Ingrid Thoft writes a series of books set in Boston, Massachusetts about Fina Ludlow who is a law school dropout working as a private investigator. If you enjoy books by Sara Paretsky and Sue Grafton you will appreciate this series.
Ingrid Thoft was born in Boston and is a graduate of Wellesley College. She has developed the Fina Ludlow PI series based off an interest in the private investigator racket. So much so that she entered a certificate program in private investigation at the University of Washington.
Her private investigator series features Fina Ludlow which is set in Boston, Massachusetts and features a female private investigator as the protagonist who works primarily for the family law firm.
The Fina Ludlow series has already achieved some critical acclaim with the first book in the series, Loyalty (2013) earning a nomination for the 2014 Shamus Award for Best First PI Novel.
In Loyalty, the mystery comes from Fina’s sister-in-law who has disappeared and must be found without police involvement. A familiar set-up which then sets off an investigation that gradually unfolds as one clue is unearthed after another.
Fina establishes herself as an edgy character who is far from the perfect private investigator. In fact, it is clear that unfortunate gaffes are going to be the order of the day in her investigations.
She scarfs junk-food, has a couple of lovers on the go and battles a disapproving father, just the kinds of traits that can be used to create a character to follow in later books.
The second book in the series is Identity (2014) and the same character traits and personal problems that are established in the first book remain as we pick up the story.
Fina Ludlow wades into the world of assisted reproduction when she is asked to find out the identity of a sperm donor who fathered her client’s daughter.
From what starts as a reasonably straightforward premise at the start of the book, it quickly develops into a wildly convoluted and involved mystery that demands close attention.
The pace fast and this is a significant factor because it’s an aspect of books such as this to quickly achieve popularity with a loyal following.
It is a good follow-up book that cements the type of story, along with all of the pantomime that is Fina’s private life, that readers can expect from this series.
Book 3 of the series is Brutality (2015) and fans of the series so far will be relieved to find that it consists of more of the same. The character flaws and features of Fina remain and she is just as doggedly determined in her investigations as she was in the past.
In this case a woman has been put into a coma after a brutal beating and Fina is hired by the woman’s mother to try to understand why such a horrific thing might happen.
What she finds is that there is a pending law suit that had been brought by the victim, which is a strong indicator as to possible motive for the beating.
Although the series is primarily a private investigator series and this is what sets the fearsome pace, there are many ongoing sub-plots that carry through from one book to the other. Each of these establishes the personality of Fina and her extended family and friends, they break up the more intense scenes with lighter moments and help the reader to become closer to the characters.
In the fourth book of the series, Duplicity (2017), we enter into the world of religious movements and the possible brainwashing of members.
Fina is hired to rescue the child of a client who has joined a church. The client believes her daughter is not there of her own accord.
As with the other books in the series, everything appears nice and straightforward until there is a murder. Then it all becomes complicated and goes to a kind of hell.