Laura Lippman Analysis


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Laura Lippman achieved immediate success with her first novel, Baltimore Blues (1997), which was nominated for a Shamus Award for best first novel; the later books in the series have won every major award for mystery writing. Butcher’s Hill (1998) won an Anthony Award and an Agatha Award. Charm City (1997) won a Shamus Award and an Edgar and was nominated for an Anthony. In Big Trouble (1999) won a Shamus Award and an Anthony Award. The Sugar House (2000) won a Nero Award. Her nonseries suspense novel, Every Secret Thing (2003), won Barry and Anthony awards.

Lippman began publishing as a paperback original author, but since 2000 her novels have been released in hardback editions, and her reputation has grown accordingly. Her work is available overseas in Europe, the United Kingdom, and Japan. Lippman places herself in the middle range of American crime writers, no longer an obscure author with a strong regional following but not yet a household name with a string of best sellers. She is committed to advancing the genre of crime fiction and to discovering and encouraging new writers.

Lippman’s twenty years’ experience as a journalist and her intimate knowledge of state and local politics in Maryland and Baltimore contribute to the believability of her work. Both her series and her nonseries novels are known for their social realism. Her writing is informed by considerations of class, race, and gender but avoids any sense of shrillness, tokenism, or political correctness.


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Aguilera, Elizabeth. “Putting Anger to Work: There’s a Lot of Laura Lippman in Her Detective Heroine.” Denver Post, October 14, 2002, p. F01. Profile of Lippman that looks at her motivation for writing and the development of her writing career. Lippman tries to write one thousand words per day.

Dunkel, Tom. “What Her Fans Know.” Knight-Ridder Tribune Business News, April 5, 2007, p. 1. A profile of Lippman on the publication of What the Dead Know. Describes her childhood, her work at the newspaper, her writing habits, and how her novels have changed.

Gross, Jane. “When Friendship Fails You.” Review of To the Power of Three, by Laura Lippman. The New York Times, July 28, 2005, p. F1. Review provides background and biographical information.

Lindsay, Elizabeth Blakesley, ed. Great Women Mystery Writers. 2d ed. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2007. Contains an essay on Lippman describing her life and her work.

Lippman, Laura. Laura http://www Author’s Web site has a biography, descriptions of her writings, a newsletter, links to interviews, and an archive of letters from the author to her fans.

Lippman, Laura. “PW Talks to Laura Lippman.” Interview by Pat Koch. Publishers Weekly 248, no. 34 (August 20, 2001): 61. Includes information about the young Lippman, the crime on which In a Strange City was loosely based, and the importance of place in her writing. This issue of Publishers Weekly also contains a review of the book, summarizing the legend of the Poe Toaster.

Munt, Sally. Murder by the Book? Feminism and the Crime Novel. New York: Routledge, 1994. Comprehensive examination of the feminist crime fiction that emerged in the 1980’s and of the writers whose influence is reflected in Lippman’s series.

Walton, Priscilla L., and Manina Jones. Detective Agency: Women Rewriting the Hard-Boiled Tradition. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1999. Employs postmodernist theories of popular culture to examine how women writers have transformed the genre of detective fiction.