Tuesday, March 8, 2016


Rhys Bowen has created a very engaging character with Molly Murphy - she’s smart, savvy and ofttimes fearless. Married to Daniel, a police captain in turn-of-the-century New York City and mother of toddler Liam, her days are never dull. Although this is the 16th story in Molly’s adventures it is fresh, new and exciting as the mystery almost takes second place to historical events. Also to Bowen’s credit she creates appealing secondary characters - always believable and usually surprising.

This time out we’re reminded that Daniel is unhappy working for corrupt superiors so is delighted when offered a secret mission by John Wilkie, head of the U.S. Secret Service. The task would be working for President Theodore Roosevelt and might well lead to something better. He’s not able to share his assignment with Molly but takes off for Washington leaving Molly fussing at not knowing what is going on but believing it is a good opportunity for Daniel.

As it happens a Mrs. Endicott comes to Molly saying she has seen her husband who is away on business on the East Coast in a movie news segment showing him in San Francisco. She asks Molly to accompany her to the film to corroborate what she has seen. To Molly’s surprise not only is Mr. Endicott supposedly in San Francisco but so is Daniel.

Next Molly receives a coded letter from Daniel which she believes is asking her to come to San Francisco. She immediately packs and along with Liam heads for California. On the train trip she meets Mr. Paxton, a cordial employee of the Metropolitan Opera who is also headed west to make arrangements for company members who will be singing with the great Enrico Caruso when he appears in San Francisco.

When she arrives at her destination she first goes to the police to find Daniel but is told he died in a fall off a cliff and has just been buried. How could this possibly be? Brave in the face of heartbreak yet persistent in finding the truth Molly has more than a few surprises in store - as does the reader.

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