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In a Gilded Cage (Molly Murphy) by Rhys Bowen
Review by Beth Slater
St. Martin's Minotaur Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780312385347
Date: 17 March 2009 List Price $24.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

In the early 1900s, New York City continues its struggle as the melting pot of the world in Bowen's 8th mystery featuring Irish immigrant Molly Murphy, a female private investigator. We have followed Molly's struggles to stay on her feet as she landed on Ellis Island and into the arms of Capt. Daniel Sullivan as murder suspect number one, running from her past in Ireland like many of her shipmates. But now Molly is settled into her house and running her own business, her life her own. And since Daniel was back in the good graces of the police department she hardly saw him anymore since crime rates were astronomical lately the epidemic of influenza that even Molly had succumbed to was driving the populace to drastic measures. But with her lungs barely recovered from her recent bout with the flu, Molly finds herself in a cell again after a parade march for women's suffrage not the best way to catch Daniel's attention!

Luckily word passes to Daniel quickly about the incident and all of the Vassar women from the march are released but Molly's networking has been accomplished. Despite her slight flu relapse, she does pick up the case of Emily Boswell, a pharmacist's assistant (handy for dispensing prescription aspirin), who asks Molly to investigate the death of her Protestant missionary parents and find out the truth about Emily's past. Emily suspects that her uncle hasn't been forthright with her and maybe withholding her inheritance, but simply wants to know the facts.

In the true spirit of networking, Molly picks up another case while working with Emily she meets Emily's former roommate from college, Fanny Poindexter, who secretly hires Molly to find out who her husband is philandering with behind her back so that she may divorce him and leave him without her family money. Despite Molly's distaste for such cases she agrees, but before she is able to report back to Fanny in person, Fanny dies and it is attributed to the epidemic! When another Vassar girlfriend dies, police are convinced it is the illness spreading, but Molly and Emily are convinced that foul play is at hand, if only they can separate fiction from fact before its too late before they, too, become a statistic.

Much better! I am much happier with Molly and Daniel this time around Bowen's mysteries are always well-written and set, with great character development, but I couldn't stand Daniel and couldn't understand why Molly was still in love with him. Now, they are communicating!!! I can't give it all away, but I am much more impressed with their relationship in this book, and I look forward to seeing where they are headed from here. There will never be a smooth path, but then there wouldn't be much of a story to tell, would there?

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