Confined to bedrest for the last two months of her pregnancy, Tess Monaghan becomes fascinated with a pretty young girl in a stylish green raincoat who walks her Italian greyhound with a matching green leash every day. But one day she notices the dog running loose, his mistress nowhere to be found. Convinced of foul play, and incapable of leaving well enough alone, Tess is determined to get to the bottom of the disappearance, even if she must do so from her bed. But her inquisitiveness opens a dangerous Pandora's box of past crime and troubling deaths. And Tess is not only putting her only life in jeopardy, but her unborn daughter's as well.
1. The Girl in the Green Raincoat was originally serialized in the New York Times Magazine. How might a serialization—a work read in timed installments—affect the structure of the story? If you have read them, use other books in the Tess Monaghan series for comparison.
2. In the P.S., Laura Lippman reveals that to hold readers' interest in a single serial installment, she layered smaller stories within the larger narrative. Choose a few chapters from The Girl in the Green Raincoat to explore this layering effect. How are these contained stories interwoven into the larger story arc? How do they deepen your understanding of the characters and the plot?
3. How did Tess being bedridden affect her judgment and how she investigated the case? Think about how she set up the plot. Diagram each plot development, and discuss how together, they formed the story. Were you surprised at the outcome?
4. One of Laura Lippman's inspirations for The Girl in the Green Raincoat was the classic movie Rear Window. Have you seen the movie? If so, how do the two plots mirror each other? How are they different? Another influence is the Josephine Tey novel Daughter of Time. If you've read this book, compare and contrast the two stories as well.
5. If you have read previous Tess Monaghan stories, what did you learn about Tess that you didn't know? What about Crow and Tess's friend Whitney?
6. Tess is nervous about her relationship with Crow and having a baby, feelings brought to the surface with the investigation. Meeting the detective who looked into the death of the suspect's first wife, she asks him, "Did you know your wife was the one, the moment you met her? Or did it creep up on you?" If you are in a committed relationship, how would you answer? Do you believe in love at first sight?
7. When Crow's protégé, Lloyd, proposes to his girlfriend May, the adults in their lives are upset and claim the young people are "too young to get married." What do you think? What are the benefits of waiting? But as Lloyd asks, why wait if you know you are sure?
8. Tess's life changes in many ways by the end of the book. How do you think these changes will affect her career as a private investigator?