Tell Me, Pretty Maiden (Molly Murphy Mysteries 7)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Tell Me, Pretty Maiden (Molly Murphy Mysteries)

:Teaser:
Since returning from Ireland, Molly has had more cases than she can handle.  So, when she finally has a free afternoon, she is excited to be spending it with her long time beau, Daniel.  They go to the park for a romantic stroll through the freshly fallen snow.  Molly is having a wonderful time until she stumbles upon a young girl buried under the snow.   The girl is alive, but she remains in shock.  She doesn't talk or seem to understand anyone.  Molly takes it upon herself to find the girl's family and to find out what terrible thing could have happened to her.

:Short Thought:
This book is chock full of exciting cases, major character developments, and interesting new people and places.  It is truly a exciting ride from start to finish.  This is my new series' favorite!

:Expanded Thoughts:
(Very Minor Spoilers)
This is definitely the best in this series so far!  Tell Me, Pretty Maiden doesn't waste any time engaging us and continues to gain momentum until the fantastic finish.  There are four major cases/mysteries, and each are well developed and deliciously interesting.  I still can't believe that they were all in this one book. 

These cases take us to many wonderful new places, such as: backstage at a theatre, inside a college dormitory, and behind the gates of a sanitarium.  You are never really sure where the cases will lead you next.  Even a seasoned mystery reader will be delighted by the wonderful twists and turns incorporated.

Daniel and Molly's relationship strengthens tremendously in this book.  Thus, we are treated to many sweet moments between them throughout the novel.  They have always been close because of their deep feelings for one another, but their professional lives cause each other frustration for a variety of reasons.  Daniel has never liked Molly's choice of profession nor has he ever really respected her investigating skills.  Daniel's negative views have plagued Molly as the couple gets closer to the point of marriage. 

Daniel's view really begins to change when Molly offers him a temporary partnership to help with her many ongoing investigations.  (Daniel is out of jail, but he is still unemployed and not getting paid.)  While working together as equals, we see what a great team they truly make.  Daniel begins to acknowledge her investigating skills, and Molly sees that she can learn a few things from the former police captain. 

:Additional Notes:

Series Info:  Tell Me, Pretty Maiden is the seventh book in Rhys Bowen's Molly Murphy Mysteries series. As of this post, the books available in this series, in order starting from the beginning, are:

Author's Sites:  Want to know more about the author?  Here is a list of Rhys Bowen's sites:
  :

In Dublin's Fair City (Molly Murphy Mysteries 6)

Friday, October 29, 2010

In Dublin's Fair City (A Molly Murphy Mystery)

:Teaser:
Daniel is now out of prison, but the police commissioner has refused to give him back his job.  Molly is happy that he is back, but she finds that his abundance of free time has made him unbearable to be around.  So, when she is hired by a high profile theatre impresario to locate someone in Ireland, she is relieved.  She jumps at the chance despite the potential dangers of entering the country she once fled.

:Short Thought:
The first few chapters in In Dublin's Fair City take place in New York, but the rest of the novel takes place in Ireland.  With the new setting come a new cast of characters, but it still has the same engaging magic that other books in this series have.

:Expanded Thoughts:
(No Spoilers)
Molly has been building a life in New York since fleeing from her native Ireland in the first novel.  So, it is easy to forget that Molly once lived another life.  The breadth of this book takes place in Ireland and provides tidbits about the life and people that she left behind.  By briefly returning to Ireland, it gives her a form of closure and reassures us that Molly's home is now truly in New York.    

This book concentrates on Molly.  It takes her away from her fabulous friends and her blue-eyed beau.  We get to see how living in America has changed her from the desperate, naive girl who left Ireland in Murphy's Law.  She reenters the country wearing a nice outfit, her head held high, and ready to investigate. 

Trouble and danger are never very far behind Molly, and they are particularly cunning and devious in this book.  She begins with one case--locating Tommy Burke's Irish relative.  As she begins to investigate the Burke family, the case takes on a life of its own.  Each new development was full of twists, unexpected turns, and great supporting characters.

I must admit that I read this book twice before I wrote this post.  (Thus the two week delay)  I didn't really like it the first time that I read it.  I was left quite frustrated, but I had totally different experience when I read it again.  I now love it, and I think that it is one of the strongest of the series.  It answered a lot of questions about Molly's past, and it had a special je ne sais quoi that was refreshing and unique to the series.

