by Terrance Mc Arthur
Details on how to win a copy of City of Darkness & Light at the end of this review.
My wife and I are big fans of the mystery writings of Janet Quin-Harkin, known to her readers by the pen name of Rhys Bowen. From the Wales of Constable Evans, to the globe-hopping of the penniless Lady Georgie in the 1930s, to the early 1900s with Molly Murphy, we have followed every character, every word, fearing that the next book will sink into formula or lose that indefinable sparkle. City of Darkness and Light is the thirteenth Molly Murphy mystery. We’ll have to keep waiting for Bowen to falter, because this one is a corker!
After the birth of her Liam, the Irish-born former private investigator has a calm existence, while her friends Sid and Gus are in Paris (seeking to become famous for their art and poetry)…until she has to take her infant son and flee for their lives when a new gang in the city violently wants revenge on her police-detective husband.
In Paris, she can’t find her friends, the contact she hoped to make with a famous artist is a few days too late, and Molly learns that the gendarmes of Paris want outside help even less than do the coppers of New York City. As she tries to find her friends and solve a murder, she walks, rides, and runs through a city of artists and wild life, rubbing shoulders with everyone from Edgar Degas to Mary Cassatt, Pablo Picasso to Gertrude Stein.
Bowen is a master of the historical mystery, and what could become a dry lecture on Art Appreciation turns into a glistening tribute to a time of change from Impressionism to Fauvism to Modernism. The anti-Semitism of the Dreyfus Affair and the male chauvinism that labeled Cassatt “a good painter…for a woman” have a part in the story that throws many wild pitches at Molly, but she won’t be stopped by boorish policemen, echoes of her past, mercenary landladies, or blood (even her own).
That a baker’s dozen of novels can still come out fresh from the oven is amazing to me, but Rhys Bowen still makes a tasty baguette of a mystery that is delicious, crunchy, and filling.
To enter to win a copy of City of Darkness & Light, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “City,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen March 22, 2014. U.S. residents only.
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