Review

For the Love of Mike

by Rhys Bowen



Rhys Bowen's third novel in the award-winning Molly Murphy mystery
series is a story sure to be recognized on its own merit. A
combination of Murphy's Irish temper, loyalty to her chosen
profession and stubbornness make for good reading.

After the death of her mentor, Murphy sticks with her attempt to
earn a living as a female private detective in turn-of-the-century
New York City. When she stakes out a client's husband as a possible
wife-cheater, her troubles multiply. She's not welcome in bars or
on the street late at night, places necessary for a private eye to
operate. More than once, she is harassed by the New York City
Police who mistake her for a criminal. Murphy is reluctant to seek
help from her former lover, Captain Daniel Sullivan, at the
precinct. But more than once he intervenes on her behalf.

Murphy's spunky spirit pulls her out of the doldrums on numerous
occasions. At a time when she is penniless, without a client and
nearly giving up, an opportunity comes her way to persevere. She's
involved in the women's rights issues of the day when she takes on
a case to locate a mole in the garment industry. Labor unions,
gangland mischief and further tangles with the law become her daily
companions.

At the same time, Murphy has accepted a missing person search for a
family in Ireland. Their daughter, Katherine, has fled to the
United States with her lover, Michael. Her father has reason to
think that the runaways may have gone to New York City. Murphy's
research leads her to a dead end. It appears as if the girl and her
husband may have been murdered. However, Murphy doggedly follows
any lead that might promise a positive outcome.

Bowen's Murphy is determined, relentless, plucky, pretty and
definitely possesses an Irish temperament. She is stubborn when
offered help, preferring her own instincts for survival. The men in
her life seek to protect her, but she sees their attempts as
interference. Jacob Singer vies with Capt. Sullivan for Murphy's
love, but she puts her job ahead of them both. There is no
satisfaction for the reader who wants a neat romantic knot
tied.

FOR THE LOVE OF MIKE is full of the flavor of New York City at the
turn of the century. Sweatshop turmoil and the plight of the lower
end immigrant worker are given colorful treatment. The infancy of
labor union struggles and women's suffrage movements are well
documented. FOR THE LOVE OF MIKE is a well-paced and
well-researched mystery novel that leaves the invitation open to
the next book in the Molly Murphy series.

Reviewed by Judy Gigstad on January 22, 2011

For the Love of Mike
by Rhys Bowen

  • Publication Date: November 30, 2004
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 0312989040
  • ISBN-13: 9780312989040