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Tell Me, Pretty Maiden (Molly Murphy Mysteries) Hardcover – March 4, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Several cases keep Molly Murphy busy in Agatha-winner Bowen's winning seventh mystery to star the Irish immigrant PI (after 2007's In Dublin's Fair City). In December 1902, Molly and her beau, suspended New York City police captain Daniel Sullivan, stumble on a near-dead young woman in a Central Park snowdrift. Her passions roused, Molly sets out to discover the identity of the poor traumatized creature and that of whoever cast her into the snow clad only in a flimsy white dress. Meanwhile, leading actress Blanche Lovejoy hires Molly to look into the ghostly shenanigans that threaten disaster for Blanche's soon-to-open new play. Molly also agrees to help a wealthy society matron who wishes to know if her missing Yale student nephew has vanished because of the murder he's suspected of committing. Theatrical life becomes the hinge on which everything swings, and Molly gamely takes to the stage as part of her assignment. It's all in a day's work for this delightfully spunky heroine. (Mar.)
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Praise for Rhys Bowen

“Molly is an indomitable creature…. The book bounces along in the hands of Ms. Bowen and her Molly, and there is no doubt that she will be back causing trouble.”
---Washington Times on In Dublin’s Fair City

“The feisty Molly rarely disappoints in this rousing yarn seasoned with a dash of Irish history.”
---Kirkus Reviews (starred review) on In Dublin’s Fair City

“Readers will surely testify that Murphy has become one of their favorite characters.… This book is a keeper.”
---Tampa Tribune on In Dublin’s Fair City

“A lot of fun and some terrific historical writing. Fans of the British cozy will love it, and so will readers of historical fiction.”
---Toronto Globe and Mail on Oh Danny Boy

“Its enjoyable charm and wit will appeal to a cross section of mystery fans.”
---Baltimore Sun on Oh Danny Boy

“With a riveting plot capped off by a dramatic conclusion, Bowen captures the passion and struggles of the Irish people at the turn of the twentieth century.”
---Publishers Weekly on In Dublin’s Fair City


Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Series: Molly Murphy Mysteries (Book 7)
  • Hardcover: 293 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (March 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312349432
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312349431
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 1.1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #358,945 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Rhys Bowen's books have been nominated for every major mystery award and she has won thirteen of them to date. She currently writes two historical mystery series, each very different in tone. The Molly Murphy mysteries feature an Irish immigrant woman in turn-of-the-century New York City. These books are multi-layered, complex stories with a strong sense of time and place and have won many awards including Agatha and Anthony. There are 13 book so far in this series plus two Kindle stories, The Amersham Rubies and The Face in the Mirror--a great way to introduce new readers to Molly's spunky personality.

Then there is Lady Georgie, Rhys's latest,and very popular, heroine. She's 35th in line to the throne of England, but she's flat broke and struggling to survive in the Great Depression. These books are lighter and funnier than Molly's adventures. They poke gentle fun at the British class system--about which Rhys knows a lot, having married into an upper class family rather like Georgie's, with cousins with silly nicknames,family ghosts and stately homes. The seventh book is called Heirs and Graces, and on November 5th The Twelve Clues of Christmas comes out in paperback, perfect timing for the holidays.
The series received the Readers Choice Award for favorite mystery series and Rhys was nominated for career achievement.

Rhys was born in Bath, England but spent time during her childhood with relatives in Wales. Those childhood experiences colored her first mystery series, about Constable Evans in the mountains of Snowdonia. 10 books including the Edgar nominee Evan's Gate. She has lived in Austria, Germany and Australia, but has called California her home for many years. She now escapes to a condo in Arizona during those cold California winters. When she's not writing she loves to travel, sing, hike, paint and play the Celtic harp.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Mark Baker - Carstairs Considers HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
December 1902 finds Molly back from her ill-fated trip to Ireland and trying to juggle multiple cases at once. First, there's the prospective husband she's been hired to tail to make sure he is above board. Then she is hired to protect aging actress Blanch Lovejoy from the ghost haunting the theater where her comeback Broadway play is supposed to debut. Next, she's hired to find out what happened to John Jacob Halsted, a rich Yale student who is accused of robbing friends right before he vanished. Finally, she and beau Daniel Sullivan find a woman unconscious in the snow in Central Park. The woman wasn't dressed for the outdoors, and when she awakes can't speak and doesn't seem to track with anyone.

