Cozy writer Rhys Bowen takes us back to turn-of-the-century New
York, where a vicious serial killer dubbed the East Side Ripper is
loose, but amateur sleuth Molly Murphy has more important things to
Captain Daniel Sullivan has landed himself in jail. He admits to
breaking the law --- a teeny, little inconsequential law: arranging
a prizefight. Everyone loves a prizefight, including many members
of the NYPD. So why is Daniel in the Tombs? Maybe it was the bribe
the new police commissioner witnessed being passed to him. And it
wasn't just any bribe either. This one led to the death of a New
York City police officer. Now even the tight brotherhood of cops is
against Daniel. He has nowhere to turn other than Molly, his recent
paramour and an admittedly fine investigator. However, Molly is not
feeling too friendly toward him right about now, considering his
freshly discovered engagement to society deb Arabella Norton. A
woman scorned and all...
But for deeply personal reasons, Molly relents and agrees to look
into it. In her efforts to exonerate Captain Sullivan, Molly chases
all over the Big Apple in the summer of 1902, braving scorching
temperatures and dodging a rampant typhoid epidemic --- and the
East Side Killer, who Molly decides may warrant a closer probe.
While the police believe that the killer is targeting ladies of the
evening, Molly is not so sure about that. Fortunately, her
investigation follows a different angle than the official inquiry
--- fortunately, since it has to be conducted with the utmost
discretion. Cops aren't too crazy about outsiders meddling in their
Tiptoeing around the entire NYPD, unsure of whom to trust, Molly
has her work cut out for her. And to further complicate things, she
finds access to Daniel blocked at every turn. How can she possibly
clear his name if she can't get information to and from him?
Real-life Sabella Goodwin, police matron, steps into Rhys Bowen's
fictional world to assist Molly Murphy. Equally unflagging, the
spunky and resolute Sabella soon steps squarely on somebody's toes
and winds up clinging to life by a slim thread following a brutal
attack, leaving Molly once again on her own to search the dark
alleys and dangerous streets of the city.
Along come neighbors Sid and Gus, a pair of women with hearts full
of adventure, cheerfully offering to lend a hand. While Molly is
off tracking Sabella Goodwin's clues to the identity of the East
Side Ripper, Sid and Gus head merrily out on the trail of a missing
young woman. Meanwhile, how is any of this helping Daniel? None of
them could have foreseen that their paths would take them all out
to Coney Island. At least some of the answers appear to be hidden
at the popular theme park teeming with swelling crowds, swooning
women and roller coasters.
Reminiscent of Jessica Fletcher from the "Murder, She Wrote"
television series, Molly Murphy may just be Jessica's historical
counterpart. OH DANNY BOY is not exactly nail-biting suspense, but
nonetheless is a pleasant pulse-quickener.
Reviewed by Kate Ayers on January 13, 2011