Book 5 – The Sugar House
This is the first of all the Tess Monaghan books that I have read the physical print edition, and I would have preferred to listen to the audiobook, but that one hasn’t been available to me. Instead, I read this one, and that different experience shifted a lot around for the book. For one, I felt like the secondary mysteries overlapped in less interesting ways than before. I felt more suspect of the ways in which two mysteries with thematic connections played out at the same time.
In addition, having a mystery fold back and include a family member or close friend has been where this series has felt weak over all and same here.
But what did work here is having Tess work through ideas and connections to sex worker and sex workers in Baltimore in interesting ways. The books have been oddly judgmental in a lot of ways in the past and are especially annoying when it comes to white people not believing that racism is real. But Tess’s understanding of sex work does work here. In addition, this book feels like it both previews the ways in which we think of dead women in Baltimore long before the other ways in which we have come to think about dead women in Baltimore. It sucks to have to do that, but here we are.
Something there is in the 2000s about figuring out how dead women in narratives, the news, in capitalism and how we have to parse that idea.