Murphy’s Law by Rhys Bowen

I enjoyed the Royal Spyness books so much that I decided to try out another one of her series-the Molly Murphy mysteries.  Just put down book one, and I loved it!

Just like the Royal Spyness books it had wonderful historical detail.  In this case what impressed me so much was the (presumably) accurate and descriptive details of finding passage to New York City as an Irish immigrant, being processed through Ellis Island, and then finding lodging and a job on the Lower East Side. You know, I’m not sure if they ever say exactly what year it is, but I guess turn of the century.  Tammany Hall and corruption play a big part in the story.

Molly is from a village in Ireland, but finds her way to America when she takes a dying woman’s place, so that the woman’s children might be reunited with their father.  Posing as Kathleen O’Connor Molly stays with the children.  They must spend the night on Ellis Island and it’s there that Molly is witness to (though doesn’t realize it at the time) a murderer.  Her one friend from the ship is under suspicion, as is she, and she is determined to find out who the real killer is.

Man, NYC at the turn of the century, for a poor immigrant, sounds horrible.  The descriptions were so vivid I could imagine how awful it would be to be living in a tiny room with several other people, sleeping on the floor, a straight chair, or boards, and washing up at a communal sink, several flights down.  Dirty, crowded, noisy.  I also kept thinking how amazing it was the amount of detective work they could do without the modern conveniences we have (although they did have telephones.)

Molly is funny and smart and resourceful and I look forward to reading more about her and the police captain, Daniel.

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