If anyone knows about Baltimore politics, it's private detective Tess Weinstein Monaghan, who grew up riding her tricycle around the Stonewall Democratic Club. Still, she can’t quite figure out why her dad, a 30-year veteran of the state liquor control board, wants her to investigate a Jane Doe case that was laid to rest over a year ago when confessed killer Henry Dembrow, a glue-sniffing delinquent from downscale Locust Point, was knifed to death after a month in prison. But Henry’s sister Ruthie is clearly under Patrick Monaghan’s patronage, so Tess agrees to make a brief search for the young victim’s identity, which Ruthie believes will lead to the motive for Henry's murder. Starting with the slimmest of clues-the victim's decayed molars and a conversation she had with a sad, unattractive teenager named Sukey-Tess follows a trail that takes her from Locust Point to Maryland's Eastern Shore, through Philadelphia and, finally, to the wealthy D.C. suburb of Potomac, where she learns the tale of an attractive, privileged, but equally sad teenager. Tying Henry Dembrow’s victim to his own murder brings Tess back home to Baltimore, where, in the midst of a hotly contested state senate campaign, she learns that politics are not only local, but lethal.
Edgar-winning Tess’s hardcover debut is a rare find: a puzzle so finely calibrated that each new disclosure brings revelation and deepening mystery at the same time, as well as a sense of place so unerring it makes Baltimore everyone’s hometown. (Author tour)