Lippmans’ new stand-alone, Lady in the Lake, brings readers a strong atmosphere of the mid-60s with the turmoil of that era as women fight to redefine themselves and their definitions. She also brings the newsrooms of the time to life, with all of its politics and hierarchy.

Encased within is a really good mystery, one that revolves around Maddie Schwartz and her bid to insert herself into a newspaper to attain her dream of becoming a columnist. Leaving behind her marriage and grown son, she’s determined to live a life on her own terms with surprising results.

Maddie must start at the bottom of the paper’s jobs, doing scut work for others while she investigates on her own time what happened to a missing black woman whose body is found in the fountain at a city park. Her instincts tell her this case may make her career.

Cleo Sherwood is the young woman in question, and Lippman provides her running commentary in brief snatches that give a window onto her life and what led up to the final acts of her existence in Baltimore.

It’s a skilled rendition on so many levels, with each character ringing true to her background and culture. Chapters from each of the people Maddie encounters add to the feel of the era and lay out the lines of investigation and of Maddie’s changing life.

With her ability to explore human emotions and entanglements of the heart within accomplished storytelling, Lippman brings her characters to life by providing an unflinching view of their thoughts and actions.