DCI Monika Paniatowski

 

Dark murders take this pioneering woman DCI and her team to their limits as they unravel personalities and relationships and thus identify the murderers.

 

Monika first appeared in the Woodend series, as Chief Inspector Charlie Woodend's sergeant (The Golden Mile to Murder, 2001). When he retired, she became DCI and in The Dead Hand of History we see her tackling her first case without her mentor, but with her right-hand man and friend Colin Beresford.

 

In later books we see her team develop and expand with the additions of DC Crane and DS Meadows, each of whom have unusual pasts and interests, which they draw on to assist the team.

  

1st Monika Novel

The Dead Hand of History

2nd Monika Novel

The Ring of Death

3rd Monika Novel

Echoes of the Dead

5th Monika Novel

Lambs to the Slaughter

6th Monika Novel

A Walk with the Dead

7th Monika Novel

Death's Dark Shadow

8th Monika Novel

Supping with the Devil

 
The 1st novel in the DCI Monika Paniatowski Series:
The Dead Hand of History

 

It will be no easy task to fill the shoes of a local legend like DCI Charlie Woodend, the newly-promoted Monika Paniatowski tells herself - particularly when he's still a very real presence in Whitebridge - but given a little time, she thinks she can grow into them.

 

Yet time is the one thing she does not have. On her first day in the new job, a severed female hand is discovered on the riverbank. And worse follows, as a second hand - belonging to the first victim's reputed lover - is sent to a journalist.

 

The obvious suspect is Stan Szymborska, Jenny's war-hero husband, though Paniatowski refuses to arrest him. But is it the lack of evidence which is holding her back, or is it the fact that he is not only the most attractive man she has met in a long time, but also a fellow Pole?

 

And will she give in to her insecurities and ask Woodend for his help as he prepares to leave for a new life in Spain?

 

Review  by Kirkus Reviews:

Monika carries the torch nobly as Spencer’s franchise keeps its edge.

 

 

 
The 2nd novel in the DCI Monika Paniatowski Series:
The Ring of Death

 

Nothing could have prepared DCI Monika Paniatowski for this.

 

It’s not that the man’s throat has been cut, or that he is naked, that shocks her – it’s the way his corpse has been so carefully posed.

 

Is the killer sending a message?

 

If so, to who? Saddled with a colleague she doesn’t trust, and watched by an old enemy, Monika realises that whatever the murderer’s message is, he will not stop killing until she understands.

 

Review  by Kirkus Reviews:

Paniatowski continues to prove herself a worthy successor to Charlie Woodend as Spencer delivers another first-rate whodunit.

 

 

 

The 3rd novel in the DCI Monika Paniatowski Series:
Echoes of the Dead

 

When a recently released prisoner claims in a deathbed confession that he is innocent of the rape and murder of a young girl for which he was convicted twenty-two years earlier, DCI Monika Paniatowski is tasked to lead an unofficial investigation into his claims.

 

At first she is reluctant, but when she learns that her old mentor Charlie Woodend was the lead detective in the case, she knows she must do everything she can to protect his reputation . . .

 

Chosen as one of the best 12 Mysteries published in 2001 in the 2011 Best of Fiction awarded by Kirkus Review, which gave it a Starred Review:

 

"Shifting seamlessly between past and present versions of the case, Spencer produces a tour de force readers won't quickly forget."

 
The 4th novel in the DCI Monika Paniatowski Series:
Backlash

 

DCI Monika Paniatowski has a bitter personal history with Chief Superintendent Kershaw, but that is not the only reason she doesn t want the investigation into the sudden disappearance of his wife, Elaine, landing on her desk.

 

A young prostitute, Grace Meade, has also disappeared, and yet all resources are being channelled into Elaine s case alone.

 

Monika determines to spend time finding Grace, but when a heavily mutilated body is discovered on the moors, it begins to look as if she has made the wrong decision.

 

Booklist Review:

Spencer’s deft writing and skilled plotting combine with an intriguing mix of all-too-human characters and a shocker ending to make for another outstanding entry in this excellent series.

— Emily Melton

 

 

 
 
The 5th novel in the DCI Monika Paniatowski Series:
Lambs to the Slaughter

 

Tensions are running high in the small mining village of Bellingsworth. There has been a call for further strikes, and retired miner Len Hopkins, who was known to be against a new strike, is murdered.

