Molly Murphy meets Harry Houdini and murder in early-20th-century New York.
Much to the chagrin of her fiancé, police Captain Daniel Sullivan, the young Irish lass (In a Gilded Cage, 2008, etc.) is still working as a private detective. When Daniel treats Molly to a night at the theater to see the great Houdini, they witness either a tragic accident or a murder when the illusion of sawing a woman in half becomes a reality and the star of the opening act and the body of his assistant both mysteriously disappear. Houdini’s wife Bess, who fears for his life—a fear made even more real when Bess herself almost dies while performing a trunk illusion—hires Molly to investigate. Daniel, busy helping government agents crack a counterfeiting ring, orders her to leave the case alone, not realizing that this tactic is guaranteed to push the headstrong detective deeper into the investigation. Once Bess talks Houdini into using Molly as his assistant, Molly’s on hand to continue sleuthing when Houdini himself goes missing. With help from her bohemian and theatrical friends, Molly discovers some interesting clues. Can she keep out of danger, solve the crimes and keep her fiancé?
Bubbly, liberated Molly’s latest adds interesting historical insights to the usual pleasant mystery-mongering.