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Murphy's Law by Rhys Bowen
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Murphy's Law (2001)

by Rhys Bowen

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7233718,700 (3.71)35

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Molly Murphy
4 Stars

On the run from the law, Molly Murphy escapes her native Ireland for the promise of 19th century New York. Unfortunately, trouble follows in Molly’s footsteps when a man with whom she had an altercation onboard ship is murdered at Ellis Island and she must use her sharp wits and Irish charm to clear her name.

The excellent historical background and vivacious heroine make up for the rather lackluster who-dun-it.

Despite its potential the mystery is underdeveloped. There are too few clues to go on and the resolution is achieved far too easily after being based on a series of lucky coincidences rather than any real investigative ability on Molly’s part.

Nevertheless, Molly is a wonderful heroine. While other readers are often ticked off by stubborn and willful characters, they are one of my favorite types and Molly epitomizes these traits alongside other endearing qualities such as intelligence, spirit and a certain amount of naïveté about the realities of immigrant life. The hints at a romance to come with the intrepid Detective Daniel Sullivan adds nuance both the the characterization and the story as a whole.

The historical detail on the Irish in New York at the turn of the century is fascinating and the descriptions of the immigrant experiences of Ellis Island, Hell’s Kitchen and the Bowery for the Jews, Italians, Germans, and Irish who flocked to America makes for compelling listening.

Nicola’s Barbers narration is out of this world and her Irish brogue is both immersive and a pleasure to listen to. Looking forward to continuing with the series and will look into Rhys Bowen’s Royal Spyness series as well. ( )
  Lauren2013 | May 24, 2018 |
When spirited redhead Molly Murphy commits a murder in self defense she must flee from her family's home in Ireland. Molly meets Kathleen O'Connor and her two children Seamus and Birdie who are getting ready to set sail to America. When Kathleen asks Molly to take the kids on the ship to America and deliver them to their father, since she was diagnosed with tuberculosis she won't be allowed on the ship or into America. The four of them make their way to the dock where the ship is Kathleen tells the kids that she forgot her ticker at home but that Molly will take them to their father since she doesn't want them to know she is sick.

When the ship sails into New York Harbor, with the majestic Statue of Liberty providing comfort and inspiration, Molly's sure that her whole life is in front of her. But there's one last hurdle to clear: Ellis Island. She's just one of thousands of immigrants, awaiting their fate with anxiety and hope. Unfortunately, before Molly, Seamus, and Birdie are able to leave the island, a man is brutally murdered in the men's dorm. Coincidence's and fate make Molly a suspect in a crime that she didn't commit. Under a cloud of suspicion, and growing mutual attraction between Molly and the handsome police captain Daniel Sullivan who's in charge of the case. She's allowed to leave Ellis Island for Manhattan where she reunites the children with their father. Unfortunately, she's on a mission that she couldn't have anticipated and that's to clear her own name of murder. Alone in a new country with no one to lean on, Molly hits the vibrant streets of New York intent on finding out what really happened.

The mystery has plenty of suspects and twists and turns which get wrapped up in a surprising way. Molly is a smart engaging character who uses her brain to figure things out, instead of being a damsel in distress type. I like that when Molly finds an apartment with more space than she needs she wants to give Seamus, Birdie, and their father also named Seamus one of the rooms so they don't have to live in a crowded apartment in a dangerous part of town. The way that Molly and Daniel interact with each other throughout the book you can see the beginning of a relationship starting to bloom. ( )
  FaytheShattuck | May 23, 2018 |
When spirited redhead Molly Murphy commits a murder in self defense she must flee from her family's home in Ireland. Molly meets Kathleen O'Connor and her two children Seamus and Birdie who are getting ready to set sail to America. When Kathleen asks Molly to take the kids on the ship to America and deliver them to their father, since she was diagnosed with tuberculosis she won't be allowed on the ship or into America. The four of them make their way to the dock where the ship is Kathleen tells the kids that she forgot her ticker at home but that Molly will take them to their father since she doesn't want them to know she is sick.

