“She read books. She had always read books. But in this circumstance the books let her down. She needed more from them. She also needed less. More practical advice, less generic hysteria. What she required was a very particular volume, written just for her: What to Expect from Your Toddler When You Are Trying to Put Together Your Own Escort Service.”
Heloise Lewis is the envy of the other women in her neighbourhood. Or at least she tries to set herself apart from them. She runs the lobbying firm, she’s always stylishly dressed and put together, even at her son Scott’s soccer games.
But what the other moms and her neighbors don’t know is that the business is a front for her call girl service.
Heloise is a madam.
Her company, Women’s Full Employment Network, is
“a boutique lobbying firm whose mission statement identifies it as a nonprofit focused on income parity for all women. And when people hear that, they never want to know a single thing more about Heloise’s business, which is exactly as she planned it.”
And that pretty much is Heloise’s approach to her work. Very no nonsense, despite its rather tawdry nature. She is fully aware of the rules, especially those of the IRA, and tries to walk as straight a path as she is able, taking tips from companies such as Amazon.
Heloise is one tough cookie, stemming from her rather miserable childhood. With a father guilty about neglecting his other family (it’s complicated), she falls in with men who don’t treat her well, and ends up joining the world’s oldest profession.
Of course with Lippman’s prowess in detective fiction writing (at least from what I’ve heard about her Tess Monaghan series) there has to be a crime of some sort. And Lippman lets us know right from the start that there has been a murder – of another suburban madam. And that it might have something to do with her
The chapters flit between the strong well-defined woman Heloise of today and the more fragile, unsteady teenaged Heloise, then known as Helen. It takes some getting used to, this back and forth, but it allows the reader to marvel at how the Helen of yesterday has emerged from the tatters of her past to become Heloise today.
Laura Lippman has been on my to-be-read radar for a while now but when a writer has been so well established in a genre, I never quite know how to begin, where to begin, and too often end up drifting past those books on that shelf and going for something more obscure perhaps, or just avoiding this crime/mystery section all together.
So when I had the chance to read this book, thanks to TLC book tours and the publisher, I didn’t want to miss out.
And When She Was Good was a fascinating look into the details of the life of a madam, an absorbing character study of a rather different, quite unforgettable woman.
Laura Lippman grew up in Baltimore and returned to her hometown 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. The author of two New York Times bestsellers, What the Dead Knowand Another Thing to Fall, she has won numerous awards for her work, including the Edgar, Quill, Anthony, Nero Wolfe, Agatha, Gumshoe, Barry, and Macavity.
Laura’s Tour Stops
Tuesday, August 14th: The Blog of Lit Wits
Wednesday, August 15th: Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World
Thursday, August 16th: Book Dilettante
Monday, August 20th: Chaotic Compendiums
Tuesday, August 21st: Olduvai Reads
Wednesday, August 22nd: Peppermint PhD
Thursday, August 23rd: The Book Bag
Monday, August 27th: Book Addiction
Tuesday, August 28th: Mary’s Cup of Tea
Wednesday, August 29th: In the Next Room
Thursday, August 30th: Between the Covers
Friday, August 31st: Mysteries and My Musings
Monday, September 3rd: Don’t Mind the Mess
Tuesday, September 4th: A Bookish Way of Life
Wednesday, September 5th: libbysbookblog
Thursday, September 6th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Friday, September 7th: so much shouting, so much laughter
Monday, September 10th: Twisting the Lens
Tuesday, September 11th: A Bookworm’s World