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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Book Review - The Last Illusion

Author: Rhys Bowen
Copyright: March 2010 (Minotaur); 288 pgs

Series: #9 in The Molly Murphy Mysteries

Sensuality: N/A

Mystery sub-genre: Historical Private Investigator

Main Character: Molly Murphy, Irish Immigrant who is a private investigator

Setting: New York City in 1903

Obtained book through: Libary
The book starts out with Molly and her finace out on the town seeing a magic show at the Miner's Theatre on the Bowery.  During the acts leading up to Houdini a "stunt" goes terribly wrong and an assistant receives grave injury when being sawed-in-half.  The magician claims his equipment had been tampered with.  Before long Mrs. Houdini personally visits Molly and asks for her to lend her eyes and ears undercover as Houdini's assistant because she believes something is terribly wrong in the theater and perhaps even her Harry is in danger.
To complicate matters, Molly is engaged to police captain Daniel Sullivan who reminds Molly that she is to stop her ridiculous profession once they are married, this is the last case she will work, she is forbidden to get involved etc. etc.  It seems as though Molly half heartedly goes along but at other times is serious about being the "little woman" staying at home.  This is my first Molly Murphy mystery and I am already feeling that something has to give in this relationship.
I really enjoyed the plot and the overall premise - great concept for the plot!  I can't say very much without giving away something vital.  My opinion of Molly's finacee is still being formulated.  I can concede that his character is actually pretty flexible given the era this book is supposed to be set in, but I still don't like a sleuth having to justify sleuthing in nearly every chapter.
I loved Molly's friends Gus and Sid.  I want to read some of the older entries in the series to get to know these two women better for they seemed a touch eccentric and quirky but completely fun. 
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Mark Baker said...

I've read this series in order as it has come out. Gus and Sid are definitely a hoot and some of my favorite characters in the series.

And I still go back and forth on my feeling about Daniel, partially because of being modern and the books being historical. There were a couple of books where I hated him, so he has improved and attoned for some earlier sins.

Kathy said...

I really like this series. I think Molly is a great character as are Gus and Sid. I do regret, though, that Paddy is gone. I think he was an interesting character.
I like novels that intersperse real historical figures with their fictional protagonists.

A.F. Heart said...

Thanks Mark and Kathy,

It sounds as though I would enjoy going back and reading the older books in the series. Since I enjoyed Sid and Gus and you guys confirmed they are great throughout the series I think it would further my "mystery education".

Kathy, your comment makes me want to get to know Paddy - since this was my first book in the series I missed him.

The Insouciant Sophisticate said...

I would definitely recommend reading the earlier books in the series in order to see more of Sid and Gus. I also go back and forth with Daniel because sometimes he's so warm and caring and other times he's so controlling and a jerk but then I have to remind myself that that is only to my modern ears!

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