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A Pentecost and Parker Mystery Series

Stephen Spotswood
A delightful, critically acclaimed series featuring an audacious and unlikely new detective duo in post-WWII New York City. Famed private investigator Lillian Pentecost has a mind like a steel trap and a sterling record, but as the effects of her muscular sclerosis intensify, she needs someone whose legs can pound the pavement as fast as she maps out motives. Enter Willowjean “Will” Parker, a scrappy circus runaway turned Lillian’s new, slightly over-eager, apprentice. Inspired by classic mystery series from Sherlock Holmes to Nero Wolfe, but with a contemporary take on justice, these two underdog detectives make it their business to solve the crimes that afflict those who live on the margins, not just with flair, but with the same precision and dignity afforded to the rich.
Secrets Typed in Blood by Stephen Spotswood
Coming soon (12-13-22)

Secrets Typed in Blood

Book 3
Hardcover $27

A Pentecost and Parker Mystery Series : Titles in Order

Book 3
A NEW YORK TIMES BEST CRIME NOVEL OF THE YEAR • In the newest entry into the Nero Award-winning Pentecost & Parker Mystery series, Lillian and Will are hot on the trail of a serial killer whose murders are stranger than fiction.

The Pentecost & Parker series “takes gritty 40s noir, shakes it up, gives it a charming twist, and serves it up with unforgettable style” (Deanna Raybourn, author of the Veronica Speedwell Mysteries). From the author of Fortune Favors the Dead and Murder Under Her Skin.

New York City, 1947: For years, Holly Quick has made a good living off of murder, filling up the pages of pulp detective magazines with gruesome tales of revenge. Now someone is bringing her stories to life and leaving a trail of blood-soaked bodies behind. With the threat of another murder looming, and reluctant to go to the police, Holly turns to the best crime-solving duo in or out of the pulps, Willowjean “Will” Parker and her boss, famed detective Lillian Pentecost. 

The pair are handed the seemingly-impossible task of investigating three murders at once without tipping off the cops or the press that the crimes are connected. A tall order made even more difficult by the fact that Will is already signed up to spend her daylight hours undercover as a guileless secretary in the hopes of digging up a lead on an old adversary, Dr. Olivia Waterhouse. 

But even if Will is stuck in pencil skirts and sensible shoes, she’s not about to let her boss have all the fun. Soon she’s diving into an underground world of people obsessed with murder and the men and women who commit them. Can the killer be found in the Black Museum Club, run by a philanthropist whose collection of grim murder memorabilia may not be enough to satisfy his lust for the homicidal? Or is it Holly Quick’s pair of editors, who read about murder all day, but clearly aren’t telling the full story?

With victims seemingly chosen at random and a murderer who thrives on spectacle, the case has the great Lillian Pentecost questioning her methods. But whatever she does, she’d better do it fast. Holly Quick has a secret, too and it’s about to bring death right to Pentecost and Parker’s doorstep.
Book 2
A New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice • Rex Stout meets Agatha Christie with a fresh twist in the new Pentecost and Parker Mystery, a delightfully hardboiled high-wire act starring two daring women sleuths dead set on justice as they set out to solve a murder at a traveling circus

“A delight…. It’s a pleasure to watch [Pentecost and Parker] sifting through red herrings and peeling secrets back like layers of an onion.” The New York Times Book Review

Someone’s put a blade in the back of the Amazing Tattooed Woman, and Willowjean “Will” Parker’s former knife-throwing mentor has been stitched up for the crime. To uncover the truth, Will and her boss, world-famous detective Lillian Pentecost, travel to the circus, where they find a snake pit of old grudges, small-town crime, and secrets worth killing for.

Will called Hart & Halloway’s Traveling 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.
Book 1
A wildly charming and fast-paced mystery written with all the panache of the hardboiled classics, Fortune Favors the Dead introduces Pentecost and Parker, an audacious new detective duo for the ages.

“Razor-sharp style, tons of flair, a snappy sense of humor, and all the most satisfying elements of a really good noir novel, plus plenty of original twists of its own.”—Tana French, bestselling author of The Searcher

It’s 1942 and Willowjean “Will” Parker is a scrappy circus runaway whose knife-throwing skills have just saved the life of New York’s best, and most unorthodox, private investigator, Lillian Pentecost. When the dapper detective summons Will a few days later, she doesn’t expect to be offered a life-changing proposition: Lillian’s multiple sclerosis means she can’t keep up with her old case load alone, so she wants to hire Will to be her right-hand woman. In return, Will is to receive a salary, room and board, and training in Lillian’s very particular art of investigation.

Three years later, Will and Lillian are on the Collins case: Abigail Collins was found bludgeoned to death with a crystal ball following a big, boozy Halloween party at her home—her body slumped in the same chair where her steel magnate husband shot himself the year before. With rumors flying that Abigail was bumped off by the vengeful spirit of her husband (who else could have gotten inside the locked room?), the family has tasked the detectives with finding answers where the police have failed.

But that’s easier said than done in a case that involves messages from the dead, a seductive spiritualist, and Becca Collins—the beautiful daughter of the deceased, who Will quickly starts falling for. When Will and Becca’s relationship dances beyond the professional, Will finds herself in dangerous territory, and discovers she may have become the murderer’s next target.

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