In Like Flynn

Molly Murphy Mysteries, #4

Rhys Bowen’s IN LIKE FLYNN is the fourth in her Molly Murphy mystery series, and it reaffirmed to me why this series has become so well loved. Molly is a fun character—smart, plain speaking, bold, and unflappable. It would be enjoyable to follow her through any story, but Bowen always adds a fascinating mystery to tantalize and intrigue the reader every step of the way. This particular story revolves around some of the most interesting features of the turn of the century period, and I liked that most of all. The novel features séances, spiritualism, the typhoid epidemic in New York City, and the mysterious kidnapping of a young child that reminded me a bit of the famous 1932 Lindbergh baby mystery.

Molly poses as a family member of New York’s Senator Flynn and ventures out to his country house in order to expose the spiritualists he’s hired to contact his murdered son. She’s also agreed to look into the child’s death to help clear the name of the nanny who’s been blacklisted because of her service to the family at the time of the boy’s kidnapping. Bowen throws dilemma after dilemma at Molly in this mystery, as she works to unravel tangled and intertwined mysteries. I liked the added complication of Molly’s own past arising to haunt her. It ramps the story’s tension up even higher.

I have to admit that one of my favorite aspects of the Molly Murphy mysteries is Molly’s on again-off again relationship with roguish police captain Daniel Sullivan. Though she’s broken with him in the start of this story, I particularly enjoyed every chapter that included one of their interactions. This isn’t a romance by any stretch of the imagination, but their banter and the tension of their attraction always adds an appealing element to these mysteries.

Whether readers have read any of the other Molly Murphy mysteries or not, I’d recommend IN LIKE FLYNN to anyone who enjoys rich, complex historical mysteries with lots of period details and an irresistible amateur sleuth. I dare anyone who reads a Molly Murphy mystery not to fall completely in love with her by the end.

Molly Murphy is struggling to make a living as a sleuth in IN LIKE FLYNN, so she accepts an assignment from the flirtatious but otherwise engaged Captain Daniel Sullivan. He sends her to the estate of Senator Flynn to expose the spiritualist sisters the senator has hired to contact his dead son. Molly also plans to look into the boy’s death in order to aid the nanny who was accused but never charged in the case. Between the sisters, the boy’s death, and the unexpected return of a ghost from her past, Molly has her hands full in the fourth installment of this beloved series.

Book Blurb for In Like Flynn

Fledgling private investigator Molly Murphy's latest assignment gives her the opportunity to escape the typhoid epidemic sweeping across New York City in the summer of 1902 for the lush Hudson River Valley. And it comes from an unlikely source-Captain Daniel Sullivan, a New York City police detective and erstwhile beau of Molly's. She has vowed to keep him at arm's length until he can rid himself of his socialite fiancée, but she can't pass up the chance to take advantage of his offer of a real detective job.

Daniel hires Molly to go undercover inside the country household of Senator Barney Flynn, in Peekskill, New York. Flynn's wife, Theresa, has become the latest devotee of a pair of spiritualists known as the Sorensen Sisters. The frail Theresa is desperate to use the sisters' alleged abilities to hold a séance to contact her infant son, who was kidnapped five years ago and never found; the accused kidnapper was killed before he could tell police where the boy was being held. But the police are sure the women are frauds.

When Molly allows herself to be distracted from the Sorensen Sisters and the members of the Flynn household by the unsolved kidnapping, it is a race against time to find out what's really going on before it's too late.

In Like Flynn is the latest captivating installment in a series which has garnered an impressive array of awards and nominations in just three books: Rhys Bowen's Molly Murphy mysteries have won the Agatha Award, the Anthony Award, the Bruce Alexander Historical Award, and the Herodotus Award, and have been shortlisted for the Agatha Award, the Macavity Award, and the Mary Higgins Clark Award.

Night Owl Reviews Nov, 2015 4.00