Away in a Manger: A Molly Murphy Mystery

Written by Rhys Bowen
Review by Eileen Charbonneau

Molly Murphy Sullivan is back for this Christmas installment of the popular mystery series. It’s 1905 New York City, and Molly and her husband, police captain Daniel, preside over a family that includes a lively one-year-old son and 12-year-old Bridie, mother’s helper.  Soon her mother-in-law comes for a visit to help keep the home fires burning while Molly is drawn into intrigue.

The tender-hearted Bridie gets the story rolling when she takes an interest in two city waifs: an eight-year-old boy and his tiny sister, who sings the title’s Christmas carol while huddled in a doorway. Soon the two well-spoken children become the center of a murder/inheritance/poisoning scheme that Molly must unravel to see justice served.

The holiday details bring turn-of-the-20th-century New York alive.  Daniel joins his mother in scolding Molly for being drawn back into her old profession, providing tension.  But this outing is marred by some pedantic and repetitive writing. Molly’s brave and resourceful personality shines as usual, and a galloping plot with a thrilling conclusion should keep most fans of the series satisfied.