her husband and teenage son. It might seem like she has it all but she wants more than just playing the role of dutiful housewife. In search of living a more meaningful life, she leaves her husband and eventually finds work at a local newspaper. She is on the low end of the totem pole there but she thinks the right story will get her some attention. Maddie is particularly interested in finding out what exactly happened to Cleo Sherwood, a young African American woman who was found dead in the fountain of a city park lake. However her eagerness to find out the truth could come at an awful price for some.

    I was surprised at how many different things the story was able to touch on such as race, religion, women in the workforce, the newspaper industry, and politics to name a few. For me what really drove the story was the mystery of Cleo Sherwood more so than the Maddie "finding herself" storyline. While Maddie's perspective was predominately featured, other characters, including Cleo gave their spin on events throughout the book. For the most part I liked this method of telling the story especially as it really demonstrated how Maddie's actions affected other people. However, a few characters really had nothing much to do with advancing the plot so even though the appearances were brief, they just felt unnecessary.

    This is the type of book in which there is a little bit of something for everyone and what each reader takes away from it might be different. Definitely recommend especially if the 1960s Baltimore setting peaks your interest like it did for me.

    Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an advance digital copy in exchange for an honest review!

  • Berit☀️✨

    LaurA Lippman swept me away to 1960s Baltimore with this atmospheric and riveting tale. This book perfectly wove together mystery, historical fiction, and women’s fiction. maddie is a 1960s housewife who after 18 years of marriage decide she wants more to life than just being a wife. While I didn’t always agree with Maddie’s methods, I completely understood her plightt. Maddie leaves her husband finds herself a job at a newspaper and is determined to be the best reporter ever. She will do what i

    LaurA Lippman swept me away to 1960s Baltimore with this atmospheric and riveting tale. This book perfectly wove together mystery, historical fiction, and women’s fiction. maddie is a 1960s housewife who after 18 years of marriage decide she wants more to life than just being a wife. While I didn’t always agree with Maddie’s methods, I completely understood her plightt. Maddie leaves her husband finds herself a job at a newspaper and is determined to be the best reporter ever. She will do what it takes, climb over people, and stomp on their loyalties.

    The structure and vibe of the story was unique and well executed. Not only did we get the point of view of Maddie but that of so many others. Including a ghost, a police officer, a baseball player, a psychic, and so much more. I loved the little vignettes sprinkled throughout the story about seemingly inconsequential characters. I thought it really added to and propel the story along. Even though this was more of a slow burn I was completely compelled from first page to last. The descriptive writing and dialogue gave me such an incredible sense of time and place. There is a lot packed into this novel, a mystery, women’s rights, race relations, religious implications, and politics. I think Miss Lippman did a marvelous job of bringing it all together and keeping it fresh and interesting. If you are a fan of the 1960s, Mystery, or women’s fiction I’d definitely recommend adding this one to your summer TBR!

    *** Big thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book ***

  • Erin Clemence

    Laura Lippman is not a new author, known for books such as “

    " and “

    ”. For me though, “Lady in the Lake” was my first experience with this author.

    Laura Lippman is not a new author, known for books such as “

    " and “

    ”. For me though, “Lady in the Lake” was my first experience with this author.

    This was a difficult review to write. The way the novel is written took me awhile to adjust to. Maddy is the primary protagonist of the story, of course, but as she continues through her investigation, we are also made privy to some minor characters that Maddy interacts with. Each minor character is given a few paragraphs to detail their involvement in the story, and then never heard from again.

    None of these bit characters had any part in the deaths in the novel, and they seemed to be mentioned merely as space fillers. However, at the end of the novel Maddy tells us that, as a newspaper reporter, everyone has a story if we just care enough to listen to it. It is not until the very last pages when we realize that there was a point to the inane and seemingly meaningless

    narrations.

    Maddy herself is a gung-ho character, full of gumption and bravado that would make any woman in the 1960s stand up and cheer. She fights for what is right and she takes on all sorts of obstacles, regardless of others’ opinions. She battles personal demons through her flawed relationships, and still manages to achieve her own personal level of success

    .

    This novel is well told and creative, and fans of “

    ” will find a kindred spirit. As Maddy takes on racism, the mostly male-operated newspaper world, and her own personal relationships, a young girl is murdered and a young woman is pulled from the lake, providing the right amount of mystery and whodunit to the already entertaining plot.

