Fortune Favours The Dead; classic noir with a feminist twist

With nostalgic echoes of Agatha Christie and the famous Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson partnership, Fortune Favours The Dead introduces a new crime-solving duo onto the literary scene. It is so kick-ass and so refreshing. It is also a really good, fun read.

And look at the cover of this book! It is so bright and bold – and believe me, so is the story. 🙂

This is such a feminist book, and I loved it for that reason. But I also loved it for its fast-paced plot, its twists and its dry humour. Published only in November 2020 and becoming a BBC Radio 2 Book Club pick, Fortune Favours The Dead is quick-witted crime fiction not to be missed.

Lillian Pentecost is a renowned private detective in 1940s New York. Possessing razor-sharp intelligence, she is the thorn in the side of the New York police – beating them to it solving the city’s crimes. Lillian also has a secret; this secret leads her to approach Willowjean Parker, a circus runaway. Impressed with Willowjean’s quick-thinking and street-smart attitude, Lillian offers Willowjean, who everyone calls Will, the job of becoming her assistant.

And so the new detective partnership is born, subverting the traditional patriarchal crime-solving world. With feminism running through its core, the fact that this novel is written by Stephen Spotswood, a man is brilliant. This is also a novel that celebrates diversity; a diversity that post-war society and beyond wanted to keep hidden. But Lillian and Will, with their boldness, intelligence and compassion refuse to be hidden away.

Fortune Favours The Dead is the first novel in the Pentecost & Parker crime series. Narrated by Will , it tells the story of how the duo solve the 1946 murder of Abigail Collins who was found bludgeoned to death with a crystal ball. The victim was found in her husband’s study slumped in the same chair he was found dead in the year before. Abigail’s husband shot himself.

Abigail’s murder appears to be an impossible crime as the study door could only be locked from the inside with no entry or exits via windows or secret passages . Yet when Abigail’s body is discovered, there was no one else in the room. As Abigail’s daughter Rebecca tells Lillian and Will when she and her family approach the duo to solve the crime; “People think she was murdered by the ghost of our father.”

So who did murder Abigail? And why? To find out you need to read Fortune Favours The Dead.

Happy reading everyone! 🙂

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