People watching is one of my favorite activities. Trying to guess the backgrounds of strangers, wondering what they are up to, maybe concocting a back story for them in my mind. For Baltimore private investigator Tess Monaghan, ordered to bed rest in her third trimester of pregnancy, people watching becomes a way to relieve her boredom, trapped on her winterized sun porch watching the dog walkers in the park outside. A miniature greyhound in a celery green jacket and its blond female owner in her matching green raincoat catch Tess's eye and she begins to look for them each afternoon until one evening the dog appears on it's own, leash still attached but the girl in the green raincoat is nowhere to be found. Tess is bound and determined to stick her nose into it and solve the mystery, even if it's from her bed.
"The Girl in the Green Raincoat" by Laura Lippman started as a serial in the New York Times and has now been published as a mystery novella for the first time. It's a quick read, about 160 pages, similar in theme to Hitchcock's "Rear Window" and with good pacing, twists and engaging characters. Tess Monaghan is the main character in 10 previous books by Lippman, but it is not necessary to have read them to enjoy this book. (However do be forewarned that after reading this book, you will likely end up with a new series to read--after finishing the story I wanted more and promptly downloaded the first two books of the series on my Kindle.) Lippman's background as a journalist for the Baltimore Sun helps give her writing a realistic feel and my only complaint about the book is that it ended too soon, I wanted more time with Tess and her family and friends.
In addition to people watching, another favorite pastime of mine is connecting the books I read to food and interpreting dishes from them. And of course at the end of the day this is a food blog so I feel I *must* relate things to food. ;-) For me "The Girl in the Green Raincoat" translated to lettuce wraps, after all what better green raincoat could there be? Since Tess appears to enjoy her food and a variety of ethnic foods, I decided to make Curried Fish in Green Lettuce Wraps.
No real recipe needed here--this is a simple dish of chopped veggies and stir fried curried fish (in this case a local Monchong--flaky, tender and mild), topped with cilantro and peanuts and served with a zippy dressing of non-fat Greek yogurt and sweet chili sauce, so we'll do it in the style of a Mark Bittman recipe "sketch."
Curried Fish in Green Lettuce Wraps
by Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
Mix 1/2 non-fat plain Greek yogurt with 1 Tbsp of sweet chili sauce or shriacha.
Julienne a variety of vegetables like carrot, cucumber, red pepper and daikon and set aside. Cut mild, white fish into small chunks and toss with a drizzle of olive oil and your favorite curry powder to taste. Saute fish in a little olive oil in a medium pan at medium heat until cooked through, about 4 minutes, stirring often.
On small lettuce leaves, layer the julienned vegetables. Top with the warm fish and sprinkle with cilantro and chopped, roasted peanuts. Serve with spicy yogurt sauce.
For the lettuce wraps: A whole lot of flavor and a healthy dish that takes less than 20 minutes to make--mostly chopping. The combination of crunchy cool veggies and warm fish is always delicious. You can of course switch out your veggies and what type of greens you are wrapping them with, and for a veggie option you can substitute chopped tofu for the fish. An easy appetizer or light meal.
For the book: I really enjoyed it and look forward to reading more from Lippman. If you like a good mystery with a great female lead character and witty writing, you will like this book.
Obligatory Disclaimer: I was sent a review copy of this book by TLC Book Tours but was not compensated for this review or influenced by anyone--as always my thoughts and opinions are my own.
For more blogger feedback on this book you can check out the other Blog Tour Stops for "The Girl in the Green Raincoat" here.