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Murphy's Law (Molly Murphy Mysteries) Mass Market Paperback – December 15, 2002

4.3 out of 5 stars 164 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The prolific Bowen, creator of Welsh constable Evan Evans (Evan Can Wait; Evan and Elle; etc.), relies a bit too much on coincidence but conveys a nice sense of place and period in this debut of a new historical series with its spunky, 19th-century Irish heroine, Molly Murphy. Defending herself from the unwelcome advances of the local landowner's son, Molly accidentally kills him and flees her village to escape hanging. She heads for the anonymity of London, where a twist of fate introduces her to Kathleen O'Connor. Kathleen has two small children and tickets for a ship to America, where she plans to join her husband. But knowing they won't let her on the ship because of her tuberculosis, Kathleen persuades the desperate Molly to take her children to America. On board, Molly attracts the loud attentions of a crude, boisterous type named O'Malley. Her public argument with him comes back to haunt her when he is found murdered on Ellis Island; Molly becomes a prime suspect, along with a young man she befriended. The handsome young policeman investigating the case, Daniel Sullivan, appears to believe Molly's protestations of innocence, but Molly decides her she'd better investigate on her own behalf and that of her friend. Wending her way through a vivid, Tammany Hall-era New York, Molly struggles to prove her innocence, aided by one coincidence after another. (Oct. 15)Forecast: Bowen's solid reputation will generate strong sales for this series debut, though Constable Evans fans should beware that the gentle humor of those novels is lacking here.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Nimble of plot and fleet in the telling, Bowen's latest begins a new series starring the plucky Molly Murphy. Hiding her fiery red hair but not her audacious ways, Molly escapes from her Irish village after inadvertently causing the death of the young laird who tried to rape her. She finds herself in possession of a steerage ticket to New York and the custody of two small children when the kids' consumptive mother begs her to deliver the youngsters to their father in New York. The passage to America and the tumultuous events of Ellis Island, where another murder takes place, are vividly described, as is Molly's negotiation of the Cherry Street Irish ghetto, Hell's Kitchen, and the children's overwhelmed Da and his unsavory relatives. Run-ins with the police and Tammany Hall are only a few of Molly's adventures. The murder is solved in unorthodox ways, Molly finds love and work, and there's promise of more adventures. History-mystery fans should add Molly to their lists of characters to follow. GraceAnne DeCandido
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Molly Murphy Mysteries (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books (December 15, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780312984977
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312984977
  • ASIN: 0312984979
  • Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 0.7 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (164 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #657,068 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By tricia on September 14, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Each and every Molly mystery is filled with historical information, which is fed ever so lightly and creates a realistic flavor. The characters are well developed, the stories well plotted and each a treasure in its own right. I read these 9 books in just 3 weeks. Once started, I couldn't stop! I am happy I read them in order, and you may want to consider this as well. Since many of them have been awarded mysteries top writing awards, I have created a list for you to read which book received which award, and placed them in order according to publication date in case you too would like to read them in order:
Murphy's Law (2001)
2001 Agatha Award for Best Novel
Finalist 2002 Mary Higgins Clark Award

Death of Riley (2002)
Finalist 2002 Agatha Award for Best Novel

For the Love of Mike (2003)
2004 Anthony Award for Best Historical Novel
Finalist 2004 Macavity Award for Best Novel

In Like Flynn (2005)
Finalist 2006 Macavity Award for Best Historical Novel

Oh Danny Boy (2006)
2007 Macavity Award for Best Historical Novel
Finalist 2007 Barry Award for Best Novel

In Dublin's Fair City (2007)

Tell Me, Pretty Maiden (2008)
Finalist 2009 Bruce Alexander Award

In a Gilded Cage (2009)
Finalist 2010 Bruce Alexander Award

The Last Illusion (2010)

I hope you will enjoy them as much as I did!!
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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Murphy's Law by Rhys Bowen is the first book in the Molly Murphy mystery series. After accidentally killing a land owner, Molly Murphy must flee Ireland to avoid the gallows. She soon finds herself caught up with another family on their way to America, but once at Ellis Island, she's suspected of being involved with another murder, and the only way to clear her name is by finding the real killer. Bowen keeps things simple without extraneous detail, but her descriptions still shine, and Molly is a real character. There are no pretensions in Miss Murphy: she wants to live the good life, and she's not afraid to break a few rules to find it. I find Daniel Sullivan, the police detective in charge of the case, a little too good to be true, but future books will prove his worthiness for Molly. Molly is not a great detective, constantly putting herself in danger, leaping before looking, making all sorts of assumptions, but she's always entertaining.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Rhys Bowen has written a three series of murder mystery novels, each taking place in a different venue and time. The Royal Spyness series, A Royal Pain, regales the reader with quirky tales of a Scottish aristocrat and distant member of the royal family set in the early twentieth century. The Evans series, Evans to Betsy: A Constable Evans Mystery (Constable Evans Mysteries (Hardcover)), tells of a modern day Welsh policeman---much like the M. C. Beaten Hamish Macbeth, Death of a Valentine (Hamish Macbeth Mysteries)---and this series is about a young Irish girl who flees Edwardian England for a new life in America.

This, the first of the Molly Murphy mysteries starts out with almost too much historic detail for a mystery; I felt a little like I'd gotten caught up in a Dickens novel. The manner of the heroine's escape from society's injustice was rather clever and very smoothly done, as was her implication in the murder. Her involvement in the proceedings and subsequent efforts to exonerate herself and a friend made for a plausible plot which led to rational actions, but the story seemed to come to a rather abrupt end without any real resolution of the actual mystery. You discovered who the murderer had been, but it didn't seem to matter. It was as though the author had gotten tired of it. As a mystery the book was a disappointment.

What I did enjoy was the foray into the life of Irish immigrants in New York.
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