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Stephen Spotswood Books In Order

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Publication Order of Pentecost and Parker Books

Fortune Favours the Dead (2020)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Murder Under Her Skin (2021)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Stephen Spotswood
Stephen Spotswood is a mystery author best known for his debut novel, Fortunes Favor the Dead. Spotswood is also an award-winning journalist, playwright, and educator. For two decades, the talented author worked as a journalist covering the Iraq War’s aftermath and the ways Afghanistan struggled with its wounded veterans. His plays have also earned him nationwide recognition, especially the Girl In The Red Corner that won the Helen Hayes Award for Best New Play in 2017. Spotswood currently lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and young-adult author, Jessica Spotswood. When not relishing their wide collection of books, Spotswoods spents time with his wife and cat.

Fortunes Favors the Dead
Fortunes Favors the Dead comes first in the Pentecost and Parker series. The story introduces Willow Jean Parker; a circus runaway turned detective, and her partner, Lillian Pentecost. When jean’s knife-throwing skills save Lillian’s life, the unorthodox private investigator hires her a few days later. Lillian suffered from multiple sclerosis, which was making it hard for her to do her job. After years of being New York’s finest, this disease was threatening to ruin her career. This was before the knife-throwing queen appeared. Jean proves to be just what Lillian needs, a right-hand woman with the right set of skills. The seasoned detective would offer the circus girl a salary, a place to stay, and training if she agreed to work with her.

This marks the start of a solid partnership that would see this duo solving many cases together. It doesn’t take long for Lillian to realize that Jean is the best career decision she ever made. After being a jack of all trade at the circus, Jean came with a set of skills Lillian would put into good use while solving her cases. Jean is a quick learner, and a few cases later, she can not only pick the door but also teach self-defence to women who needed these skills. Jean is doing well for someone who did not think she could amount to much after escaping home at a tender age.

Three years later, Lillian and Jean are working on a case that will leave all of them shaken. Abigail Collins is bludgeoned to death using a crystal ball after a night of party and booze in her house. After the Halloween party, Abigail’s body is found slumped on the chair her husband shot himself in just one year before. Rumors start to fly that Abigail’s husband’s spirit was responsible for her death. Otherwise, who would have found a way inside a locked room, killed Abigail, and still left the door locked from the inside? Is there something the family and the servants are not letting out? Can Lillian and her partner solve this mystery before more lives are lost?

The Collins hire Lillian and Jean to help solve this mystery. However, this case will not be easy to solve, what with the messages from the dead and a seductive spiritualist in the middle of it. Abigail’s daughter, Becca, will also prove to be a distraction for Jean, who cannot get her mind off her. Soon enough, their relationship crosses the professional lines, and Jean becomes the killer’s next target. Follow Lillian and Jean as they work tirelessly to solve this murder before one of them becomes a statistic. Narrated by Jean, this intriguing story will take you to New York, where the detective will be trying to pick the killer from a long list of suspects, among them New York’s richest businessmen.

This murder mystery features the usual suspects. There are business partners, family members, and household servants who would want the woman of the house dead. As the detectives work through the case, they uncover secrets that some family would have wanted to keep hidden. The conversation between the characters is intresting, and the two detectives are such an intriguing pair. Spotswood lets the reader into Lillian’s personal life and her battle with a disease that was slowing her down. Despite her ill health, Lillian remains an intriguing protagonist, and her prowess shines through in this challenging case. Her witty voice makes the story more engaging, and you will enjoy following her as she works this case.

The author has skillfully drawn the atmosphere in this book to get an in-depth flavor of the 1940s without feeling like you are reading a boring history book. There is enough humor to lighten the mood, and just a hint of violence reminds you this is a detective story with many bad guys on the loose. Fortunately, the book remains gore-free. The mystery behind Abigail’s killing is well crafted, and the clues well laid, so everything comes together beautifully in the end. There are also a few minor mysteries to turn this into a complex read. Lillian and her partner resolve the primary mystery in such a logical way it is believable.

If you enjoy well-paced and well-crafted mystery stories, you will love this book. This is a fun read with all the right ingredients for an outstanding mystery. Think of badass detectives, jealous family and friends who rejoice during the bad times, and a crime that almost seems unsolvable. It is amazing how well the characters are fleshed out, making them easy to identify with. The author also expertly touches on multiple sclerosis and the limitations that the condition comes with. What Lillian is able to accomplish even with the condition makes her the ultimate heroine of the story.

Fortunes Favors the Dead is a captivating historical murder mystery. Set towards the end of WW2, the story brings to life the famous private investigator Lillian Pentecost and her able assistant Willowjean Parker. It is amazing how well these two women work together, and you will love the unorthodox ways they use to unravel the mystery. Jean makes a mistake when she gets entangled with Lillian, but she rectifies it before it is too late. This novel ooze charm and intrigue. The protagonists will capture your interest, while the storyline will keep you entertained to the end. This book is perfect when you are looking for an entertaining and engaging read.

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