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Thursday, 9 June 2016

‘In Dublin’s Fair City’ By Rhys Bowen

Published by Minotaur Books,
31 May 2016.
ISBN: 978-1-250-09180-2 (PB)

Molly Murphy fled Ireland two years before the action in this entry in the series, fearful of arrest for the murder of her employer’s son.  She came to New York City in 1909, made friends, met Captain Dan Sullivan of the Police Department in a somewhat romantic way and opened a detective agency.  So much for the previous five novels in this series.

In this book she meets a rich show producer at a party atop the original Madison Square Garden.  He offers her an assignment to return to Ireland to discover whether his baby sister, left behind because she was ill when the family fled the Emerald Isle during the potato famine, survived.  The producer is a very rich man with no real heirs, and his finding her would benefit the sister if she still exists.

With trepidation, Molly accepts the job.  However, as she puts it:  She doesn’t seek trouble, but it has a way of finding her.  And it does.  Molly begins her assignment with a second class passage on a transatlantic steamer.  Before she can even unpack, she is summoned to the first class cabin of a famous actress, who she also met at the party, asking her to switch cabins and identities, including a maid, so the actress could avoid attention.  On the last day of the voyage, Molly discovers the maid dead in “her” bed, suffocated.  Suspicion is cast on Molly when it is found that the actress left the ship before it departed, leaving five trunks behind.

Upon arriving in Ireland, Molly finds the trunks in her hotel room.  She begins her investigation and learns that the young girl she seeks indeed survived, but each lead turns out to be a dead end.  Meanwhile she receives instructions to forward the trunks to a hotel in Dublin, where Molly eventually visits.  There she inspects the trunks and sees rifles, presumably for the Irish Brotherhood.  At this point the plot becomes omplicated.  When a few men come to remove the trunks, one of them is Molly’s brother.  Because of her recognition of him as he flees, she is kidnapped by the Brotherhood and learns that her older brother is in jail awaiting execution.  Molly volunteers to assist the Brotherhood in attacking the jail in the hopes of freeing her brother and other prisoners.  Meanwhile she is being stalked by someone for some unknown purpose.  And she still fears that the police suspect her of various crimes.  It all comes to an exciting end, perhaps the most unusual in the series to this point, and one you shouldn’t miss.  It is, obviously, recommended.
Reviewer:Theodore Feit

Rhys Bowen now lives in California, although she was born in Bath, but her mother's family comes from Wales. Hence her first mystery series featured a Welsh police constable (the Constable Evans Mysteries of which there are 10. She currently write two series: The Molly Murphy mysteries set in 1900s New York City, featuring an Irish immigrant woman, and the lighter Royal Spyness Mysteries about a minor royal in 1930s England. She's Lady Georgiana, 34th in line to the throne, but completely penniless. These have been described by Booklist as "a smashing romp."  Rhys won 9 awards including Agatha, Anthony and MacAvity.
When not writing Rhys loves to travel, hike, sing, play her Celtic harp and generally enjoy lie.

Ted and Gloria Feit live in Long Beach, NY, a few miles outside New York City.  For 26 years, Gloria was the manager of a medium-sized litigation firm in lower Manhattan. Her husband, Ted, is an attorney and former stock analyst, publicist and writer/editor for, over the years, several daily, weekly and monthly publications.  Having always been avid mystery readers, and since they're now retired, they're able to indulge that passion.  Their reviews appear online as well as in three print publications in the UK and US.  On a more personal note: both having been widowed, Gloria and Ted have five children and nine grandchildren between them.

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