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Lady in the Lake Book Club Questions & FREE Printable Discussion Guide


Book club questions and a FREE printable discussion guide for The Lady in the Lake by Laura Lippman.



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Baltimore. 1965. Maddie Schwartz has decided to leave her husband and start a new life... one that will lead her to not one but two murder mysteries. This is the premise of Laura Lippman's The Lady in the Lake, our latest book club pick.

The Lady in the Lake Book Club Questions


A novel that Stephen King called "extraordinary," The Lady in the Lake is much more than just a classic whodunit.  It is a novel that explores what it meant to be a woman in the 1960s, while also touching on themes of race and sexuality in these turbulent times. All with a shocking twist or two at the end that will surprise even the most ardent crime fiction fan.

The Lady in the Lake is a perfect choice for book club discussions, and here are 10 thought provoking book club questions to get your conversation started.


Get these questions plus 10 more questions that work for any book with a FREE printable book club discussion guide delivered right to your email.



The following questions contain spoilers about the ending of The Lady in the Lake.




What drove Maddie to leave her husband? Why did the dinner with Wallace Wright drive her to leave sooner than she had planned?

Discuss the differences between the reaction to the murders of Tessie Fine and Cleo Sherwood. Were they treated differently solely because of race, or was there something more?

The novel is interspersed with first person accounts by some of its minor characters. Why did the author make this narrative choice? Was it effective?

Discuss Maddie's relationship with Ferdie. Was it love? Was he using her or vice versa?

How were Cleo and Maddie similar? How were they different? What made Maddie so interested in finding out what happened to Cleo?

Should Maddie have left Cleo's story alone? Did she do more harm than good by pursuing it?

In his review of The Lady in the Lake, Stephen King says he never saw the final twist coming. Did you? What did you think about the revelation that Cleo is alive?

Is this book a mystery or is it Maddie's "coming of age" story? Or both? Why or why not?


How has the world changed for women since the mid-1960s as portrayed in the novel? How has it remained the same?

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