Coming from English/Irish TV scriptwriter and crime novelist Michael Russell, the Stefan Gillespie series is a historical crime fiction series. Set in the 1930s, between the First and Second World Wars, the story revolves around a reluctant secret policeman named Stefan Gillespie. He is Irish, born to German parents, who invite us into a mix of criminal, historical, and spy mysteries.
How to read the Stefan Gillespie Series in Order?
Every entry in the Stefan Gillespie book series works as a standalone story, but the lives of the different characters evolve from one novel to the other.
- The City of Shadows – Dublin 1934: Detective Stefan Gillespie arrests a German doctor and encounters Hannah Rosen desperate to find her friend Susan, a Jewish woman who had become involved with a priest, and has now disappeared. When the bodies of a man and woman are found buried in the Dublin mountains, it becomes clear that this case is about more than a missing person. Stefan and Hannah trace the evidence all the way across Europe to Danzig.
- The City of Strangers – New York, 1939: A city of hope. A city of opportunity. A city hiding dark secrets … A brutal murder in an affluent suburb of Dublin and the unexplained death of an Irish diplomat in Manhattan… Garda Sergeant Stefan Gillespie is sent to America to bring a killer to justice, but his mission soon becomes part of an increasingly personal struggle. A chance encounter with an old friend draws him deep into a chilling network of conspiracy, espionage and terror with disturbing connections to home.
- The City in Darkness – Christmas 1939. In Europe the Phoney War hides carnage to come. In Ireland Detective Inspector Stefan Gillespie keeps tabs on Irishmen joining the British Forces. It’s unpleasant work, but when an IRA raid on a military arsenal sends Garda Special Branch in search of guns and explosives, Stefan is soon convinced his boss, Superintendent Terry Gregory, is working for the IRA.
- The City of Lies – An IRA attack leaves two guards dead on the streets of Dublin. Two days later, a battle between warring gangs erupts at a race meeting, and on Ireland’s east coast the cremated bodies of a wealthy family of five are found in their shuttered, burned-out villa. Dispatched from Special Branch to investigate, Detective Inspector Stefan Gillespie soon finds himself caught in a web of Irish, British and German Intelligence – all playing against each other, all watching each other, and all plagued by rogue operators they can’t quite control, as the certainty grows that Hitler is about to invade England.
- The City in Flames – 1940. A woman lands on the Scottish coast from a German flying boat and goes to ground, hunted by British Intelligence. Suspended from the Irish police for reasons he won’t explain, Detective Inspector Stefan Gillespie is working on his father’s farm in Wicklow. One day he vanishes, leaving no sign of where he is heading – or why. Even in rural Ireland, rumours of assassination and Nazi spies fill the air, leaving Stefan’s father to wonder whether he is in terrible danger.
- The City Under Siege – 1941, and Detective Inspector Stefan Gillespie is ferrying documents between Dublin and war-torn London. When Ireland’s greatest actor is arrested in Soho, after the brutal murder of a gay man, Stefan extricates him from an embarrassing situation. But suddenly he is looking at a series of murders, stretching across Britain and Ireland. The deaths were never investigated deeply as they were not considered a priority. And there are reasons to look away now. It’s not only that the killer may be a British soldier, Scotland Yard is also hiding the truth about the victim. But an identical murder in Malta makes investigation essential.
- The City Underground – Ireland 1941. A German spy escapes from Mountjoy Prison, clearly with inside help. Yet no one wants to catch him. When the head of Garda Special Branch sends Inspector Stefan Gillespie to find out why, it must be in secret. But he meets a web of deceit in which the past’s dark shadows loom over the lies of the present. Alone, except for an alcoholic private detective and a woman who could betray him to the IRA, Stefan embarks on a journey that drags him into a plot to attack British interests in Ireland and an attempt on the life of the IRA Chief-of-Staff by his own men.
- The City of God – Italy, 1943. Irish detective Stefan Gillespie leaves the chaos of Nazi-occupied Rome for neutral Switzerland on a mission his government knows nothing about. Waiting for a late-night connection in Zurich he sees a train that shouldn’t be there. The train’s SS guards, who shouldn’t be there either, beat him to within an inch of his life. But Stefan’s perilous journey begins in Rome with the barbaric murder of an idealistic young Irish priest. The Eternal City is a place of vengeance, duplicity and betrayal that has even infected the City of God itself, the Vatican. In a war that is everywhere, not even neutrals, can escape the surrounding darkness.
- The Dead City – Berlin 1944. The beginning of the end for Nazi Germany. And the beginning of a dark journey for Garda detective Stefan Gillespie as he makes his way through war-ravaged Europe to the German capital. He carries secret instructions for the Irish ambassador, who is clinging on in the growing chaos – even though it’s time to get out. Bombs fall and bodies fill the streets. People starve. The true horrors of Nazi terror are everywhere now… and the Russians are coming. As Stefan searches for an Irishman trapped in Berlin who has betrayed his country and his friends, who cares if people are murdered along the way? And Stefan has to ask himself if saving one life matters in this devastation. And if it does, is it worth him risking his own?