By a Spider's Thread
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Date: July 2004
Duration: 5 hours 53 minutes
The winner of every major literary award in crime fiction, Laura Lippman brings back her complex and vulnerably human Baltimore P.I., Tess Monaghan, in a tense, expertly spun tale of a family torn asunder by forces it can barely comprehend.
Mark Rubin's family is missing -- and the police can't do a thing because all the evidence indicates that his wife left willingly. So the successful furrier turns to Tess Monaghan, hoping she can help him find his wife and three children. Tess doesn't know quite what to make of Rubin, a wealthy Orthodox Jew who refuses to shake her hand and doles out vitally important information in grudging dribs and drabs. According to her client, he and his beautiful wife, Natalie, had a flawless, happy marriage. Yet one day, without any warning or explanation, Natalie gathered up their children and vanished.
Tapping into a network of fellow investigators spread across the country, Tess is soon able to locate the runaway wife and her stolen progeny, moving furtively from state to state, town to town. But the Rubins are not alone. A man is traveling with them, a stranger described by witnesses as "handsome" and "charming" but otherwise unremarkable to these casual observers, who have no way of sensing the fury beneath his smooth surface.
The motive behind Natalie's reckless flight lies somewhere in the gap between what Mark Rubin will not say and what he refuses to believe. An intricate web of betrayal and vengeance is already beginning to unravel, as memory begets rage and rage leads to desperation -- and murder. And suddenly much more than one man's future happiness and stubborn pride are in peril; the lives of three innocent children are dangling by the slenderest of threads.