🎧 Fortune Favors the Dead & Murder Under Her Skin by Stephen Spotswood

January 6th, 2022 Kimberly Review 3 Comments

6th Jan

Fortune Favors the Dead & Murder Under Her Skin by Stephen Spotswood are the first two audiobooks in the Pentecost and Parker historical fiction mystery series. Murder-mysteries, friendship, snark and adventure await you in this marvelous series! Grab a cuppa and see why I recommend these for audio.

🎧 Fortune Favors the Dead & Murder Under Her Skin by Stephen Spotswood
Fortune Favors the Dead
by Stephen Spotswood
Series: Pentecost and Parker #1
Narrator: Kirsten Potter
Length: 8 hours and 31 minutes
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Source: Purchase
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star
Narration: 5 cups Speed: 1.3x

Introducing Pentecost and Parker, two unconventional female detectives who couldn’t care less about playing by the rules, in their cases and in their lives.

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 will 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.

A wildly charming and fast-paced mystery written with all the panache of 1940s New York, Fortune Favors the Dead is a fresh homage to Holmes and Watson reads like the best of Dashiell Hammett and introduces an audacious detective duo for the ages.

2021 Fave historical MURDERMYSTERY smartfunny

In this book we learn how former circus girl, Willowjean “Will” Parker, came to partner with private investigator Lillian Pentecost. I bought this audio when I came across Murder Under Skin and I am so glad that I did. Set in 1942, New York, I quickly slipped into the story and fell in love with the characters and its homage to Sherlock and Watson.

If you loved hard-boiled detective movies from the seventies and enjoy a well-done mystery that lets you feel as if you’ve stepped back in time, you will love this fabulous start.

When Will saved Lillian’s life, I knew my decision to pick this audio title up was the right one. The story is engaging and the writing style and characters pulled me in. Will was twenty-five, fresh, streetwise, and the exact opposite of our unorthodox private investigator.

Pentecost is a world famous detective and her workload has become difficult as she deals with the drawbacks of multiple sclerosis. She offers Will a position at her agency. In exchange for being her right hand, she’ll receive a salary, room and board and training to be an investigator.

We skip ahead three years and Will shares one of their cases. Parker and Pentecost are working the Abigail Collins case. It’s a locked room murder mystery. It’s well done with plenty of twists. I loved the detective work and found that Will and Lillian compliment each other. We’ve got a few suspects, including the twins, their godfather and a friend of the family… oh and her dead husband who committed suicide the previous year. Yep, it was quite the mystery and kept me guessing.

I didn’t realize this was an LGBTQ title. When I learned Will was bisexual, it just made sense and felt natural. I loved Pentecost’s outlook regarding Will’s current interest.

The characters truly make this wonderful tale come to life. The author fleshed them out even with his nod to Sherlock Holmes; they felt fresh and unique from Will’s fearlessness and propensity to dress like a man to their approach to cases. While the MS limits Lillian’s mobility, her mind is sharp and Will has a lot to learn from her.

Narrated by Kirsten Potter, I cannot say enough to recommend the audiobook. The narration is brilliant and translates perfectly in this format. Potter captured Will and Lillian from their spunk to witty dialogue and I cannot wait to listen to the next in series.

If you are looking for a cozy, fun and well-written mystery series you can’t go wrong with the Pentecost and Parker mystery series.

Amazon | Audible

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🎧 Fortune Favors the Dead & Murder Under Her Skin by Stephen Spotswood
Murder Under Her Skin
by Stephen Spotswood
Series: Pentecost and Parker #2
Narrator: Kirsten Potter
Length: 9 hours and 40 minutes
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Source: Publisher
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star
Narration: 5 cups Speed: 1.3x

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 south into a snakepit of old grudges, small-town crime, and secrets worth killing for.

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?

Step right up! Murder Under Her Skin is a delightfully hardboiled high-wire act starring two daring heroines dead set on justice.

2021 Fave CRIME historical MURDERMYSTERY

We head back to Will’s roots as she and Lillian take on a case involving Will’s former mentor, Valentin Kalishenko. He has been accused of murdering Ruby Donner, the circus’ “Amazing Tattooed Woman”. The evidence is damning as one of Valentin’s knives was used and the townfolk of Stoppard, Virginia, prefer to blame the carny.

Hart and Halloway’s Travelling Circus and Sideshow’s Attractions was quite the colorful place, and it was interesting to see where Will learned her deadly skills, but it was equally interesting seeing her interact as we learned about her past.

It’s a troubling case, even if the evidence is circumstantial. Valentin leaves his knives out in the open, but the lack of an alibi means Will and Lillian need to find answers fast. The local police chief, Thomas Whiddle, welcomes them but makes it clear he has the murder behind bars.

Links to the town and Ruby widens the suspect list. I loved how Pentecost and Parker approached this case. Lillian is pragmatic, while Will goes on instinct. After all, Valentin was her mentor. Fans of hard-boiled detective work and Noir will find themselves immersed in the case.

I loved seeing Pentecost out of her element and Will returning to her roots. The author did a splendid job of showcasing their views, outlooks, and how much Will has changed.

The author brought the sights and sounds of a 40s traveling circus to life. I enjoyed the detailed and atmospheric descriptions. He really allows the reader/listener to slip back in time.

Once again, I listened to the audiobook performed by Kirsten Potter. From her tone to the voices she creates, she enhances the tale, bring the sights and sounds of the case and circus to live.

I cannot recommend this series enough to fans of hard-boiled detective mysteries, Sherlock Holmes, and Agatha Christie mysteries. I cannot wait for the next case! Stephen Spotswood has earned a spot on my must-listen list.

Amazon | Audible

Fortune Favors the Dead & Murder Under Her Skin by Stephen Spotswood are must listens on audio for fans of hard-boiled detective novels. #historical #murdermystery #PentecostAndParker #KristenPotter #NewRelease Click To Tweet

About Stephen Spotswood

Stephen Spotswood

Stephen Spotswood is an award-winning playwright, journalist, and educator. As a journalist, he has spent much of the last two decades writing about the aftermath of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the struggles of wounded veterans. His dramatic work has been produced nationwide and includes Girl In The Red Corner (winner of the 2017 Helen Hayes Award for Best New Play), In The Forest She Grew Fangs, Doublewide, and more. His debut novel, Fortune Favors The Dead, will be released by Doubleday in October 2020. He makes his home in Washington, D.C., with his wife, young-adult author Jessica Spotswood.

About Kirsten Potter

Kirsten Potter

Kirsten Potter, a graduate of the Boston University School for the Arts, has performed on stage, film, and television, including roles on Medium, Bones, and Judging Amy. An award-winning audiobook narrator, Kirsten has won AudioFile Earphones Awards for her reading of The Snowball by Alice Schroeder and her performance as Barbara in George Bernard Shaw's Major Barbara. Her other titles include The Unthinkable by Amanda Ripley, Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson, Sammy's House by Kristen Gore, and Madapple by Christina Meldrum, which was a Booklist Editors' Choice for Best Audiobook 2008. Kirsten has received recognition from the American Academy of Achievement and the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, as well as numerous regional awards.

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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. Whovian, Ravenclaw, Howler and proud Nonna. She owns and manages Caffeinated PR. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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