I have since figured out the reason why I didn't enjoy the book at first.  I was wearing Daniel and Molly "blinders," and this book concentrates on Molly.  I let that bias my opinion.

:Additional Notes:

Series Info:  In Dublin's Fair City is the sixth book in Rhys Bowen's Molly Murphy Mysteries series. As of this post, the books available in this series, in order starting from the beginning, are:

Author's Sites:  Want to know more about the author?  Here is a list of Rhys Bowen's sites:
  :

Oh Danny Boy (Molly Murphy Mysteries 5)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Oh Danny Boy (A Molly Murphy Mystery)

:Teaser:
Since Molly’s return to the city, she has concentrated on avoiding Daniel Sullivan and moving on with her life.  She is successful until one of his constables shows up at her door and forces her to see him.  Naturally, she is livid until she finds out that he has actually been in jail for a bogus, yet serious crime.  Upon seeing his pitiful state, she agrees to find the person responsible in order to prove his innocence.  She focuses on Daniel’s active cases to find clues.  Had someone wanted him off an investigation?  As she proceeds,  Molly gets entangled in the search for a dangerous serial killer, The Ripper, who has already claimed several female victims.

:Short Thought:
This is a great addition to the series!  Molly faces some of her toughest challenges, both personally and professionally, as she fights a system that is against her.  Our wonderful heroine is still a enjoy to follow.  As for the supporting characters, there are wonderful returning characters woven throughout the story as well as a couple of new delights.  As for the mystery, it keeps twisting, turning, and building until the very end.  Loved it!

:Expanded Thoughts:
[No Spoilers]
In Oh Danny Boy, Molly is put through a mountain of tests.  Her investigative skills are pushed to the limit as well as her heart.   Molly is stretched so thin that she even allows Sid and Gus to do some of her detective work.  (It was to the sheer delight of the pair and the mild horror of Molly.)  Every break in her investigation brings about more questions and more possible connections.  A reader can't help but notice desperation slowly creeping into Ms. Murphy as her mind is ever haunted by the image of Daniel suffering in a cage.

Each of the previous novels treats the reader to a slice of the setting's culture.  As Molly's investigation progresses, she is constantly being led to Coney Island.  We are also given a glimpse into how the criminal system may have been from both sides.  We are “taken” into the Medical Examiner’s office, the prison, and the Public Defender's office.  We're also given a closer look into the system's devastating effect on an accused through Daniel and the ruin of his social support and career. 

On a brighter note, a big highlight of the novel was the introduction of a new character—Police Matron Sabella Goodwin.  Sabella Goodwin is actually based on a real woman.  (There is an author note at the end of the book that tells more about her.)  In the book, she acts as a role model and confidante.  Molly trusts her completely and tells her things that she wouldn't dream of revealing to anyone else.  She is also the first person since Paddy Riley from whom Molly can learn.  She finally has a female friend with whom she can relate on a professional level as well as a personal level.

Oh Danny Boy was a real treat!  I was a bit concerned before I started reading, because In Like Flynn was so great.  I thought that this one would pale in comparison.  I was wrong.  It had Molly back with the same magnetic and witty personality that makes everyone want to keep reading.

:Additional Notes:

Series Info:  Oh Danny Boy is the fifth book in Rhys Bowen's Molly Murphy Mysteries series. As of this post, the books available in this series, in order starting from the beginning, are:

Author's Sites:  Want to know more about the author?  Here is a list of Rhys Bowen's sites:
  :

In Like Flynn (Molly Murphy Mysteries 4)

Monday, August 2, 2010

In Like Flynn (Molly Murphy Mysteries)


:Teaser:
Lately, the city is not being too kind to Ms. Murphy.  Her love life is strained, and she has inadvertently put herself on the bad side of a local gang. So, when Daniel offers her an undercover job across the Hudson River, Molly jumps at the chance.  The job is to expose two well known mediums as frauds while posing as a distant Irish cousin of the family that hired them.  But that isn't only the mystery that Molly encounters.  Not long before, the family's young son was kidnapped and believed to be buried alive, but a body was never found.  Behind Daniel's back, Molly has promised another client to find out the truth about what really happened to the young boy.  As Molly's begins uncovering the family's hidden secrets, it becomes apparent that someone will do anything to keep the truth hidden.