 

Detective Inspector Monika Paniatowski learns that Len had been threatened the night before he died by another old miner.

 

Was he killed due to the stand he took against further strikes? Or are there more sinister forces at work?

 

Paniatowski investigates, but finds that she has problems much closer to home . . .

 

 

The 6th novel in the DCI Monika Paniatowski Series:
A Walk with the Dead

 

A killer who can't be classified - a killer who can't be profiled . . .

 

When a young girl, Jill Harris, is murdered, the case soon becomes personal for Monika Paniatowski.

 

She saw the victim looking distressed only hours before she was killed, and Jill was the same age as her own daughter, Louisa.

 

Driven by guilt and pity, Monika throws herself into the investigation, but both the chief constable, who is away, and Colin Beresford - her right-hand man - think she is too emotionally involved to handle it.

 

What none of them know is that the killer is planning to strike again . . .

 

 

 
The 7th novel in the DCI Monika Paniatowski Series:
Death's Dark Shadow

 

A nameless victim. An unknown killer. An impossible case for Monika Paniatowski.

 

Before she can even begin to track down the killer of the old woman dumped by the lonely canal, Monika Paniatowski needs to find out who she is - and no one seems to know.

 

Even when Monika's daughter Louisa provides the vital clue, it only makes life more difficult, because the Chief Constable - intent on making Paniatowski's life difficult - refuses to let her follow the obvious trail.

 

And it is not until there is a second, even more brutal, murder, that Paniatowski realises she will have to call on the help of her old mentor, ex-DCI Charlie Woodend.

 

"Dark, gripping. . .Spencer at her very best. A must-read" (Booklist Starred Review)

 

 

 
The 8th novel in the DCI Monika Paniatowski Series:
Supping with the Devil

 

Monika Paniatowski's boss is trying to destroy her career, but the dead end case he assigns her turns out to be something else entirely . . .

DCI Monika Paniatowski recognises her latest assignment as advisor to the Earl of Ridley's rock festival for what it really is - an attempt by the chief constable to destroy her career.

 

Yet it soon becomes apparent that matters are not as simple as they appear. Why, for instance, did the earl choose to employ the notorious Devil's Disciples motorcycle gang to provide the security for the festival?

And to what lengths will his mother, the dowager countess, go to destroy it? But it is when the half-naked body of a tabloid journalist is discovered in the middle of Whitebridge that things really start to hot up.

 

"A thrill ride that's not easily forgotten" (Publisher's Weekly Starred Review)

 

 

 
The 9th novel in the DCI Monika Paniatowski Series:
Best Served Cold

 

On the night the Whitebridge Players staged their last ever performance, the idealistic young actors in the company resolved that twenty years on they would return to the same theatre and stage the same play.

 

But two decades later, old resentments have grown and new jealousies have germinated, and it is a very different company that returns to re-enact the Spanish Tragedy. The cast members all have their axes to grind - and some have clear targets for those axes . . .

 

It is in this world - where normal rules and standards have no meaning - that DCI Monika Paniatowski finds herself, once a tragedy within the Tragedy has occurred.

 

But how can she uncover the killer's motive when everyone seemed to want the victim dead? And how can she decide who is telling the truth - when all these people lie for a living?

 

Satisfying, with plenty of twists and Spencer’s usual skilled plotting and craftsmanship, this strong series entry will appeal to fans of British procedurals. (Booklist Review by Emily Melton)

 

 

 
The 10th novel in the DCI Monika Paniatowski Series:
Thicker Than Water

 

​DCI Monika Paniatowski investigates a case that could be the making - or, more likely, breaking - of her career.

 

DCI Monika Paniatowski has only been back from maternity leave for three days when she is called in to investigate a nightmare of a case. Not only is the murder victim a mother of three small children, but her husband is a wealthy politician.

 

Monika knows that if she can't make a quick arrest her career is on the line. It's lucky, then, that within minutes of meeting Councillor Danbury, she has a bruised face - and a prime suspect. But then the case takes a nasty twist, and suddenly the investigation is national news. Monika's sure she has the right man - but how to prove it?

 

Particularly when she's under pressure from her superiors to arrest anyone other than Councillor Danbury, president of the golf club and friend of her chief constable...

Reviews:

Kirkus Reviews: "It’s good to have Monika back, doing what she does best.."

Thicker than Water has been awarded the coveted Star         by Kirkus Reviews.

