Cover image for By a spider's thread
Title:
By a spider's thread
Author:
Lippman, Laura.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : William Morrow, [2004]

©2004
Physical Description:
xii, 354 pages ; 24 cm
Language:
English
Geographic Term:
ISBN:
9780060506698
Format :
Book

Available:*

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FICTION Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
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Summary

Summary

New York Times Bestseller

Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Laura Lippman's Tess Monaghan--first introduced in the classic Baltimore Blues--must track down a missing wife and unravel the secrets in her marriage that led her to flee.

"A hair raising ride."--Boston Globe

Mark Rubin's family is missing--and the police won't get involved because all the evidence indicates that his wife left willingly. So the successful Baltimore furrier turns to Tess Monaghan, hoping she can help him find his wife and three children. Tess doesn't quite know what to make of Rubin, who doles out vitally important information in grudging dribs and drabs. According to her client, he and his beautiful wife, Natalie, had a flawless, happy marriage. Yet one day, without any warning or explanation, Natalie gathered up their children and vanished.

Tapping into a network of fellow investigators spread across the country, Tess is soon able to locate the runaway wife and the children who have been moving furtively from state to state, town to town. But the Rubins are not alone. A mysterious man is traveling with them, a stranger described by witnesses as "handsome" and "charming" but otherwise unremarkable. And the deeper Tess digs, the more she suspects that the motive behind Natalie's reckless flight lies somewhere in the gap between what Rubin will not say and what he refuses to believe.

An intricate web of betrayal and vengeance is already beginning to unfold, as memory begets rage, and rage begets desperation...and murder. Suddenly, much more than one man's future happiness and stubborn pride are in peril. For the lives of three innocent children are dangling by the slenderest of threads.


Author Notes

Laura Lippman grew up in Baltimore and returned to her home town in 1989 to work as a journalist. After writing seven books while still a full-time reporter, she left the Baltimore Sun to focus on fiction.

Laura is the author of What the Dead Know, 2016 New York Times Bestseller, Another Thing to Fall, After I'm Gone, and Wilde Lake. She also writes the Tess Monaghan series. She has won numerous awards for her work including the Edgar, Quill, Anthony, Nero Wolfe, Agatha, Gumshoe, Barry, and Macavity.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Tess Monaghan is back. After last year?s haunting standalone novel Every Secret Thing, Lippman returns with her eighth installment in an award-winning crime series. This time out the determined reporter-turned-private detective agrees to help a handsome but off-puttingly rigid Orthodox Jewish furrier Mark Ruben find his missing wife and children. Monaghan was recommended to the uptight furrier by her Jewish uncle, who spent years working with Ruben in a volunteer program that instructed Jewish prisoners in Jewish rituals and traditions. Ruben makes Monaghan feel as if she knows nothing about being Jewish, even though her mother?s family is Jewish. He also makes her feel as if she knows nothing about commitment. About the only thing that makes her like Ruben is the cash he?s willing to pay her up front. As weeks go by, Monaghan uncovers a tangle of lies and dark plans that reveal that Ruben?s gorgeous young Russian Jewish bride is anything but innocent. Yet much to Monaghan?s amazement, nothing seems to dim Ruben?s faith in his own tradition or to rock his sense of his role and responsibilities as a husband and a father. Lippman delivers a smart, fast-paced, nuanced story that features a well-drawn supporting cast, including the endearing if dangerous city of Baltimore itself. Lippman?s bad guys never become as interesting as her good guys, but there are some captivating touches here, including a criminal who studies the plots of crime novels in prison. Lippmann?s many fans will be thrilled. (July) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.


Library Journal Review

Baltimore PI Tess Monaghan's Jewish roots (her mother was a Weinstein) show in her eighth outing (after The Last Place). Hired by Mark Rubin, a successful furrier and Orthodox Jew, to find his missing wife, Natalie, and their three children, Tess is driven to research the religion of her client, who's secretive, controlling, and apparently in denial. (For further assistance, Tess calls on Snoop Sisters, an online network of female PIs that even provides a retired librarian to tail her quarry.) Readers know early on that Natalie leaves for love, but only by the end are all the connections revealed among Mark, Natalie, her lover, and a former outreach program for Jews in Maryland prisons. Ex-journalist Lippman's knowledge of social services and public records serves her well here, as she spins another taut, masterly tale full of complex characters, including feisty Tess herself. Lippman lives in Baltimore. [See Mystery Prepub Alert, LJ 4/1/04.] Michele Leber, Arlington, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