:Short Thought:
This novel took Molly out of her new home in the city and placed her in the quiet countryside.  It was delightful and refreshing to see Molly dig out the truth from a whole new crowd.  It was definitely my favorite of the series thus far.  It had a mystery full of murder, dark family secrets, and political agendas. 

:Expanded Thoughts:
(No Spoilers)
As I've said in earlier reviews of this series, each book seems to focus on one element, or place, in old New York Society.  (slums, Greenwich Village, garment industry, etc)  This novel's focus is on the slower-paced lifestyle right outside of the city.  Here, the social circles are smaller, but the houses are much bigger. It seems that everyone knows everyone, and there is a layer of dark secrets and agendas under all the politeness and beautiful scenery.  Molly is given a rare opportunity to break into the Flynns', the wealthy family with whom she is staying, world at a higher level of familiarity as she poses as the husband's distant Irish cousin whom no one has actually ever met.  Some of the family members immediately trust her, and this gives the reader a front seat show into the peculiar minds of these socially isolated wealthy.

Molly's detective skills are on full display in In Like Flynn, and there is much apparent improvement.  (I still remember that botched divorce case in the previous novel.  Quel désastre!)  She is thrown into a situation in which she knows no one, except what she has read in documents provided by the police for the medium case, and she must maintain her cover while conducting an investigation.  It is quite a tall order, but Molly shines as always as she gets them to trust and confide in her.

Over the first three novels, Molly's love life has been slowly developing with the introduction of Jacob and Daniel's socialite fiance.  In this fourth novel, each man falls short when it comes to their treatment of Molly.  Jacob isn't as comfortable with being open about their relationship as he led her to believe, and Daniel still won't shake that snobby fiance off off his arm.  The "trip" to the country gives her a welcome retreat from their false promises. She leaves all the love drama behind when she crosses that river and shows, for the first time since the beginning of the first novel, that she can do very well investigating and living on her own. 

:Additional Notes:
In Like Flynn is the fourth book in Rhys Bowen's Molly Murphy Mysteries series. As of this post, the books available in this series, in order starting from the beginning, are:

For The Love of Mike (Molly Murphy Mysteries 3)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

For the Love of Mike (Molly Murphy Mysteries) 

:Teaser:
Having taken over Paddy Riley's private investigation business, Molly has finally begun her life as a real private investigator.  She lands her first big undercover job when the owner of a large garment factory hires her to find out which one of his workers is spying for the competition. Not long after she enters the factory posing as a new hire, she receives a job locating a young society woman who ran away to America to marry her beau.  Business is going well for Molly until these two jobs collide, and she finds herself in serious danger once again.

:Short Thought:
For the Love of Mike shows the living and working conditions for factory women of this time period from a unique and interesting perspective and weaves it brilliantly into a wonderfully paced mysterious plot with interesting characters.

:Expanded Thoughts:
(Minor Spoilers)

Each book in this series goes into a specific aspect of New York culture. In For the Love of Mike, the female factory worker's life is explored.  The reader is shown firsthand what the working environment was like--the smell, appearance, and people.  The books also shows the desperate life these women live while trying to surivive on ridiculously low wages and long hours.

This novel also touched on the early formations of female labor unions. Jacob Singer, new aquaintance of Molly, works with an organization that aids in initiating strikes, negotiating with unsavory bosses, and forming labor unions.  Two such situations are shown in the book, and it was fascinating.  Though, I must say that I find it hard to believe that matters could be resolved as quickly as in the book.  (I don't know about this period of history so I may be completely off.)  Modern day strikes and labor negotiations take months and months.  Reading about it was still enjoyable if not too believable.

As told in the last book in this series, Molly's love life is less than ideal.  She has been left waiting for Daniel to break off his engagement to the beautiful and wealthy Arabella for quite awhile.  Daniel seems content to move at a dead snail's pace to remedy the situation and truly takes Molly's feelings for granted.  That is, until the introduction of another suitor for Ms. Murphy--Jacob Singer.  Jacob Singer is a Jewish photographer that works with an organization to get better working conditions for women in the city.  Instead of using his photography to make lots of money, he uses it to expose the wrongs in the city.  He would rather help others than get caught up in ambition, and Molly finds him a very refreshing departure from Daniel.  Daniel finally starts to fear that he may be losing Molly if he doesn't get his situation straightened out.

