Murder Under Her Skin: A Pentecost and Parker Mystery

Stephen Spotswood. Doubleday, $27 (368p) ISBN 978-0-385-54712-3
Set in the summer of 1946, Spotswood’s twisty follow-up to 2020’s Fortune Favors the Dead sends New York PIs Lillian Pentecost and Lillian’s assistant, Willowjean Parker, to a traveling circus performing in rural Stoppard, Va., where Ruby Donner, the tattooed lady, has been murdered. The case is a personal one for Parker, who not only worked in the same circus before landing a job with Pentecost but considers many of the performers as family. Parker credits Ruby with saving her life and vows to find her killer. As Pentecost struggles with multiple sclerosis, Parker is faced with numerous potential killers, including her old mentor, Valentin Kalishenko, a hard-drinking knife thrower, as well as with more than a few skeletons from Ruby’s shadowy past. Though the focus on period details and hard-boiled atmospherics isn’t quite as strong as in the previous book, Spotswood’s ability to subvert genre tropes with intriguing and distinctive characters (Parker is openly bisexual at a time when that was risky) make this whodunit a delightfully unusual read. Readers will look forward to Pentecost and Parker’s further adventures. Agent: Darley Anderson, Darley Anderson Literary. (Dec.)
Reviewed on : 09/01/2021
Release date: 12/07/2021
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Paperback - 538 pages - 978-0-593-46019-1
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