Step right up! A circus sits centre stage in this vividly realised and captivating historical crime novel set in small town America.
The most wonderfully wild, smart, and hugely entertaining novel awaits your reading pleasure. It’s 1946 and Lillian Pentecost and Willowjean Parker find themselves at the circus when one of Will’s friends from her performing days is murdered. I kept a beady eye out for this, the second in the Pentecost and Parker series, as Stephen Spotswood’s debut Fortune Favours the Dead was an absolute delight. I have to say that the cast list alone had me at hello. The circus comes to roaring vividly vivacious life, with the ups and downs of life on the road making the investigation particularly tricky. Little digs and pokes of humour nestle themselves in alongside the social issues of the day. The concerns faced by the residents of the sideshow in particular ensure that while this heads towards cosy crime, it comes with a sharply provocative edge. The writing is so visual, the descriptions come to colourfully dramatic life and as I read, I could see. The cunning ending ensured a resounding round of applause from me, Stephen Spotswood has done it again! A Liz Pick of the Month, and another LoveReading Star Book, Murder Under Her Skin is a charming, darkly amusing, and fabulously stimulating read.
The perfect murder mystery for fans of Richard Osman and Robert Thorogood.
New York, 1946: The last time Will Parker let a case get personal, she walked away with a broken face, a bruised ego, and the solemn promise never again to let her heart get in the way of her job. But she called Hart and Halloway's Travelling Circus and Sideshow home for five years, and Ruby Donner, the circus's tattooed ingenue, was her friend. To make matters worse the prime suspect is Valentin Kalishenko, the man who taught Will everything she knows about putting a knife where it needs to go.
To uncover the real killer and keep Kalishenko from a date with the electric chair, Will and Ms. Pentecost join the circus in sleepy Stoppard, Virginia, where the locals like their cocktails mild, the past buried, and big-city detectives not at all. The two swiftly find themselves lost in a funhouse of lies as Will begins to realize that her former circus compatriots aren't playing it straight, and that her murdered friend might have been hiding a lot of secrets beneath all that ink.
Dodging fistfights, firebombs, and flying lead, Will puts a lot more than her heart on the line in the search of the truth. Can she find it before someone stops her ticker for good?
|Publication date:||7th December 2021|
|Publisher:||Wildfire an imprint of Headline Publishing Group|
|Primary Genre||Crime and Mystery|
Closing date: 12/12/2021
Praise for Stephen Spotswood:
'Razor-sharp, tons of flair. A really good noir novel.' Tana French
'Spotswood's stellar debut puts a modern spin on classic hard-boiled fiction. . . The deep and sensitive characterization of the two protagonists, coupled with rich description and tonally spot-on humour, make this a novel to remember. Spotswood is definitely a writer to watch.' Publishers Weekly
'This novel not only offers fun, offbeat characters and an exceptional flavour of the time, it's utterly charming too.' Woman's Weekly
'This hugely enjoyable debut is a deft melange of Agatha Christie-style locked-room murder mystery and 1940s Chandler-esque pulp crime fiction with a feisty narrator' Irish Independent Review
'Persuasive in its attention to period detail and dialogue, with well-constructed set piece scenes deftly staged, this is a highly accomplished, auspicious first entry in what we must hope will be a long-running series' The Irish Times
Stephen Spotswood is an award-wining playwright, journalist, and theatre educator. He makes his home in Washington, DC with his wife, young adult author Jessica Spotswood, their cat, and an ever-growing collection of books.More About Stephen Spotswood