In Dublin's Fair City (Molly Murphy)
by Rhys Bowen
Cover Artist: Woman by Shirley Green; Ship by Everett Historical / Shutterstock;
Water by Itsra Sanprasert / Shutterstock; Island by Gary John Norman.
Review by Beth Slater
Minotaur Books Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781250091802
Date: 31 May 2016 List Price $15.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
[Editor's Note: This review was originally published in our March 207 issue and is of the hardcover edition.]
We return to New York City in the early 1900s to find Molly Murphy, private investigator, struggling with internal and external issues. She and her lover Daniel are on edge, awaiting Daniel's trial and/or exoneration from multiple crimes, which is causing them to review their feelings for one another and their relationship. Molly is also working to keep her private investigative agency alive, but cases are few and far between. When Molly's friend Ryan introduces her to self-made New York theater mogul Tommy Burke, she decides that Tommy's case is just the thing for her. She needs the money, and she also could use the break from her current situation – the case is in Ireland.
We follow the 6th installment of Molly's life in New York straight back to Ireland, the land she fled as a wanted criminal two years prior, after almost killing a man who attacked her. Molly decides that she is safe enough to return with a common name and to a different area of Ireland unannounced - until her plan flies out the porthole. Upon boarding the ship, she is approached by famous actress, Oona Sheehan, with a strange request - to replace Oona on the ship so that Oona may have a respite from her own fame. Molly agrees, thinking it not much of a hardship to stay in a first class cabin for a week. However, after 6 days at sea, Molly decides to attend the costume party anonymously only to return to the cabin to find her maid dead - in the other costume she'd tried on.
Molly's ruse as Oona is exposed, but she remains a suspect even as she lands on her home soil to pursue her own case. She is nostalgic, but aware of her status change as she tries to move amongst the people she used to live with. As she follows the leads for Tommy's case, she somehow manages to become entwined with many (now) well-known names and with the Irish Republican movement, unknowingly making herself a mark for murder.
Bowen's work doesn't disappoint, and she is a master storyteller who is able to keep the reader guessing. However, I highly suggest reading her previous Molly novels in order to catch all the back history and nuances that are inherent in Molly's return to Ireland, not to mention her history with Daniel Sullivan.
Thank you, Rhys, for another wonderful mystery featuring America's favorite immigrant investigator!