The Spare Man by Mary Robinette Kowal @maryrobinette ‏@torbooks

Posted October 6, 2022 by Anne - Books of My Heart in Book Review / 22 Comments

Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Spare Man by Mary Robinette Kowal @maryrobinette ‏@torbooksThe Spare Man by Mary Robinette Kowal
Published by Tor on October 11, 2022
Genres: Mystery, Science Fiction
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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Tesla Crane, a brilliant inventor and an heiress, is on her honeymoon on an interplanetary space liner, cruising between the Moon and Mars. She’s traveling incognito and is reveling in her anonymity. Then someone is murdered and the festering chowderheads who run security have the audacity to arrest her spouse. Armed with banter, martinis, and her small service dog, Tesla is determined to solve the crime so that the newlyweds can get back to canoodling--

And keep the real killer from striking again.

I love science fiction and every time I read it I wonder why I don’t read more of it.  I’ve enjoyed this author before so I was happy to read The Spare Man.  Not only is it science fiction, set in space, but it is also a murder mystery.   The main characters are well suited to handle the situation with Tesla being a tech whiz and heiress,  and her new husband, Shal being a detective.

Tesla and Shal are on their honeymoon. They are trying to stay below the radar so they can relax and not have to hide from people and paparazzi.  Tesla has some wigs and makes herself up with disguises.  She also has her service dog, Gimlet to distract people from herself.  Tesla was in an accident and has to continually deal with the pain.  Otherwise, we don’t learn very much about their lives as the focus is on their trip and their efforts to solve the mystery.

They come upon a murder scene. Tesla tries to save the victim, who is alive when she finds her.  Shal chases the killer without success and ends up being a main suspect.   Tesla works through the many connections and facts, trying to question witnesses.  Her husband is held away from her by the ship security and they even beat him up. The ship security is not equipped to handle a murder investigation and have no legal ability to do so.  They are not talented at evidence collection or protection of passengers either. The head of security is all ego and no brains.

Tesla and Shal, both don’t trust the doctor because the victim was alive and should have been easily saved.  They work separately, and together, to clear Shal and find the true killer, and there are more victims. Increasingly, I worried they would become targets of the killer.

The plot is exquisite giving us all the clues but it is not easily solved.  I never believed Tesla or Shal was the killer but there were many possibilities. There were many connections between people and people with secrets who made it all the more difficult to get at the truth.  I really enjoyed this mystery, set in a space ship, with the romance of a honeymoon.


About Mary Robinette Kowal

Mary Robinette Kowal was the 2008 recipient of the Campbell Award for Best New Writer and her short story “For Want of a Nail” won the 2011 Hugo. Her stories have appeared in Strange Horizons, Asimov’s, and several Year’s Best anthologies. She is the author of Shades of Milk and Honey and Glamour in Glass (Tor 2012).

Mary, a professional puppeteer and voice actor, has performed for LazyTown (CBS), the Center for Puppetry Arts, Jim Henson Pictures and founded Other Hand Productions. Her designs have garnered two UNIMA-USA Citations of Excellence, the highest award an American puppeteer can achieve. She also records fiction for authors such as Kage Baker, Cory Doctorow and John Scalzi.

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Posted October 6, 2022 by Anne - Books of My Heart in Book Review / 22 Comments

22 responses to “The Spare Man by Mary Robinette Kowal

  1. Jen

    Oh wow! This sounds fabulous. Like Death on the Nile but in space! I love that it’s in audiobook format – I’m adding to my wish list.