When the ship sails into New York Harbor, with the majestic Statue of Liberty providing comfort and inspiration, Molly's sure that her whole life is in front of her. But there's one last hurdle to clear: Ellis Island. She's just one of thousands of immigrants, awaiting their fate with anxiety and hope. Unfortunately, before Molly, Seamus, and Birdie are able to leave the island, a man is brutally murdered in the men's dorm. Coincidence's and fate make Molly a suspect in a crime that she didn't commit. Under a cloud of suspicion, and growing mutual attraction between Molly and the handsome police captain Daniel Sullivan who's in charge of the case. She's allowed to leave Ellis Island for Manhattan where she reunites the children with their father. Unfortunately, she's on a mission that she couldn't have anticipated and that's to clear her own name of murder. Alone in a new country with no one to lean on, Molly hits the vibrant streets of New York intent on finding out what really happened.

The mystery has plenty of suspects and twists and turns which get wrapped up in a surprising way. Molly is a smart engaging character who uses her brain to figure things out, instead of being a damsel in distress type. I like that when Molly finds an apartment with more space than she needs she wants to give Seamus, Birdie, and their father also named Seamus one of the rooms so they don't have to live in a crowded apartment in a dangerous part of town. The way that Molly and Daniel interact with each other throughout the book you can see the beginning of a relationship starting to bloom. ( )
  FaytheShattuck | May 23, 2018 |
Molly Murphy is a strong female character who I believe is at least a little anachronistic. She stands up for herself, she goes places where no respectable woman of her time would go, she deceives and spies and infiltrates. And she's completely likeable. In fact, she comes across not as a conniver or instigator, but as an advocate and supporter. Set in the early 1900s Murphy's Law tells the story of Ms. Murphy after she flees her native Ireland to live in New York City. This books fits in the genre I like to call Murder Lite. Someone has died, in a very violent way, but instead of being stuck in the morbidity of the violence, we focus on the things surrounding it--Ellis Island, the reality of life in the New World, the budding romance between our heroine and the man she can't have, etc.
Basically, this book could be described as a beach read, it's easy to read, short and fun. But Bowen also provides us with well-written prose and a heroine to follow up on. ( )
  VanChocStrawberry | Apr 2, 2018 |
A patron shared with me the Maisie Dobbs series, which I devoured and am now distraught as there are no more. So while I wait with high hopes that there will be a new Maisie Dobbs book soon, the same patron introduced me to Molly Murphy.

The plot opens up with Molly fleeing from her home, unsure of where to go, with blood on her hands after killing a man in self-defense. When she stumbles into the home of Kathleen O'Connor and her children, Molly finds herself in an unlikely predicament that could save her life. Kathleen is dying, her husband is in America... Molly is on the run, so she boards the ship to America with two children under the guise of being their mother, Kathleen O'Conner.

The journey is long, and when she feels that she might be free, a murder is commited on Ellis Island...will she make it to New York and find the children's father? ( )
  shannon.dolgos | Sep 5, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312984979, Mass Market Paperback)

Molly Murphy always knew she'd end up in trouble, just as her mother predicted. So, when she commits murder in self-defense, she flees her cherished Ireland, and her identity, for the anonymous shores of America. When she arrives in new York and sees the welcoming promise of freedom in the Statue of Liberty, Molly begins to breathe easier. But when a man is murdered on Ellis Island, a man Molly was seen arguing with, she becomes a prime suspect in the crime.

Using her Irish charm and sharp wit, Molly escapes Ellis Island and sets out to find the wily killer on her own. Pounding the notorious streets of Hell's Kitchen and the Lower East Side, Molly make sit her desperate mission to clear her name before her deadly past comes back to haunt her new future.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:16 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Fleeing a false accusation of murder in Ireland, Molly Murphy becomes involved in another murder case when the man who was harassing her on the boat to America turns up dead.

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