by Terrance Mc Arthur
Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Time of Fog and Fire, along with a link to purchase it.
Rhys Bowen: One of my favorite mystery authors.
Molly Murphy Mysteries: A series that I really enjoy.
Time of Fog and Fire: Oh, I liked this one!
Molly Murphy faced a bleak life and trouble in a small Irish village. She left, sailed to New York City, became a private investigator, and married the police captain who wanted to arrest her as a murder suspect. Molly Murphy Sullivan is a wife and mother trying to put aside her sleuthing past, but events have a tendency to throw mysteries in her path.
Case in point: With Daniel under fire for not accepting bribes, Molly’s hubby accepts a hush-hush assignment from the head of the United States Secret Service at a location he will not divulge. At a movie theatre, Molly sees him…on-screen in a newsreel…in San Francisco.
A strange letter arrives from Daniel, with clues indicating that he needs her help on the West Coast. In the past, Daniel has discouraged her detective work, but now he’s asking her to come? Molly packs up her child and diapers and takes the first train she can get. In the City by the Bay, she gets startling news: Daniel fell off a cliff and is dead. Molly goes on the hunt for a murderer.
OK: Molly is looking for a killer in San Francisco, it’s April, 1906. I wonder what will happen? It’s like seeing a character in 1912 book passage on the R.M.S. Titanic. You know what to expect, and it’s not going to be an uneventful cruise.
Bowen lives in the Bay Area, and the Molly Murphy Mysteries take place at the turn of the century. As 1906 neared in the series timeline, I’m sure she started wondering, “How can I get Molly from New York into the middle of the San Francisco Earthquake?” She found a way, and it was a big one.
A lot is packed into this book: land swindles, dead bodies, looting, Chinatown, kidnapping, Nob Hill, the New York Metropolitan Opera, reporters, Golden Gate Park, soldiers, Enrico Caruso, crooked politicians on both sides of the country, domineering husbands, the Presidio, the Palace Hotel, a stolen car, Cliff House, suffragists, a crate full of cash, and Mark Twain.
This series has always had a strong history component, meeting the famous like Houdini and Nellie Bly, visiting the Bowery, encountering the Cosa Nostra, traveling back to Ireland, and going to Paris and hobnobbing with famous painters of the era. In this book, the place and the time have a major influence on the story, and that isn’t a bad thing. The geography, the history, and the tragedy fill the book with texture and contradictions.
Lucky coincidences: A bunch of them, but that’s how history works.
Not-so-neat endings: Definitely, but it’s San Francisco, where Sam Spade would one day search for the Maltese Falcon, so justice isn’t always done in a proto-noir style.
Surprises: Rhys Bowen is always full of them.
Time of Fog and Fire leads you back into history and surrounds you with the good, bad, and ugly of it, filling your senses. Hear, see, smell, taste, feel, and enjoy.
To enter to win a copy of Time and Fog and Fire, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “fog,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen May 14, 2016. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
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