While Molly is pleased to have so much work to pay her bills, she also can't juggle it all. So she approaches Daniel, a wrongfully suspended police captain, about helping her. But that potential partnership seems to only cause more friction in their relationship. Can the two find a way to work together and successfully solve all these cases?

When done right, this series is as much about the historical as it is about the mystery. Here, it is done well. Occasionally, the plot appears to wander, but every one of those details becomes an important part of the story. There is still plenty of coincidence here, but Molly is also able to make a few deductions herself. The cases are juggled well, and one plot or the other was always moving forward.

What I found most interesting is the relationship between Molly and Daniel. I have never really liked him, but here I couldn't decide whose side I was on. One minute, I was mad at him, but a few pages later I couldn't believe that Molly could be so childish.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Curious Reader on March 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Molly Murphy series has been a most enjoyable experience. We have watched Molly develop into an independent and shrewd detective and business woman. She rarely allows whimsy to distract her, remains loyal to her principals and her friends and expands her horizons in sometimes risky way, but all the while, she remains steadfast and true to herself.

In this book, Molly endeavors to take on multiple cases simultaneously. Her friend/lover, Daniel Sullivan, continues to be separated from the police department unjustly and demonstrates angst over the unfairness of it. But, slowly and admirably, he is shedding the cultural binds of the day, that women should be seen and not heard, by not only acknowledging Molly's marvelous accomplisments, but actually agreeing to be in her employ. A wonderful development in this relationship, as we, the reader, watch this relationship grow.

Of course, her good friends Sid and Gus, eccentric and colorful women friends who wonderfully dress up the dialogue, make their frequent appearance. Ryan, her actor friend makes his usual contribution, as do all the other wonderful characters from previous Molly Murphy writings.

The only regret the reader has for any of Rhys Bowen Molly Murphy series books, is that they end. Your mind tingles with imagination as to where Ms. Bowen will take the series next.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Viola Sanders VINE VOICE on March 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover

I did not enjoy "Tell Me, Pretty Maiden" as much as I have enjoyed the other books in the Molly Murphy series. I feel like Molly & Daniel's relationship needs to make some headway; there is no tension now that Arabella is out of the picture, & Daniel persists in his archaic views on a woman's role in marriage. The entire scenario is running thin with me. Another reason I did not find this book up to par is the 3 different plot lines that made the book feel scattered. Molly & Daniel ran back & forth between investigations, but, in the end, all 3 cases were linked, which was a little too unbelievable even for me. Even so, I will definitely continue to read this series.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Armchair Interviews on March 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
(Seventh in Molly Murphy series)

Police in New York have their eye on an Italian gang from Sicily calling themselves the Cosa Nostra. Molly Murphy listens to the rumors about the new gang but feels that it is nothing to her - or is it?

Molly's detective agency is booming and she finds herself going off in a dozen different directions. Daniel Sullivan, Molly's boyfriend, is still on leave from the police department so Molly hires him to help her in her investigations. Molly sometimes fears that this was not a good decision. She is a very independent person and does not appreciate it when Daniel tries to take charge.

Molly has several interesting cases going on in this seventh addition to the Molly Murphy series, and maybe the best yet.

Molly has been hired to check out the background of Leon Roth, who is to be married soon. His future in-laws want to be sure he is the right person for their daughter. Molly is also hired by a famous actress to find the ghost that is haunting her new production. Molly finds herself on stage and in costume and suffers a brief bout of stage fright. She also becomes very familiar with "stage-door johnnies." Yet another case takes her to New Haven and the Yale campus.

What touches Molly's heart is not one of the cases that she is being paid to investigate, but the matter of the beautiful young girl she finds in the snow in Central Park. The girl cannot or will not speak. Molly is determined to solve the mystery of how this girl wound up in a snow bank wearing only a flimsy dress and delicate shoes. Molly's determination to find the answer puts Molly in grave danger.

Molly's old friends Sid and Gus are still around and make for very interesting characters. I would highly recommend this intriguing story and a peek at life in New York City in the early 1900's.

Armchair Interview says: A high-quality addition to this series.
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