Secrets Typed in Blood

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This is the third entry in Stephen Spotswood's "Pentecost and Parker" series. It's set in 1947 New York City, "Pentecost" being Lillian Pentecost, famous private detective, and "Parker", being Willowjean Parker, her intrepid assistant, handy with guns, knives, and wisecracks. Willowjean narrates, alternating between jaded cynicism and … um, less jaded cynicism.

If that reminds you of Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe/Archie Goodwin books, I think it's supposed to. Out of the four blurbs on the back cover, two mention this similarity. (Another similarity: Archie liked the ladies, and … so does Willowjean.)

The primary plot concerns Holly, who, under a pseudonym, writes of pulp detective stories published in Strange Crime magazine. She notices that three actual recent murders have been staged to follow the garish scenes in three of her fictional stories. What's going on with that? Holly has an addiction to Chesterfields, and is attempting to keep a deep secret of her own under wraps.

There's also a continuing plot from the first book: the Professor Moriarty of the series, criminal mastermind Olivia Waterhouse, is discovered to have been employed as a secretary in a law office. Willowjean is tasked with posing as a secretary herself, wangling a temp job at the same office. Her goal is to find out why Waterhouse was working there, what she did, and (hopefully) that will assist in bringing her to justice.

It's all good, murderous, fun.