Wild Irish Rose by Rhys Bowen and Clare Broyles
A Reading Ireland Month book
[New York Times bestselling author Rhys Bowen, now writing in partnership with her daughter, Clare Broyles, transports and enthralls readers through the incomparable Molly Murphy Sullivan. A brand new novel in this beloved mystery series is cause for celebration for readers and critics alike.]
New York, 1907: Now that she’s no longer a private detective—at least not officially—Molly Murphy Sullivan is looking forward to a time of settled tranquility with friends and family. Back in New York, where her own story began, Molly decides to accompany some friends to Ellis Island to help distribute clothing to those in need. This journey quickly stirs up memories for Molly. When you’re far from home and see people from your country, every face looks like a family member.
That evening Molly’s policeman husband, Daniel, is late returning home. He comes with a tale to tell: there was a murder on Ellis Island that day, and the main suspect is the spitting image of Molly. The circumstances are eerily similar to when Molly herself arrived on Ellis Island, and she can’t help but feel a sense of fate. Molly was meant to be there that day so that she can clear this woman’s name.
Once again, I bit on a book well into the series with the 18th book. With some books, it makes no difference. I suspect this is not one of those.
I liked the blurb, Molly identifying with a new Irish arrival to Ellis Island, and then befriending her even in the face of a fresh murder in which hubby policeman Daniel determines she is number one suspect. Molly was on the island to help disseminate warm clothing to immigrants not prepared for the severe cold weather of New York.
Molly is a former private detective, now married and a mother, but as she watches Daniel put the puzzle pieces together of the mystery, she is drawn into the investigation sure that Rose McSweeney is an innocent pawn. Molly is sure she can do a better job of teasing clues from Rose and the others in attendance than could Daniel or the other investigators.
Here’s where I have a problem: Molly can be caustic. She has a quick temper and sometimes works to control it—sometimes not—but she is seldom kind or thoughtful and doesn’t elicit empathy. She pounds on her theory without question that it’s right, although it’s easy to figure who the culprit is. Being a mother is okay–but she misses the old (exciting) life and is quick to delegate childcare when and where she can get it so she can be free to be off, which it seems is most of the time.
So I had a problem with the protagonist, with the support characters, and felt sorry for Daniel, who had my sympathy while wondering why he didn’t step up appropriately. There were a few twists and red herrings and I also had a problem with the pace, my attention often waning—just could not stay with it.
I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through @NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts.
Rosepoint Rating: Three-point Five Stars
Genre: Historical Mysteries, Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Print Length: 310 pages
Publication Date: March 1, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
The Author(s): Rhys Bowen is the New York Times bestselling author of two historical mystery series as well as the #1Kindle bestseller In Farleigh Field, the international bestseller The Tuscan Child. and three other historical novels–including the newly released THE VENICE SKETCHBOOK. This story takes a young woman to Venice to discover her great aunt’s secret life.
In Farleigh Field was nominated for the Edgar Award, won the Agatha award for best historical mystery as well as the MacAvity and Bruce Alexander Memorial Awards.
Rhys was born in Bath, England and educated at London University but now divides her time between California and Arizona. Her books have been nominated for every major mystery award and she has won twenty of them to date, including four Agathas.
She currently writes two historical mystery series, each very different in tone. The Molly Murphy mysteries feature an Irish immigrant woman in turn-of-the-century New York City. These books are multi-layered, complex stories with a strong sense of time and place and have won many awards including Agatha and Anthony. There are 17 books so far in this series plus three Kindle stories, The Amersham Rubies, Through the Window and The Face in the Mirror–a great way to introduce new readers to Molly’s spunky personality.
Then there is Lady Georgie, Rhys’s latest,and very popular, heroine. She’s 35th in line to the throne of England, but she’s flat broke and struggling to survive in the Great Depression. These books are lighter and funnier than Molly’s adventures. They poke gentle fun at the British class system–about which Rhys knows a lot, having married into an upper class family rather like Georgie’s, with cousins with silly nicknames, family ghosts and stately homes. The thirteenth book in the series, Love and Death Among the Cheetahs, was published August 2019. Two books in the series have won the Agatha award for best historical mystery.
The series received the Readers Choice Award for favorite mystery series and Rhys was nominated for career achievement. It was also voted one of Goodreads top 10 cozy mysteries. The books have been translated into many languages and brought Rhys fans from around the world.
Her most recent achievement has been the big World War 2 stand-alone novels, In Farleigh Field and The Tuscan Child as well as The Victory Garden, a novel of WWi and Above the Bay of Angels–a young woman becomes a chef for Queen Victoria. They have enjoyed impressive sales world-wide and brought Rhys many new readers.
As a child Rhys spent time with relatives in Wales. Those childhood experiences colored her first mystery series, about Constable Evans in the mountains of Snowdonia. 10 books including the Edgar nominee Evan’s Gate. She has lived in Austria, Germany and Australia, but has called California her home for many years. She now escapes to her home in Arizona during those cold California winters. When she’s not writing she loves to travel, sing, hike, paint and play the Celtic harp–and hear from her readers!
©2022 V Williams