This is #3 in the Molly Murphy mystery series and I continue to be entranced by the historical detail. What is really interesting to me is that in the three books in the series they all take place within the same year, yet there is a different emphasis, historically speaking, in each one (and, of course, a different mystery in each.) The first one was fascinating because of the details of Ellis Island and the crowded tenements and slums of the Lower East Side. In #2 we meet the characters of Greenwich Village-the artists and bohemians at the turn of the century. And now, in #3, we see the sweatshops of the garment industry filled with poor immigrant girls who are treated terribly and inhumanely. This volume also reveals even more of the corruption of the government and police force. Those injustices, combined with the sweatshop injustices, make it seem at once impossible that human beings ever thought it was appropriate to behave that way, and also impossible to believe that people were able to fight back and make change happen.
Molly’s romance with police detective Daniel Sullivan is still off-limits, leaving her open to a possible romance with Jacob Singer, a union organizer. She is still close friends with Sid and Gus, the wealthy Bohemian lesbians, and she is finally getting her “find your lost relatives in New York” business off the ground. When she takes on her first finding a person case it coincides with another case, which had a totally fascinating premise–fashion designs from one company are being sold to another company, who copies the designs and gets them on the market first. I was really intrigued by the sweatshop-garment industry-ready to wear fashions becoming readily available-fashion design-angle of this case.
Molly continues to be feisty and smart and brave/stupid. I was delighted when she got to finally tell the wretched Nuala what she really thought of her. Looking forward to #4, which I already have in the house!