She places three quotations at the front of the novel. One is from H.L. Mencken, "Of all escape mechanisms, death is the most efficient." Another comes from a letter written by a Baltimore doctor. later published in an 1873 book. The third consists of lines from A.E. Housman's poem, Terence, This Is Stupid Stuff. That Housman poem comes up twice in the 324-page novel, and another Housman poem is mentioned as well.
In addition, Tess works part-time in her aunt's used bookshop, and the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore is referred to as "a place of wonders to Tess."
All this is in a murder mystery that could be classified as light reading. Best of all, these many literary references contribute to the plot without getting in the way.