Murder Under Her Skin: A Pentecost and Parker Mystery

Written by Stephen Spotswood
Review by Franca Pelaccia

It’s 1946 New York, and the female detective duo of Lillian Pentecost and Willowjean “Will” Parker have been investigating crimes together now for four years. The crime that sends them to Stoppard, Virginia, also takes Will back to her former family: The Hart & Halloway’s Traveling Circus and Sideshow. Valentin Kalishenko, the knife-throwing performer who taught Will everything she knows to stay alive, is accused of killing Ruby Donner, the Amazing Tattooed Woman who gave Will a home in the circus when no one else wanted her. To get Valentin out of jail and uncover the real killer, Lillian and Will have to deal with small-town secrets with big-time grudges, backwater characters, and residents who don’t like meddling from no-good, big-name detectives.

Murder Under Her Skin is the second book in the Pentecost and Parker Mystery series. The style recalls the hard-boiled, crime noir books and films of the 1940s but with a chick-lit attitude and flavor. There are enough twists and turns and surprising layers to keep the reader guessing. Lillian is still the brains and face of the operation while Will is the brawn and the soul. She is still trying to figure herself out, but rough, tough, full-throttle, and bleeding-heart sums her up. Just like the first book in the series, Murder Under Her Skin is a fun and engaging read with a whodunit that keeps you guessing and entertained.