The New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice • The latest action-packed installment in the Nero Award–winning Pentecost & Parker Mystery series follows Lillian and Will tracking the suspicious disappearance of a woman who might have known too much. From the author of Fortune Favors the Dead and Murder Under Her Skin.
Vera Bodine, an elderly shut-in with an exceptional memory, has gone missing and famed detective Lillian Pentecost and her crackerjack assistant Willowjean “Will” Parker have been hired to track her down. But the New York City of 1947 can be a dangerous place, and there’s no shortage of people who might like to get ahold of what’s in Bodine’s head.
Does her disappearance have to do with the high-profile law firm whose secrets she still keeps; the violent murder of a young woman, with which Bodine had lately become obsessed; or is it the work she did with the FBI hunting Nazi spies intent on wartime sabotage? Any and all are on the suspect list, including their client, Forest Whitsun, hotshot defense attorney and no friend to Pentecost and Parker.
The clock is ticking to get Bodine back alive, but circumstances conspire to pull both investigators away from the case. Will is hot on the trail of a stickup team who are using her name—and maybe her gun—for their own ends. While Lillian again finds herself up against murder-obsessed millionaire Jessup Quincannon, who has discovered a secret from her past—something he plans to use to either rein the great detective in . . . or destroy her.
To solve this mystery, and defeat their own personal demons, the pair will have to go nose-to-nose with murderous gangsters, make deals with conniving federal agents, confront Nazi spies, and bend their own ethical rules to the point of breaking. Before time runs out for everyone.
About the Author
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 widely produced across the United States and he is the winner of the 2021 Nero Award for best American mystery. He makes his home in Washington, DC with his wife, young adult author Jessica Spotswood.
“Faithful column readers know how much I adore Stephen Spotswood’s Pentecost and Parker series, and sometimes I feel . . . like a broken record recommending these books, set in post-World War II New York City, to anybody and everybody. I swore I was going to let this new installment pass without comment, but when it’s just as good as the last three, how could I. . . There’s a cliffhanger ending, which I shan’t spoil, but which raises my hopes very high for installment No. 5.” --Sarah Weinman, The New York Times Book Review
“A worthy addition to a superb series. It is deftly plotted and expertly paced. The scrapes and skirmishes provide thrills, with moments of genuine tension. . . Bring on this pair's next magical mystery.” --The Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Christie-like . . . A superb retro noir that summons another unlikely brownstone duo, Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin." --Booklist
“Spotswood’s newest sojourn with Parker & Pentecost won me over from the first page . . . It’s fast-paced with first-rate, humanly-flawed protagonists, lots of action right up to the last page, and interconnected side stories: a compelling read, which spirits readers into 1947 New York with ease. I’m eager for the next book and strongly recommend this one.” --Historical Novel Society
"Will is . . . the Archie Goodwin to Lillian’s Nero Wolfe . . . The feel is very much of the period in terms of lexicon, fashion and all the other minutiae that make for authentic storytelling. . . Will and Lillian . . . have different perspectives on life as hard-boiled detectives in the 1940s than their forebears in the genre." --BookPage
Praise for the Pentecost & Parker Mysteries
“Razor-sharp style, tons of flair, a snappy sense of humor, and all the most satisfying elements of a really good noir novel.” —Tana French, New York Times bestselling author of The Searcher
“A delight . . . it’s a pleasure to watch [Pentecost and Parker] sifting through red herrings and peeling secrets back like layers of an onion. . . Just like his mystery-writing ancestor [Rex Stout], Spotswood understands that the detective story should be sound, but spending time with unforgettable characters is paramount.” —New York Times Book Review
“My new favorite sleuthing duo are Pentecost and Parker, the spiritual sisters of Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin . . . Utterly brilliant!” –Deanna Raybourn, New York Times bestselling author of Killers of a Certain Age
“Stephen Spotswood hard-boils with the best of ‘em!” –Alan Bradley, bestselling author of the Flavia de Luce Mystery Series