Friday, March 16

In Dublin's Fair City by Rhys Bowen

Review by Theodore Feit


Molly Murphy fled Ireland two years before, 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 backstory from the previous five novels in the serires. 


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 the actress left the ship before it departed, leaving five trunks behind. < /P>


Upon arriving in Ireland, Molly finds the trunks in her hotel room.  She begins her investigation and learns 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 complicated.  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 i s 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 the police suspect her of various crimes.  It all comes to an exciting end, perhaps the most unusual in the series, and one you shouldn't miss.


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