Wild Irish Rose

Molly Murphy Mysteries Book 18

Rhys Bowen

Minotaur Books

March 1st, 2022

Wild Irish Rose by Rhys Bowen and her daughter, Clare Broyles, brings back the beloved character Molly Murphy after a hiatus. Besides a good mystery, this book also explores the difficulties women face while being a working mom.  

“Molly is back from her hiatus after my daughter told me she wants to write the series with me. I was a little bit ambivalent because she is my daughter and thought ‘what if this does not work out.’  Plus, she has never written a mystery. It was a smooth process in writing with Clare.  She had gone back and read all seventeen books, which helped her come in with Molly’s voice perfectly. It was a real collaboration, 50/50 all the time. We swapped scenes and put in our input.  I would make sure the transitions were good. Now, if I look back, I cannot tell you which scenes I wrote and which scenes she wrote. It was a delight because she saw this series with new eyes and great ideas. The one thing Clare does not know is the details about New York, which I filled in.  I should take her to New York and give her the “Molly Murphy” tour. My plan is to write a few more with her and then stand back for her to write the series. This series really has New York as a character.”

After marrying Daniel Sullivan, Molly Murphy agrees to give up her private investigation business. As expected in 1907, she wants to be a good mother and wife.  Yet, she finds something is missing, knowing she was a very good detective. Now she must walk a fine line between her curiosity and responsibility, wanting to be a PI again.  She is a very smart detective who can connect the dots. 

Traveling to Ellis Island with her ward, Bridie, and her two friends to distribute clothing she finds that a murder has taken place. That evening Molly’s husband, Daniel, tells her the accused looks just like her and is from the same country of origin. This seems to come full circle for Molly considering she was also accused of murdering someone on Ellis Island.  Now she is determined to prove the woman innocent. Here the feminist angle comes into play when Daniel wants her to stop investigating, fluctuating between being supportive and condescending. 

“We wanted to show what it is like for a woman who is a wife and mother of a two-year-old son plus her ward Bridie. She has a responsibility to her family, plus a difficult mother-in-law, while at the same time trying to be a sleuth. This takes place in 1907, but the attitude is still around today. One unintended issue is feminism, including the suffrage issue.  Even today, in the police departments there is still the sentiment.  Molly still works in a man’s world.  In some of the previous books she did have some very dark cases, mingled with gangs and a demented serial killer. She had lived a life that is challenging and dangerous.  Regarding Daniel, I do think he is remarkable and tolerant for the time. He is quite tolerant with what Molly does.  Legally, she had nothing.  If she ended her marriage she could not take the children with her. This is New York law, including a husband can beat his wife with a stick. The law had the husband the lord and master and the wife one of the things the husband owned. From the status point of view if a wife worked it meant the man could not support the family, which would be very shameful.” 

The other thread gives more information about Bridie’s backstory. At thirteen, she is behaving like a typical teenager, testing the adult’s authority. Bridie begins pushing against Molly’s guidance, wanting, at age thirteen, to be treated as a woman, not a little girl.

This is a wonderful read and those fans of Molly Murphy will not be disappointed.  It has everything from action, drama, relevant issues, and a good mystery. Writing with her daughter is a treat not a trick since the plot is flawless. 



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About the Author

Elise Cooper

Elise writes book reviews that always include a short author interview.