The Spare Man

Hardcover, 368 pages

English language

Published Oct. 11, 2022 by Doherty Associates, LLC, Tom.

Copied ISBN!
4 stars (3 reviews)

Hugo, Locus, and Nebula-Award winner Mary Robinette Kowal blends her no-nonsense approach to life in space with her talent for creating glittering high-society in this stylish SF mystery, The Spare Man.

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.

4 editions

A stand-alone in her alternate universe

5 stars

This was relatively fun light reading in the same alternate timeline where an astroid hits Earth right after WW2 and we immediately make the jump to space. We get rich heiresses, famous detectives, a ship traveling between Earth and Mars as a “locked room” and of course, plenty of murder and drama. It’s a Murder on the Orient Express/Death on the Nile in space kind of setup. Strong female lead, weird alternate technology that almost feels like Niven from the 1970’s, it’s all good fun!

I will be honest, I always end up reading Kowal’s stuff to see what crazy things she’s dreamed up for her alternate timeline more than because I absolutely love her writing. She still does far too much “inner voice of struggle” exposition, IMHO. But even with that, her vision of the future is also so fun that I always enjoy myself in spite if it. …

Review of 'The Spare Man' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

Ahh, this was lovely. The bones of this are Agatha Christie, its a locked room mystery on an interstellar cruise liner. The twist is that it is structured like Hammet's the Thin Man and uses that as the character templates for the protagonists.
It sailed along with brim and vigor and no small amount of wit. A vastly entertaining romp with some science fictional elements. Given this is Kowal, the space and speculative tech elements are spot on as well.
It wasn't 5 stars for me because I felt some plot elements didn't come together at the end but that's probably more a me thing. I inhaled this in like 2 sittings while away for the weekend and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Definite recommend.