Novelist and former Baltimore Sun reporter Laura Lippman has dedicated her latest book to the five victims of last year’s Capital Gazette newsroom attack.
“The Lady In The Lake,” which Lippman describes as a “weird love letter to the Baltimore newspapers of the ’60s,” is dedicated to Rob Hiaasen, Gerald Fischman, John McNamara, Rebecca Smith and Wendi Winters, who died in the June 28 attack on the paper’s Annapolis newsroom.
Lippman, who was friends with Hiaasen, said she turned in the final draft of the novel to her publisher the day before the shooting. When she heard about the attack, she was driving to visit her mother in Delaware and spent the day on the phone with other former Sun colleagues who knew people at the Capital Gazette, hoping they were all safe.
Dedicating the novel to the five who died was “a small thing, a meaningless thing I could do,” Lippman said.
“It seemed to make sense to me — it’s a newspaper novel; it was eerie timing,” she said in a phone interview Sunday. “They deserved to be memorialized. They were doing their job, a job that is upheld in the constitution as one of the pillars of our democracy.”
Lippman’s husband, David Simon, another former Sun reporter who went on to create HBO’s “The Wire,” tweeted a photo Saturday of the dedication page, which reads: “In memory of: Rob Hiaasen, Gerald Fischman, John McNamara, Rebecca Smith, Wendi Winters.”
The five Capital Gazette staff members were killed by a gunman at the newspaper’s Annapolis office in June. Despite the attack on their newsroom, their colleagues put out a newspaper the following day and have been recognized as TIME Magazine’s 2018 Persons of the Year, along with many other accolades.
A Laurel man with a long-standing grudge against The Capital faces 23 criminal counts in the shooting and is seeking more time to consider an insanity plea, the newspaper has reported.
Jarrod Ramos, 39, has pleaded not guilty to charges including murder, attempted murder and assault of other employees in the newsroom at the time. The trial is scheduled for June 3 to 14.
“The Lady In The Lake,” set in 1966, is about “a middle-class, not-quite-middle-aged woman who bolts from her marriage and decides she’s going to find significance and meaning in her own life by investigating the suspicious death of an African-American woman,” Lippman said.
The story is based in part on the still-unsolved 1960s death of a woman, Shirley Partridge, in a fountain in Druid Hill Park.
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The novel, published in the U.S. by William Morrow and in the U.K. by Faber & Faber, will be available for purchase July 23.