• Murder Under Her Skin

  • A Pentecost and Parker Mystery, Book 2
  • By: Stephen Spotswood
  • Narrated by: Kirsten Potter
  • Length: 9 hrs and 40 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (71 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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

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 to the circus where they find 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 suss out 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?

©2021 Stephen Spotswood (P)2021 Random House Audio

What listeners say about Murder Under Her Skin

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

My first P&P detective novel. It won’t be my last.

Excellent story and good character development. Clever plot that holds the listener until the end. Some unexpected twists, too.

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slow

I didn't finish this book. What little interest I'd gained during the first hour dissipated once the story really got started. It seemed to move at a glacial pace and I gave up after roughly two hours. That's unusual because I usually finish even a mediocre read.

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Murder at the Circus

The 2nd murder mystery by Stephen Spotswood, and even better than his inaugural. In the same vein as the Nero Wolfe series, the private detective here is a genius woman, Lillian Pentecost, who is aided by her sharp, agile and tough investigator, Willowjean Parker. “Will” spent years working in a traveling circus, and now an old friend and co-worker, the Tattooed Lady, has been murdered, with Will’s former mentor, the knife-thrower, arrested for the crime. The murder occurs at the circus’ stop in a small Virginia town, where Pentecost and Parker go to solve the case. Engaging, well developed characters, with many plot twists along the way, make this a highly enjoyable listen. Very well narrated by Kirsten Potter. Recommended.

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Another Homerun from Spotswood and Potter

Fell in love with this series from book 1 (Fortune Favors the Dead on Audible) earlier this year (‘21). Bought this second series tale as soon as Audible released it a few days ago (Dec ‘21). Once again, the writing is superb and the narration brilliant. My affair with these characters continues. At times emotionally affecting, at times suspenseful, many times laugh-out-loud funny. The deeper-dive into our “Dr Watson” (Will Parker) character through whose eyes the stories unfold is, by turns, heart-breaking and fascinating, but most of all endearing. All my love to Ms Parker and Ms Pentecost. Most of all, deepest gratitude to Mr Spotswood and Ms Potter for expanding this deliciously dark, richly realized world for us all to play in.

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Nero Wolfe twist - women focused, excellent voice

2nd in series, which I ate up, after listening to the first, after reading recommendations from Librarians Top Picks. Anyone who's a huge fan of Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin and is game for a new twist, start listening to this series immediately. I wish I thought of this combo myself, but would never get the voice right. Lillian Pentecost is the great genius, but her reluctance to move around is due to MS, and her leg man is a woman, Willowjean Parker, with all the sass and street smarts of Archie. do not miss this series!

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Mystery worthy of the Big Top

Great second installment featuring a colorful cast of characters from Will Parker’s past. While I appreciated the cast summary at the beginning, it wasn’t necessary due to the stellar narration of Kirsten Potter, who managed to bring the huge cast to unique and dazzling light. The mystery was just as clever as the previous book and the 1946 setting was original and refreshing.

My only (slight) disappointment is the lack of interplay between Will Parker and Lillian Pentecost compared to the first book. But, I hope their past and present will be developed in future books of this promising series.