>> Tuesday, May 8, 2012
For the Love of Mike by Rhys Bowen
Genre: Historical Mystery
Series: #3 in the Molly Murphy series
Publisher: St. Martin’s Minotaur
Publication Date: 2003
The Short Version:
In 1901 New York, Irish immigrant turned private detective Molly Murphy is struggling to make a success of her business but soon two cases have her busy and in danger.
Why I Read It:
A lighter historical mystery was a nice break from my recent more modern reads.
Molly Murphy is trying to make it as a private detective in 1901 New York. She’s finding it difficult for a variety of reasons. After getting hauled off to jail as a suspected prostitute when she was following a suspected errant husband she decides that this type of case is not going to earn her a living.
Soon she has two different cases. The owner of a sweatshop in the garment district hires her to find out who is stealing his designs and allowing his competition to beat him to the market with his own work. At the same time an English aristocrat living in Dublin hires her to track down his daughter. He’s sure that she and the stable hand have sailed to New York and hires Molly to find her.
Molly gets a job at the sweatshop and has to control her natural feistiness in order to be believable as one of the downtrodden girls. She finds herself targeted as a troublemaker both by the shop supervisor as well as the local gang.
I enjoy this series as much for Molly and the mysteries as I do for the setting. Bowen does a great job of depicting New York City and the lives of recent immigrants in turn of the century New York. The actual mystery part is rather light but the portrayal of the time and place are richly done. The lives of the immigrants, the gangs, the power of Tammany Hall.
I enjoy Molly as a protagonist and the recurring characters which include the family who helped her get to America and for whom she feels a deep responsibility. There are also the friends she’s made who are her introduction to the bohemian and artistic culture of New York.
What I have trouble with is the ongoing love interest for Molly. At this point in the series I find him annoying and I’m wishing Molly would move on. I have a feeling that’s not going to be the case though and I’ll have to see how this all plays out as the series continues.
All in all it’s a light and enjoyable series with interesting characters in an interesting setting.