Review by Booklist Review
Nimble of plot and fleet in the telling, Bowen's latest begins a new series starring the plucky Molly Murphy. Hiding her fiery red hair but not her audacious ways, Molly escapes from her Irish village after inadvertently causing the death of the young laird who tried to rape her. She finds herself in possession of a steerage ticket to New York and the custody of two small children when the kids' consumptive mother begs her to deliver the youngsters to their father in New York. The passage to America and the tumultuous events of Ellis Island, where another murder takes place, are vividly described, as is Molly's negotiation of the Cherry Street Irish ghetto, Hell's Kitchen, and the children's overwhelmed Da and his unsavory relatives. Run-ins with the police and Tammany Hall are only a few of Molly's adventures. The murder is solved in unorthodox ways, Molly finds love and work, and there's promise of more adventures. History-mystery fans should add Molly to their lists of characters to follow. --GraceAnne A. DeCandido
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
In Bowen's second Molly Murphy adventure (after 2001's Agatha-winning Murphy's Law), the spirited Irish immigrant is determined to bring a killer to justice and, in doing so, break all the rules for proper young ladies amid 1901 New York City society. As Molly's beau, Daniel Sullivan, New York's youngest police captain, informs her, "women do not become investigators." Molly attempts to follow Daniel's advice rather than her own desires by taking a more appropriate position as companion to an elderly lady friend of the Sullivan family. The job is short-lived when Molly learns that her Daniel is already engaged to the old lady's niece. But the fury of the woman scorned spurs her to pursue her own dream, and she lands a job with PI Paddy Riley. Also short-lived is her new employer, as Molly barely escapes death when she interrupts Paddy's murderer searching his office. The police show little interest in solving the case, making Molly doubly committed to solving the crime on her own. Molly's hunt leads her to Greenwich Village's artsy community and results in her posing as a nude model. Bowen nicely blends history and fiction as she whisks Molly into a plot involving anarchists and even the assassination of President McKinley. This light romantic mystery should please most cozy fans. (Dec. 16) FYI: Bowen is also the author of Evans to Betsy (Forecasts, Feb. 18) and five other novels in her mystery series featuring Welsh constable Evan Evans. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Kirkus Book Review
Taking a sabbatical from her usual protagonist, Constable Evan Evans (Evanly Choirs, 1999, etc.), Bowen introduces a new sleuth in a 19th-century setting. Molly Murphy, living in Ballykillin village in Ireland, has just killed Justin, a son of the gentry, when he tried to rape her. Now she's on the run, planning to board a ship to England. At the dock, she's approached by Kathleen O'Conner, mother of two, hoping to board the Majestic to New York to join her husband Seamus. Unfortunately, the mandatory physical exam has revealed that Kathleen has tuberculosis, and she is forbidden from sailing. So she begs Molly to take her name and bring the children to their father. Naturally, Molly agrees with alacrity, and is soon caught up in the misery of an ocean trip in steerage-to say nothing of the unwelcome attentions of the brutish troublemaker O'Malley, who seems to have known the real Kathleen. After the landing at Ellis Island, O'Malley is found stabbed to death. Police detective Daniel Sullivan questions Molly, little knowing how deeply the murderer's identity is buried in past events and acts of betrayal. Molly is a charming if pushy heroine who eventually earns Sullivan's appreciation. The plot is perhaps too thick with red herrings, but the portrait of the ocean voyage, Ellis Island, and the early wave of Irish settlers in New York is fascinating.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.