Thursday, May 19, 2016

Laura Lippman's "Wilde Lake"

Laura Lippman was a reporter for twenty years, including twelve years at The (Baltimore) Sun. She began writing novels while working full-time and published seven books about “accidental PI” Tess Monaghan before leaving daily journalism in 2001.

Her work has been awarded the Edgar ®, the Anthony, the Agatha, the Shamus, the Nero Wolfe, Gumshoe and Barry awards.

She also has been nominated for other prizes in the crime fiction field, including the Hammett and the Macavity.

Lippman grew up in Baltimore and attended city schools through ninth grade. After graduating from Wilde Lake High School in Columbia, Md., she attended Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

Here Lippman shares her idea for casting the lead in an adaptation of her new novel, Wilde Lake:
Writing Wilde Lake, I needed to shut down any thoughts of movies, especially one particular movie and one particular actor. It was imperative that I banish Gregory Peck from my mind. Which is ironic, because I never think of Peck when I re-read To Kill a Mockingbird. I read the book when I was 11 or 12 and had not yet seen the film. In my mind, Atticus Finch looked more like Wally Cox, whom I knew from Hollywood Squares: Slender, be-spectacled. If you remember the book, Scout describes her father as "old," relative to other fathers, not someone inclined to throw a ball around with his son. That's why the scene when he shoots the rabid dog is so vivid; Jem and Scout have no idea that their father is a crack shot.

But, perhaps because I'm middle-aged now, I did begin to wonder if Atticus Finch was celibate. Whether he looks like Gregory Peck or Wally Cox, it seems unlikely, doesn't it? There would have been women eager to provide companionship to a widower with a good job. And if he wasn't keeping company with women in public, well -- you can see where I'm going with this. To Kill a Mockingbird is a child's eye view of the world until its final paragraph, which suggests that Scout has allowed hindsight to shape her memory of what happens when she stands on Boo Radley's porch, tries to see the world from his perspective.

That said: Anna Kendrick for Lu Brant. She's much too young now, but it takes forever for things to get made and I think she would be very good at inhabiting Lu's tightly compartmentalized life.
Visit Laura Lippman's website.

The Page 69 Test: Wilde Lake.

--Marshal Zeringue