After I’m Gone – 3/ 5
Earlier this year, I read a Patricia Cornwell novel that supposedly takes place in Richmond. But I don’t recognize the Richmond in that book at all, even after living in the city for six years.
I lived in Baltimore for one year, taught in a school there, watched through The Wire a few times, and go back periodically for various reasons.
This book takes place in a Baltimore I recognize. This Baltimore has suburbs, it has neighborhoods and people separate from the police, the drug trade, and other elements such as these that center in shows like The Wire. But when the narrator of this book traces different places around the city, I understand that city and recognize a lot from it. It reads more real or more fully than the other ones.
This story about is a cold case where a woman in her mid-30s was found dead in Leakin Park in Baltimore (of Serial fame). Now almost 30 years after a retired police detective is revisiting the case and has found a number of threads still open. The woman was the mistress of a now disappeared criminal who left his wife and three young daughters behind in 1976.
It’s a solid mystery, well-written, and like I said, reads real to me. It’s also funny because there’s a throughline about not being able to find a good Cuban sandwich in Pikesville (a suburb of Baltimore’s Northwest corner) and well, I used to live one block inside the city from Pikesville and there was a Latin food restaurant at the end of my block that had a great Cuban sandwich. It’s about a Jewish family of three daughters, and I KNOW a family that has this same make up from Baltimore and two of the daughters have names even!
It was a weird coincidence.