As I've just finished the 3rd book in this series, I think I can finally say that this is one of my favorite mystery series!  It really has the perfectly balanced "recipe."  I say this because this is the first mystery series that I have read that has the story drive the characters and not the other way around.  For example, there is a great love story in here, but it doesn't overpower the story nor is the story dull without it.  I just find it refreshing when so many mystery books are filled with raunchy sex scenes and shoddy mystery plots.  Molly Murphy Mysteries is a great series, and everything is done tastefully and brilliantly.  I can't wait to read the next one!

:Additional Notes:
For the Love of Mike is the third book in Rhys Bowen's Molly Murphy Mysteries series. As of this post, the books available in this series, in order starting from the beginning, are:

Death Of Riley (Molly Murphy Mysteries 2)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

 Death of Riley (Molly Murphy Mysteries) 
Death of Riley
 (Rhys Bowen)


:Teaser:
Despite having a string of sensational job failures, Molly is still determined to be self-reliant.  She has no shortage of motivations--her once wonderful living arrangement has become unbearable, the object of her affection has been less than truthful, and no one is taking her seriously.  Molly finally catches a break when she convinces a seasoned private investigator, Paddy Riley, to hire her as his housekeeper.  A few days later when she arrives at the office to tidy up, Molly walks into find Mr. Riley dead at his desk.  What's even worse is that the killer is still there when she arrives and sees her face.  She knows the situation is dangerous, but feels that she owes it to Mr. Riley to find his killer.

:Short Thought:
Though I thoroughly enjoyed the first novel in this series, it pales in comparison to this one.  The characters are even more interesting, the mystery is even more shocking and elaborate, and Molly shines even brighter.

:Expanded Thoughts:
(No Spoilers)
The focus of the setting in Death of Riley is on Greenwich Village and the delightful, unique characters that live there.  It is a far departure from the slum-like parts of the city on which the first novel focused. Greenwich village is full of delightful pubs and coffee houses that act as centers of great dialogues about art and social progression.  This unpretentious and forgiving place allows people to be expressive without fear of being offensive.  It is the first place that Molly feels like she belongs.

Molly is a stubborn, unconventional force of nature, but she met her match in her new friends from Greenwich Village. She meets the unforgettable Sid and Gus in a pub during her investigation.  They are two women that truly care what no one thinks of their quirky and unconventional ways.  Most importantly, they are the first people that really accept Molly for who she is and encourage her to achieve her goals.  Frequently with them is another notable character--the handsome Ryan O'Hare.  He is a flamboyant Irish playwright and the most charming person Molly has ever seen. She is instantly drawn to him and is all too happy to investigate when he becomes a person of interest in her investigation.

I loved the first novel (Murphy's Law), but I have to say Sid, Gus, and Ryan really take it to a whole new level of enjoyment. 

:Additional Notes:
Death of Riley is the second book in Rhys Bowen's Molly Murphy Mysteries series. As of this post, the books available in this series, in order starting from the beginning, are:

Murphy's Law (Molly Murphy Mysteries 1)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Murphy's Law (Molly Murphy Mysteries)

:Teaser:
Molly is on the run from authorities in Ireland for a murder she committed in self-defense. Just when she thought that her luck was running out, she finds a way onto a ship that is traveling across the ocean to New York City. Unfortunately when she arrives she is greeted by more trouble.  A man that Molly was seen fighting with on the ship is brutally murdered and all the evidence points to her as being involved.  To clear her name, she must find the real murderer or risk being sent back to Ireland.

:Short Thought:
Gives the reader a window into early 1900s New York City through the eyes of the ever-witty Molly Murphy.  Great mystery with wonderful characters.  I loved it!

:Expanded Thoughts:
(No Spoilers)

Let me first say that I know next to nothing about this period of American history (early 1900s), the city of New York, (other than what I've seen on Law & Order), or Irish History. So, I can't really say much about the historical elements or the portrayal of the city in the novel or the historical accuracy or anything of the like. All I can say is, despite my blaring ignorance, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and was excited to learn more about these things while immersing myself in a great storyline.