 

Booklist: "Spencer’s newish series featuring DCI Monika Paniatowski just gets better and better.

 

A gripping read for those who like British police procedurals with tough, smart heroines.." 

Emily Melton Copyright © American Library Association

 

 
The latest in the DCI Monika Paniatowski Series:
Death in Disguise

 

DCI Monika Paniatowski investigates the killing of an American guest - and uncovers a link to a 50-year-old murder.

When the body of an American woman is found in the Prince Alfred suite at the Royal Victoria Hotel, DCI Monika Paniatowski is faced with one of the most baffling cases of her career. The woman who called herself Mary Edwards had been a guest at the hotel for the past two weeks, having paid cash in advance. But who was she really - and what was she doing in a small town like Whitebridge? If Monika could discover why the dead woman had come to Lancashire, she would be one step closer to catching her killer.

The investigation takes an intriguing twist when Monika learns of a possible link to a fifty-year-old murder - but the only person who could tell her why it's relevant is lying in a coma.

(Available now in Hardback, and coming to Kindle on Aug 1)

Reviews:

“Spencer’s well-crafted 11th mystery makes for a successful puzzle” (Publishers Weekly)
"A gripping plot, twists aplenty, good pacing, and the tough yet vulnerable Monika make this an engrossing read" (Booklist)
 
“Even a routine procedural isn't quite so routine in Spencer's deft hands” (Kirkus Reviews)

 

 
The 11th book  in the DCI Monika Paniatowski Series:
Death in Disguise

 

DCI Monika Paniatowski investigates the killing of an American guest - and uncovers a link to a 50-year-old murder.

When the body of an American woman is found in the Prince Alfred suite at the Royal Victoria Hotel, DCI Monika Paniatowski is faced with one of the most baffling cases of her career. The woman who called herself Mary Edwards had been a guest at the hotel for the past two weeks, having paid cash in advance. But who was she really - and what was she doing in a small town like Whitebridge? If Monika could discover why the dead woman had come to Lancashire, she would be one step closer to catching her killer.

The investigation takes an intriguing twist when Monika learns of a possible link to a fifty-year-old murder - but the only person who could tell her why it's relevant is lying in a coma.

(Available now in Hardback, and coming to Kindle on Aug 1)

Reviews:

“Spencer’s well-crafted 11th mystery makes for a successful puzzle” (Publishers Weekly)
"A gripping plot, twists aplenty, good pacing, and the tough yet vulnerable Monika make this an engrossing read" (Booklist)
 
“Even a routine procedural isn't quite so routine in Spencer's deft hands” (Kirkus Reviews)

 

Sally Spencer Author
The 12th book  in the DCI Monika Paniatowski Series:
The Hidden

 

As the members of DCI Monika Paniatowski's team investigate a death that seems to be linked to an attack on the DCI, Monika Paniatowski knows exactly who the killer is - but there's no way she can tell anyone else!

 
DCI Paniatowski's team are increasingly convinced that the girl found dead in the woods is the victim of a ritual killing, carried out by a secret society which has been established in the very heart of Whitebridge.

 

Monika herself knows not only who the killer is, but also that he is stalking Louisa, her beloved daughter. But as she is one of the killer's victims too, and is lying in a coma - hearing everything, but unable to move or speak - there is nothing she can do about it!

(Available now in Hardback)

Reviews:

“Spencer’s skillful writing, clever plotting, and colorful characters, combined with her insights into what makes humans—and especially cops—tick, make this a crime novel to savor. "
    (Booklist STARRED      review)
 
Dead End.jpg
The 13th book  in the DCI Monika Paniatowski Series:
Dead End

 

He was going to have to terminate Monika, he decided. It was a pity, but there it was.

 

The body has lain buried for years, and has no face and no fingertips.

 

Monika Paniatowski's team have no real leads, but when they discuss the case at her hospital bedside - where she lies paralysed - Monika begins to see possible links with a case she closed four years earlier.

 

Are the two cases connected? Did the first murder make the second almost inevitable?

 

She doesn't know, but she does know that she is being watched by an old enemy who will kill her if he decides there is ever any chance of her sharing her thoughts and information with her team.

Review: 

"Solid writing and a plot full of unexpected twists make this a good read, but it’s Paniatowski’s diverse, quirky, and talented team that elevates this one to beyond the rank and file of British procedurals."

(Booklist review by Emily Melton)

 
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