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Stefan Gillespie Books In Order

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Publication Order of Stefan Gillespie Books

The City of Shadows (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
The City of Strangers (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
The City in Darkness (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
The City of Lies (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
The City in Flames (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
The City Under Siege (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
The City Underground (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon
The City of God (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

The name ‘Stefan Gillespie’ refers to a series of crime novels from Michael Russell. They follow the exploits of Stefan Gillespie as he tries to solve murders in the wake of the political upheaval of the 1930s and 1940s.

+The Story

The Stefan Gellispie series is historical fiction. The book takes readers back to the 1930s. This is a time of conflict and instability. The Nazi party is slowly making gains. Europe is consumed by various political wrangles, and Ireland is beginning to groan under the weight of the IRA’s machinations.

Stefan Gillespie takes center stage as a Detective Sergeant in Dublin. When he is first introduced, Stefan has been charged with investigating an abortionist. His work brings him into contact with a Jewish woman whose friend, a pregnant woman, went missing after meeting with a priest.

In trying to help the woman, Hannah, find her friend, Stefan is dragged into random murders that someone important doesn’t want him to investigate. Naturally, Stefan persists and his investigation draws him into matters involving the Nazi Party which is on the rise.

Michael Russell draws upon a number of historically accurate elements such as Catholicism and the Free State of Danzig to tell this story. Michael uses Stefan as a tool through which he can provide readers a glimpse of life as it was during those less than savory days.

Stefan Gillespie is the eyes through which readers can study Ireland and Europe in the 1930s. However, the Stefan Gillespie series does not get lost in the minutiae of history. Every aspect of history that Michael delves into is merely a tool that accentuates the murder mysteries in play.

Without the historical aspects, the Stefan Gillespie series is just another clichéd collection of novels following a detective solving murders in a different corner of the world. With the historical aspects in play, Stefan becomes a notable player on the forefront of political and social change in Europe.

When he isn’t interrogating suspects and collecting clues, Stefan is trying to maneuver the dangerous waters of Europe in the 1930s, a time where the wrong accusation from the right person meant death.

Michael Russell’s greatest strength in these books is his ability to blend the historical with the fictional. Micheal takes real life historical figures and events and he makes them a prominent part of his mysteries. This adds gravitas to the final product.

The Stefan Gillespie series isn’t nearly as gritty as its concept promises. Despite the difficult and somewhat violent subjects that Stefan tackles, his books are still quite family friendly.

+The Author

Michael Russell is an English author. He was fortunate to be born in an English-Irish family. His grandparents would often regale him with stories filled with murder and mayhem, the result of their tumultuous upbringing in the 1920s.

Probably because of the storytelling culture in his family, Michael grew up wanting to write. He emphasized Middle Welsh, Old English, and Old Irish during his studies. His first real job was as a farm laborer in North Devon.

But he was fortunate to eventually get into television. Michael Russell entered the industry because it gave him a chance to write. That was all the author ever wanted, to make a living writing. So writing television scripts and screenplays seemed like the perfect fit for him at the time.

For a short while, Michael was pretty happy. But then he started receiving promotions and it wasn’t long before he attained the role of a television producer, a job that meant he spent more time dealing with accountants and talking about budgets than actually writing.

The author’s big break came when he was tasked by a production company to write detective fiction set during the emergency. Michael generated a couple of ideas that never went anywhere production wise.

But the experience got him thinking about the idea of historical Ireland as a setting for crime fiction. He followed that rabbit trail until he finally created the Stefan Gillespie series.

The books have been commended for firmly planting readers into the 1930s and recreating the atmosphere of communism, fascism, religion, and democracy. To prepare for the series, Michael Russell began reading about Ireland in the 1930s. The more he read the more he wanted to know. It wasn’t long before the stories started tumbling out of him almost unbidden.

The Stefan Gillespie books are a blend of fiction and reality. However, while the author endeavors to create interesting tidbits from his imagination that can add a bit of a spark to his detective stories, he often finds that the truth he stumbles upon in his research is even more intriguing than his fictitious creations.

+The City of Shadows

When Detective Stefan Gillespie arrests a German Doctor in Dublin in 1934, he thinks his work is all but done. But then he encounters Hannah Rosen. The woman is looking for her friend, a Jewish woman by the names of Susan and she won’t stop until she finds her.

Hannah knows that Susan went to see a priest shortly before they both disappeared. Stefan joins her in the hunt. Their search takes a complicated turn when the corpses of a man and a woman are found in the Dublin Mountains.

The discovery clues Stefan onto the fact that he might be dealing with so much more than a missing persons case.

To find Susan, Stefan and Hannah find and follow a trail that leads them to Danzig, a city were the Nazi Party is making quick gains. Stefan knows that Susan is desperate to find her friend. But he also knows that the more they uncover, the more danger they face.

+The City of Strangers

When a woman is brutally murdered, Garda Sergeant Stefan Gillespie starts the hunt for her killer. The suspect tries to escape justice by fleeing to New York and Stefan follows.

New York is a complicated place and it isn’t long before Stefan loses his suspect in the madness of the city. This is as he tries to come to terms with the noise and the energy and the opportunism running rampant in New York.

As Stefan digs deeper, he finds that behind the façade and the lights is a surge of segregation and anti-Semitism that is feeding into the tension of the City. There’s also an Irish presence. The IRA are moving in the United States. Stefan must steer clear of all the political wranglings until he gets his killer.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Stefan Gillespie

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