Lady on the Lake (Laura Lippman)

Not even one of the worst readers I’ve ever encountered – Susan Bennett – could mar this excellent novel, full of Baltimore history, a range of well-developed characters, and an impressive number of plausible twists. I also enjoy it when mysteries are about more than just the crime in question, and Lippman clearly has more in mind here. Whether it’s the protagonist trying to break out of traditional expectations or questions of official and unofficial lines drawn by race, Lippman absolutely packs her novel with thoughtful questions and insights.

People who read audio books have choices. They can read it straight and let the words do the work. Or they can try to create voices for each character, particularly difficult when it comes to characters of the opposite gender or race. Bennett makes an absolutely hash of it here. Her voices are cartoonish and borderline offensive. I wouldn’t listen to her work again; I hope she’s not Lippman’s go to reader.

Charles Ellenbogen is the author of the teaching memoir, THIS ISN’T THE MOVIES: 25 YEARS IN THE CLASSROOM, and teaches high school English in Cleveland, Ohio. He lives in Shaker Heights, Ohio with Kirsten, his wife, Zoe, their daughter, Ezra, their son, Lincoln, their dog, and Chocolate Scales, their snake.