For The Love of Mike (Molly Murphy Mysteries 3)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

For the Love of Mike (Molly Murphy Mysteries) 

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)

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:
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