Murphy's Law has a great cast of characters. The star at the center is Miss Molly Murphy. She is a true force of nature and is decades ahead of her time. She is truly delightful and makes makes each scene pop with very refreshing energy as she faces the issues of this period head-on. Molly adds dimension to the setting of the novel. Using her, New York City is shown through the eyes of a true newcomer. It is a huge contrast from Molly's country Irish home. She shares her experience as she stands in awe of the sights that come with this fast-developing place and struggles to make her way.  It is a city that never sleeps and a place full of new opportunities and dangers.

If, like me, you don't really know anything about this period or city, you don't need to worry because Molly and the people she meets makes this a wonderful, engaging mystery.


:Additional Notes:

Murphy's Law is the first book in Rhys Bowen's Molly Murphy Mysteries series. As of this post, the other books available in this series, in order, are:

Clockwork Heart

Friday, June 25, 2010

Clockwork Heart

:Teaser:
    Taya serves as an Icarus, a metal winged courier, in Yeovil. Yeovil is split into sectors that have their own unique castes and cultures. On the day of her sister's wedding, she hurries to deliver her last package of the day. On her way, she prevents a major accident from claiming the lives of two very important people--the wife and child of a very high profile official. This changes her life as she gets swept up in the dangerous and peculiar affairs of the high-class.

:Short Thought:
Great unique setting. Perfectly paced adventure mystery. Wonderful, well-developed characters. Definitely one of my favorites!

:Expanded Thoughts:
(No Spoilers)
In Clockwork Heart, the author creates a unique setting that on the surface is nothing like our own. Through it, the author gives us a unique way in which to explore several social topics, and one cannot help but draw inward and environmental comparisons.  In Yeovil, the country where it takes place, there are strict social castes and peculiar customs that are brought to life by a cast of very enjoyable characters to whom it is easy to relate.

Taya's, the main character, country is split into very segregate and socially immobile sectors.  Each sector has its own unique characteristics that have been shaped by its residents.  The skilled laborers of the low class mainly reside in Tertius whose air is filled smoke and whose building tops are covered with soot and other debris.  For the Exalted of the high class, there is the beautiful capital sector, Onidinium, which is a stark contrast to the dirty streets of Tertius.  Other than their place of residence, customs are in place that further distinguish the members of the classes, such as, clothing, manner of speech, and color of hair and skin.

Very rarely do people pass between the sectors, but there are a couple exceptions.  The Lictors (police) and the Icarii (winged couriers) have the privilege of being outside of this strict structure.  (Though, they still have to treat the Exalted with extra care and respect.) Their occupations require them to perform duties for all citizens within the different sectors without prejudice. 

The setting was undeniably one of the things I loved about the story, but the main reason I keep reading this over and over is the characters and their interactions.  The author does a great job at developing the characters throughout and having each to have unique inner dilemmas. No character ends up the same as they started. Or, in more dramatic fashion: nothing is ever as is seems.

Taya is in an interesting position as the main character.  She was born of low class parents and worked hard to become an Icarus, thus moving up a level on the social ladder.  Even after she gets her new position, she still has the rules of her upbringing engraved into her mind.  She is very conscious of  social appearances and still uses strict manners in front of the exalted.  This slowly begins to change after the Exalted woman she saves invites her to a formal dance and gives her an opening into the lives of this exclusive class.  This begins to change her view as what she sees isn't a group of divine beings above reproach, but people that are painfully human.  Through this she gives the reader a unique perspective into this society that few in the story could.

This is further explored through the interactions between Taya and the Forlore brothers--Alister and Cristof.  Alister is the exalted younger brother who took a position as an official in the government.  He is very charming and revels in his high status.  Cristof has left the exalted life and all of its perks behind and opened a clock maker's shop in one of the seedier parts of town.   His sour attitude and lack of manners reflects his disheveled outward appearance.  Through them, Taya begins to learn that there is much more to people than their appearance and social status.  There is always something lurking beneath the surface, and sometimes it turns out to be very dangerous.
CopyRight © Jenn SWT | Theme Designed By Hello Manhattan