For the Love of Mike
This third book in the Molly Murphy mystery series shares the vivid atmosphere of early 20th century New York City contained in the first two books, Murphy’s Law (winner of the Agatha award) and Death of Riley (the books are best read in order). Molly Murphy is an immigrant who has not long since arrived from Ireland. She is attempting to make a living as a private investigator, not an easy thing to do when women on their own are unable to respectably or safely go many places in the city, particularly places that might have criminal connections. Molly becomes involved with two cases, one tracking down for a well-to-do father in Ireland a missing daughter who has run off to the new world, the other connected to the theft of fashion designs in the garment business. The plot allows Bowen to highlight the plight of newly arrived immigrants and sweatshop girls, set against a backdrop of a city ruled by Tammany Hall and neighborhood gangs. Bowen’s evocation of the 1901 New York City, along with an engaging writing style and an appealing protagonist, make for a winning book and series.