By a Spider's Thread Chapter One September They were in one of the "I" states when Zeke told Isaac he had to ride in the trunk for a little while. Zeke announced this new plan in what Isaac thought of as his fakey voice, big and hollow, with too much air in it. This was the voice Zeke used whenever Isaac's mother was nearby. He used a very different one when she couldn't hear. "You brought this on yourself, buckaroo," Zeke said, securing the suitcases to the roof of the car, then making a nest in the center of the trunk. When Isaac just stared at the space that had been created, not sure what Zeke wanted him to do, Zeke picked him up under the arms, swinging him into the hole as if Isaac weighed nothing at all. "See, plenty of room." "Put down a blanket," Isaac's mother said, but she didn't object to the trunk idea, didn't say it was wrong or that she wouldn't allow it. She didn't even mind that Zeke had stolen the blanket from the motel room. She just stood there with Penina and Efraim huddled close to her, looking disappointed. That was the last thing Isaac saw before Zeke closed the trunk: his mother's face, sad and stern, as if Isaac were the bad one, as if he had caused all the trouble. So unfair. He was the one who was trying to do the right thing. The trunk was bigger than Isaac expected, and he was not as frightened as he thought he would be. It was too bad it was such an old car. A new one, like his father's, might have an emergency light inside, or even a way to spring the lock. His father had shown him these features in his car after he found Isaac playing with the buttons on his key ring -- popping the trunk, locking and unlocking the Cadillac's doors. Isaac's mother had yelled, saying the key ring wasn't a toy, that he would break it or burn out the batteries, but Isaac's father had shown Isaac everything about his new car, even under the hood. That was his father's way. "Curiosity didn't kill the cat," his father said. "Not getting answers to his questions was what got the cat in trouble." His father had even shut himself in the trunk and shown Isaac how to get out again. But this car was old, very old, the oldest car Isaac had ever known, probably older than Isaac. It didn't have airbags, or enough seat belts in the backseat. Isaac kept hoping a policeman might pull them over one day because of the seat belts. Or maybe a toll taker would report his mother for holding one of the twins in her lap in the front seat, which she did when they fussed. But there were no tolls here, not on the roads that Zeke drove. Isaac was trying so hard to keep track -- they had started out in Indiana, and then they went to Illinois, but Isaac was pretty sure that they had come back to Indiana in the past week. Or they could still be in Illinois, or even as far west as Iowa. It was hard to see differences here in the middle of the country, where everything was yellow and the towns had strange names that were hard to pronounce. It was hard to tell time, too, without school marking the days off, without a calendar on the kitchen wall, without Shabbat reminding you that another week had ended. Would God understand about missing Shabbat? If God knew everything, did he know it wasn't Isaac's fault that he wasn't going to yeshiva? Or was it up to Isaac to find a way to pray no matter what, the way his father did when he traveled for business? Now, this was the kind of conversation his father loved. He would have started pulling books from the shelves in his study, looking for various rabbis' opinions. And, whatever the answer was, his father would have made Isaac feel okay, would have assured him that he was doing his best, which was all God expected. That was his father's way, to answer Isaac's questions and make him feel better. His father knew everything, or close enough. He knew history and the Torah, math and science. He knew lots of terrific old war movies and westerns, and the names of all the Orioles, past and present. Best of all, he could talk about the night sky as if it were a story in a book, telling the stories that the Greeks and Indians had told themselves when they looked at the same stars. "Does Orion ever catch the bull?" Isaac had asked his father once. Of course, that had been when he was little, six or seven. He was nine now, going into the fourth grade, or supposed to be. He wouldn't ask such a question now. "Not yet," his father had said, "but you never know. After all, if the universe is really shrinking, he may catch up with him still." That had scared Isaac, the part about the universe shrinking, but his father had said it wasn't something he needed to worry about. But Isaac worried about everything, especially now. He worried about Lyme disease and West Nile virus and whether Washington, D.C., would get a baseball team, which his dad said might not be so good for the Orioles. He worried about the twins, who had started talking this weird not-quite-English to each other. Mostly, though, he worried about Zeke and how to get away from him. Despite being locked in the trunk, bouncing and bumping down the road, Isaac wasn't sorry that he had tried to talk to the guard man. His only mistake was letting his mother see him do it. If the line in the bank had been longer, if it hadn't moved so fast, he might have had time to explain himself. Why did lines move fast only when you didn't want them to? By a Spider's Thread . Copyright © by Laura Lippman. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from By a Spider's Thread by Laura Lippman All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.