Review: Murder Under Her Skin (Pentecost and Parker#2) by Stephen Spotswood
Stephen Spotswood hard-boils with the best of ’em! –Alan Bradley, bestselling author of the Flavia de Luce mystery series
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.
I received this book as a gift from the friend .
Dear Stephen Spotswood,
I really liked the first entry in this series. I loved Will’s voice, I cared for her, and for her boss Lilian Pentecost and I thought it mostly offered a very satisfying mystery. I thought this book was just as well executed as the first one, and I still liked Will and her boss very much. Unfortunately I cannot say that I found the mystery even mostly satisfying. As the blurb tells you, our detective and her sidekick travel to investigate the murder of the circus employee while another circus employee seems to be falsely accused of the said murder. Or is the accusation in fact false? Knife thrower Mr. Kalishenko does not really remember if he murdered Ruby or not, because he was completely drunk.
Let me be very clear, I thought the mystery plot was just as well thought out as in the first book. The author certainly spends enough time on showing how the main characters actually attempt to *investigate* the murder and normally I am very happy when the author does not skip the investigation part. Will and Ms. Pentecost talk to *a lot* of people trying to figure out what actually happened during the night of the murder and what they uncover certainly seemed bigger than what they bargained for, but also made perfect sense.
And I was still bored when I was reading probably the first half of the book, or maybe I started to get bored when I was reading about the investigation at the place where circus stayed. I tried to figure out why that happened, because again, normally it is very much my cup of tea and certainly it was written with the great deal of writing skill. The most I could come up with was that I simply did not care about any of those people, including the victim and the person who was accused of her murder. Oh I know that they were all connected to Will’s past and from her mentioning the morsels from her past to was pretty clear that they shaped her in the person she was. But what she mentioned before was just not enough for me to care, so it took awhile for me to start caring.
In the second part of the book, tension picked up and some events started to happen and I did not put down the book anymore. I had in the beginning – once or twice.
I was pleased with the resolution, but can’t help but hope that next book will find Will and Lillian back in New York. B