The gripping sequel to the dazzling first book in the Pentecost and Parker mystery series, set in 1940s New York.
The perfect murder mystery for fans of Richard Osman and Robert Thorogood.
'Spotswood understands that [...] spending time with unforgettable characters is paramount.' - New York Times
'A loving, intricately plotted tribute to the great days of American noir.' - Daily Mail
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?
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
It's a pleasure to watch [Pentecost and Parker] sifting through red herrings and peeling secrets back like layers of an onion, all while revealing even more of themselves without guilt or shame. Just like his mystery-writing ancestor [Rex Stout], Spotswood understands that the detective story should be sound, but spending time with unforgettable characters is paramount. - New York Times
A loving, intricately plotted tribute to the great days of American noir. - Daily Mail
An excellent plot and brilliant characters - NB Magazine
Spotswood fluently blends vintage mystery and noir with a dash of old Hollywood - his wisecracking, side-of-the-mouth dialogue is first rate. - Irish Times