We have updated our Privacy Policy Please take a moment to review it. By continuing to use this site, you agree to the terms of our updated Privacy Policy.

The ‘razor-sharp’ first book in the charming, fast-paced Pentecost and Parker mystery series. Book Two, Murder Under Her Skin, coming December 2021!

Meet your new favourite duo, audacious and iconic, and perfect for fans of The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman, The Marvellous Mrs. Maisel, Agatha Christie and M. C. Beaton.

It’s 1945 and Lillian Pentecost is the most successful private detective in New York City, but she needs help. Enter Willowjean Parker, a circus runaway – and the perfect assistant. Quick-witted and street-smart, she’s a jack-of-all-trades with a unique skill-set. She can pick locks blindfolded, wrestle men twice her size, and throw knives with deadly precision – all of which come in handy working for Ms P.

When wealthy young widow Abigail Collins is murdered Pentecost and Parker are hired by the family to track down the culprit. On Halloween night, there was a costume party at the Collins’ mansion, where a fortune teller performed a séance which greatly disturbed Abigail. Several hours later her body was discovered bludgeoned to death in her late husband’s office. Problem is, the door to the office was locked from the inside. There was no-one else in the room, and the murder weapon was beside the victim; the fortune teller’s crystal ball.

It looks like an impossible crime, but Pentecost and Parker know there is no such thing…

A 2020 Radio 2 Book Club pick.

Praise for Fortune Favours the Dead:

‘Razor-sharp, tons of flair and a snappy sense of humour’ Tana French

‘Bullets, blood, bodies, and belly-laughs: all the ingredients of a classic mystery novel. Stephen Spotswood hard-boils with the best of ’em!’ Alan Bradley, bestselling author of the Flavia de Luce Mystery Series

‘Fortune Favours the Dead takes gritty 40s noir, shakes it up, gives it a charming twist, and serves it up with unforgettable style. My new favourite sleuthing duo.’ Deanna Raybourn, author of the Veronica Speedwell Mysteries

‘Spotswood’s stellar debut puts a modern spin on classic hard-boiled fiction. . . a novel to remember.’ 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

‘A highly accomplished, auspicious first entry in what we must hope will be a long-running series’ The Irish Times

Reviews

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
A sprightly period debut. . . [A] provocative gender-flipping of Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin
Kirkus Reviews
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
Will keep readers engaged from start to finish. . . [Pentecost is] reminiscent of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple
Library Journal
Witty prose. . . Humorous and fun [with] all the hallmarks of an Agatha Christie mystery, and there's a delightful dose of noir thrown in for the more hardcore pulp fiction crowd, too. . . As mysterious and fun a caper as you will ever read, with plenty of misdirection and intrigue to keep you guessing. You don't need a clairvoyant to realize this duo will be around for years to come.
Bookpage
If you've been dying for a fresh take on the sleuth genre, this book delivers that and more. A mix of classic noir aesthetics and tropes with an inclusive twist, Fortune Favours the Dead is the kind of mystery series that will capture your imagination in new and fun ways, and have you desperate to get your hands on more.
Get Literary
A relentlessly entertaining romp through 1940's New York City, and through the annals of mystery fiction, as well, with many sly nods to authors of the past and some invigorating reinventions of classic tropes and gambits. . . Spotswood's style is swift and witty, and the mystery at the novel's heart is a clever knot.
Crime Reads
Sparkles [with] wit and personality . . . Delightful. . . This mystery plot has all the twists and surprises a fan of the genre could ask for, but it is Will's distinctive, captivating voice and background [that] is Spotswood's real triumph. . . Gutsy Will, with her snappy, slangy narrative style, ultimately wins readers' hearts and carries the day. This classic noir-style mystery recast with humour, female leads and superb style is both satisfying and great fun.
Shelf Awareness
One of the most rewarding and entertaining books I've read in years, one that fully lives up to the promise of its synopsis. Every page--nay, every paragraph--is rich and compelling. . . When it comes to male authors penning feminist issues that ring true and female characters who are fully realized and complex characters, Spotswood joins Terry Pratchett at the very top of the list . . . This is an adventure you'll want to rave about to strangers on the streets. Personally, I'm already impatient for these ladies' next case.
Criminal Element
Another crime series? Where to go these days with the genre it seems? Well, in this instance to 1940s New York and a wonderful new dynamically different duo. This is the first in the Pentecost & Parker series and is a thoroughly entertaining murder mystery.
Philipa Coughlan, NB Magazine
'Fortune Favours the Dead is ultimately a murder mystery but there is so much more between the pages. Stephen Spotswood brilliantly captures this fascinating era giving it a more feminist twist with two intriguing and exciting protagonists who have no fear in a world that is very much a male-dominated one. In creating a detective/crime novel with such a wonderful feisty duo, Stephen Spotswood takes the reader on a rollicking adventure recreating the classic murder mystery.
Swirl and Thread Blog
This novel not only offers fun, offbeat characters and an exceptional flavour of the time, it's utterly charming too.
Woman's Weekly
This really is a cracking book that leads you on a merry dance, and delights you when the pieces finally fall into place - with more than a few nicely contrived surprises.
Brown Flopsy's Book Burrow Blog

Pentecost and Parker