Pioneering private eye Molly Murphy’s third adventure allows both her and her author to take wing amid the seediest settings.
Despite the death of her boss, Paddy Riley (Death of Riley, 2002), Molly has remained in New York in 1901, trying to keep Riley’s tiny detective agency afloat. Another worry is the plight of the two children she had shepherded on the ocean voyage from Ireland and for whom she still feels responsible. Molly’s first solo case brings her to the Canal Street garment factory of Mostel and Klein, where someone is stealing the sketches for Mostel’s latest designs and making sure that the Lowenstein factory, Mostel’s major competition, is first to get them into stores. Finding the thief requires Molly to learn the sewing trade and makes her aware of the cruel sweatshop conditions that prevail. Her second job is heralded by a letter from a Major Favisham in Ireland. His daughter Katherine has sailed off to New York with no-good estate worker Michael Kelly, and the Major desperately wants her found. As matters proceed, Molly’s two assignments begin to intermingle, with near-tragic results. In compensation, there’s a new admirer who just might overcome Molly’s attraction to police captain Daniel Sullivan.
Molly grows ever more engaging against a vibrant background of New York’s dark side at the turn of the century.