DEATH OF RILEY: A Molly Murphy Mystery
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.