Molly Murphy is in trouble. Deciding to flee Ireland in order to avoid prosecution, Molly is able to secure a spot on the next boat out. Leaving in haste, Molly finds that she is able to assume the identity of Kathleen O’Connor, a mother of two children. Seriously ill, Kathleen will not be allowed to enter America. Knowing her time on earth is short, she passes her ticket to Molly, entrusting her to care for her children during the voyage. Molly’s task is to safely deliver them to their father who has gone ahead to find employment in the land of opportunity.
And the story escalates from there, as Molly is caught up investigating a murder that occurs on Ellis Island. She experiences one adventure after another in her attempt to discover the perpetrator of the crime so that Michael, whom she befriended on the voyage, can go free.
I had not picked up any of Rhys Bowen’s mysteries and decided to start with this one, the first in the Molly Murphy series. And I found that I really liked it!
I found myself really appreciating the author’s portrayal of the heroine. Far from being meek and subservient, Molly is not afraid to speak up for herself (although she intelligently restrains her remarks when necessary), and goes to great lengths to clear her friend. Even though there are a couple of unpleasant situations, there is nothing graphic or stomach-churning in this cosy mystery.
A fast-moving and fun read, I enjoyed this first book in the Murphy series by the author, even with a few predictable scenes thrown in. For the most part, the book was very well done and opened my eyes to the plight of the poor immigrants who arrived in the early twentieth century with little money or jobs to sustain them.
“Listen, Molly, you have to understand how New York works. Tammany Hall calls the shots. They make life easy for the police and we turn a blind eye on each other. It’s not ideal, I agree, but that’s how it is. Any policeman who went after a Tammany man would be digging his own grave…”
“Then this is a corrupt city,” I said.
“No more than any other city, I’d imagine. And it’s a good city, too. My parents came over here, starving in the Great Famine. When Tammany came to power, my dad became a policeman. He rose through the ranks and earned enough to send me to Columbia University. That’s the good thing about life over here, it doesn’t matter what you start out as, you have the chance to rise above it.”