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Molly Murphy has just been given a get out of jail free card. Running because she's accidentally killed a man, she's offered the chance to take a woman's place on a boat bound for America. Once on board, she encounters a rude man and has a very public fight with him. When that man is murdered on Ellis Island, Molly finds herself and a new friend among the chief suspects. Frightened she might be sent back to face the hangman, she decides to find the real killer on her own. But can this new arrival find the killer in New York City when she doesn't know her way around and doesn't know anyone?
Molly is a head strong character who leaps first and considers the consequences later. It was fun watching her try to get herself out of several sticky situations. The setting, 1901 New York City, is brought to life, and I enjoyed learning a bit more about the time and place. My only real complaint is that the book took a while to get started. The plot starts slowly, but it picks up speed as it goes along.
As a fan of this author's Constable Evans books, I'm looking forward to reading more about Molly as well. There is potential here for another great series with another interesting setting. Write on, Ms. Bowen!
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on 6 May 2004
First of all let me point out that this book has nothing to do with the well known Murphy's Law :)
Although the mystery part of the plot is not extremely elaborated, this book is worth reading. The author describes New York in the times were the Irish were immigrating to the city in a way that keeps you intersted throughout the book.
Very good choice for light reading!
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on 1 September 2011
I'm currently on a British Mysteries kick so I was not looking to spend any time in America but the opening lines of this book grabbed me straight away. Molly Murphy is a strong and admirable character and is constantly fighting for her right to peace and freedom. I was gripped by the plight of the British 'lower class' immigrants and the poor conditions they had to endure. I was outraged at the treatment they received at the hands of those paid to 'process' them into the New World in New York and I despised the double standards brought about by money and class. I was also charmed by the protagonist's determination and wit and the humanity that is extended to those in need.

Rhys Bowen made this novel seem real and educated me about the conditions of immigrants in turn-of-the-centry New York, something that I knew very little about. The murder mystery was well handled but the charm of the novel is the main characters and the adversity that Molly faces and over which she ultimately triumphs. I look forward to reading more in the series and I highly recommend this for fans of mystery series. I found it well-written, realistically drawn and highly entertaining.
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This is the first in a series of period mysteries introducing Molly Murphy, an enterprising, turn of the twentieth century Irish woman who comes to America to escape the law in Ireland, having committed a serious crime in self-defense. Set in the early 1900s, the book is replete with period detail. Those who enjoy mysteries and historical fiction will find much to enjoy in this Agatha Award winning novel.

When Molly arrives in America, she immediately comes under the scrutiny of law enforcement, as a fellow passenger, with whom she had had a public argument, is murdered on Ellis Island. She meets Captain Daniel Sullivan in the process, and her Irish charm makes an indelible impression upon him.

Molly manages to leave Ellis Island under her own steam but, wary that she might be a suspect, she is determined to find the killer on her own. Her search takes her through various New York neighborhoods, all with a flavor of their own. She also gets to know Captain Daniel Sullivan a bit better, and the sparks fly.

This book certainly held my interest and made me want to read the other books in this series. With a well-plotted storyline, a host of interesting characters, and a plucky, intelligent heroine, this appears to be a promising series of books. Molly Murphy is a character that is here to stay.
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on 21 August 2015
Not great literature of course, but smoothly written and skilfully structured. Very entertaining.
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