    “Lady in the Lake” is provocative and enjoyable, with a reassuring and satisfying ending. Full of intrigue and the underbelly of newspaper reporting

    , it is definitely a powerful and creative read, that has me curious to check out Lippman’s other works.

  • Meredith

    Cold, Dark, and Distant

    Maddie Schwartz, married to Milton for 18 years and mother to 16-year-old Seth, decides she needs to do more. She makes a drastic change and leaves Milton and Seth to start over. She lucks her way into a job at a newspaper and goes to extremes to move up on the ladder. In order to succeed, she will cross boundaries and put herself into dangerous

    Cold, Dark, and Distant

    Maddie Schwartz, married to Milton for 18 years and mother to 16-year-old Seth, decides she needs to do more. She makes a drastic change and leaves Milton and Seth to start over. She lucks her way into a job at a newspaper and goes to extremes to move up on the ladder. In order to succeed, she will cross boundaries and put herself into dangerous situations all to get the story--even if it means hurting those she is closest to.

    I enjoyed the historical elements and Lippman’s portrayal of Baltimore in the 1960s, but I had a hard time connecting to Maddie.

    I honestly didn’t care what happened to her, which is why I could never fully immerse myself in the narrative. She left me feeling cold.

    I also struggled with the narrative structure, as there were multiple chapters told from the POV of side characters, including a dead girl, a waitress, a psychic, a cop, etc. These are the people who touched Maddie’s new life, but they are not the main players. In order to better understand Maddie, I was more interested in hearing the thoughts of her lover, her son, ex-husband, mother, etc. Instead, we get narratives about the people who make up Baltimore.

    The plot is compelling, but the MC is lacking. Perhaps, I would have enjoyed it more had the story been told from a different voice.

    I won an ARC of this book from a GoodReads giveaway!

  • Bkwmlee

    3.5 stars

    This was an interesting read, one that I felt was quite a departure from the traditional thrillers I’m used to reading. Right off the bat, we know that a death has occurred, a woman’s body found at the bottom of a fountain, the titular “lady in the lake” from whose first person perspective it seems the story will be told. But then, the story switches to that of another woman, Madeleine “Maddie” Schwartz, a housewife who seemingly has the perfect life, but is actually restless and bored

    3.5 stars

    This was an interesting read, one that I felt was quite a departure from the traditional thrillers I’m used to reading. Right off the bat, we know that a death has occurred, a woman’s body found at the bottom of a fountain, the titular “lady in the lake” from whose first person perspective it seems the story will be told. But then, the story switches to that of another woman, Madeleine “Maddie” Schwartz, a housewife who seemingly has the perfect life, but is actually restless and bored and is thinking about leaving her marriage. Determined to be a reporter, Maddie takes up a job at the local newspaper, but because she is a woman with no media experience to speak of, she is assigned to do menial, seemingly unimportant tasks. At first, it is hard to figure out what the connection is between Maddie’s story and that of the dead woman — a connection made more difficult to understand as alternating chapters are narrated by each of the different characters that Maddie encounters throughout the story. Some of the characters who “speak” seem to have nothing to do with the story, while others actually provide insight into the life — and death — of the woman in the fountain, whom we learn is an African-American woman named Cleo Sherwood. In a slow-burning but well-written narrative, we bear witness to Maddie’s journey of “self-discovery” as she grows to understand what it is she truly wants in life and, in her attempts to achieve her goals, how her actions impact those around her. Along the way, more of the mystery surrounding Cleo’s death is revealed bit by bit, culminating in us (as readers) eventually learning the truth as the two story arcs converge.

    Overall, I enjoyed this book well enough, though the structure of the story did take some time to get into, not just because of the many characters that shared in the narration of the story, but also the general slow pace of the plot, which, for me at least, made it not work too well as a mystery / thriller. In a way, this book would also fit into other genres such as historical fiction, as the story actually took place in the 1960s and in addition to addressing some of the societal issues prevalent during that time period (such as segregation and racial prejudice against African-Americans as well as women’s rights and their roles in society), some of the events in the story were also based on real-life events (which the author talks about in her author’s note at the end of the book). While the story did sustain my interest throughout (for the most part), some sections did drag a little — given these aspects, plus the “unique” format of the narrative, I can understand why the reviews for this book have been a mixed bag. For me, this is my first time reading one of Laura Lippman’s works and I ended up liking this one enough that I would definitely consider reading her other works, whether new or backlist.

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