The Molly Murphy Series in Order
Murphy’s Law (2001)
Molly Murphy always knew she’d end up in trouble, just as her mother predicted. So, when she commits murder in self-defense, she flees her cherished Ireland, and her identity, for the anonymous shores of America. When she arrives in New York and sees the welcoming promise of freedom in the Statue of Liberty, Molly begins to breathe easier. But when a man is murdered on Ellis Island, a man Molly was seen arguing with, she becomes a prime suspect in the crime.
Using her Irish charm and sharp wit, Molly escapes Ellis Island and sets out to find the wily killer on her own. Pounding the notorious streets of Hell’s Kitchen and the Lower East Side, Molly make sit her desperate mission to clear her name before her deadly past comes back to haunt her new future.
Death of Riley (2002)
Molly Murphy has finally begun to forget the unpleasant murder of a would-be rapist back in Ireland, not to mention her investigation into the murder of a fellow recent Irish immigrant, and is finally free to begin her life in New York City. Given her experiences so far in the New World, Molly has decided that her first order of business is to become a private investigator, a people finder of sorts, working for families in Europe who’ve lost touch with relatives in America. Not only might this put some food on her table, but her second order of business is to hook the handsome NYPD police captain Daniel Sullivan, and she envisions lots of opportunities to “seek his counsel” in her new profession.
Paddy Riley is a tough old Cockney P.I. who specializes in divorce work, and with a little persuasion he’s ready to take on Molly as an apprentice. It’s not exactly what she imagined, but she plans to make the most of it. That is, until she comes in to work one day to find her new world turned upside down and all expectations for her professional life suddenly up in the air.
Before long, Molly has set off on a journey that will take her through the back alleys of Manhattan and into the bars and lounges of the literary scene, where she spends time with writers, actors, poets, and musicians. It’s quite an eye-opening turn for innocent young Molly, but she’s resolute in her decision to find out exactly what happened that day in the office of Paddy Riley. Armed with nothing more than her fiery will and matching wild red hair, Molly has no idea of the danger her pursuit may bring in this fascinating, well-researched, and suspenseful second novel in Rhys Bowen’s Agatha-award winning series.
For the Love of Mike (2003)
A woman ahead of her time, Molly Murphy is determined to be a private detective. Having inherited the cases of her deceased mentor, Paddy Reilly, she’s following philandering husbands, tracking down a runaway Dublin debutante, and working in a sweatshop to discover who’s purloining dress designs. None of her jobs seem dangerous…at first. When a woman’s body is fished out of the East River, Molly fears it’s the missing society girl. Then Molly’s sometime beau, police captain Daniel Sullivan, reveals that another corpse may be the girl’s scalawag lover, Mike Kelly. But Molly has to know their identities for certain. Now as threads of passion and greed weave a tapestry of violence, Molly descends into the underworld of the gangs of New York. It’s no place for a lady, and even a scrappy Irish lass may need more than her street smarts to get the truth…and get out alive.
In Like Flynn (2005)
A woman private eye in a man’s world, Molly Murphy is having a hard time succeeding as a New York shamus. That’s why she agrees to go undercover for the NYPD to expose a pair of spiritualist sisters as con-artists even though the offer comes from police captain Daniel Sullivan. Sullivan had once won Molly’s heart—until she discovered he already had a socialite fiancé and an upcoming wedding. Now Molly’s masquerading as a cousin from Ireland at the Hudson River mansion of Senator Barney Flynn. Flynn’s invalid wife hopes the psychic sisters can contact her dead son, kidnapped and lost in a sensational crime. After an eerie séance, Molly isn’t so sure the sisters are fakes, but she’s certain the police bungled the kidnapping case. Soon Molly’s questions are leading her toward danger, and her own sixth sense is warning her—murder lies ahead!
OH DAnny Boy (2006)
Irish immigrant Molly Murphy is contemplating giving up PI work for something a little less…exciting. Molly has had quite enough excitement recently, thank you very much. Especially from the handsome but deceptive NYPD captain Daniel Sullivan. She wants him out of her life for good. But when Daniel is accused of accepting bribes and lands himself in the Tombs, the notorious city jail, he begs Molly to help prove he was framed. After everything they’ve been through together, how can she turn him down? As Molly finds herself drawn further into Daniel’s case, Molly begins to fear that his trouble is related to one of his investigations: catching a serial killer who is targeting prostitutes, known to the locals as the East Side Ripper…
In Dublin’s Fair City (2007)
When New York theatre impresario Tommy Burke asks Molly to help him take care of some family business back in Ireland, Molly is happy to oblige. Tempted by the prospect of going home for the first time in years (and putting her fledging detective agency on firm financial ground), Molly throws caution to the wind and climbs aboard the White Start LinerMajestic with hopes of sneaking on and off the isle without raising a peep. Until one passenger, who happens to be a famous Broadway actress goes missing—and another turns up dead. So much for smooth sailing…
TELL Me, Pretty Maiden (2008)
It’s wintertime in New York, and for the first time since Irish immigrant Molly Murphy started her early-twentieth-century detective agency, she is completely snowed in with work. While she’s very much in demand by some of Broadway’s brightest stars and Fifth Avenue’s richest families, Molly must admit that it’s time for her to get some help. Her beau, the recently and wrongly suspended police captain Daniel Sullivan, would make an ideal associate. But before Molly and he can agree on the terms of his employment, they stumble upon a young woman lying unconscious in the middle of a snow-covered Central Park. When the woman wakes up, she is disorientated and has and lost her ability to speak. The authorities are about to pack her off to an insane asylum—but Molly can’t help but step in and take on yet another stormy case…
In a Gilded Cage (2009)
It’s Easter Sunday 1902, and Irish immigrant Molly Murphy has agreed to march down Fifth Avenue with the sign-wielding suffragettes from Vassar—a civil act of protest that lands her in jail. Molly’s betrothed, Police Captain Daniel Sullivan, manages to spring her from the clink, though his hands are full dealing with Chinese opium gangs. But as soon as she’s free, Molly marches straight into trouble again. Two of the Vassar alumni need Molly’s help as a private investigator. One believes her uncle is cheating her out of an inheritance; the other suspects her husband is cheating with other women. And when one of the clients dies—presumably from influenza, which is sweeping the city—Molly takes to the streets once more. Not to win the right for women to vote, but to reveal the wrongs of some very evil men…
The Last Illusion (2010)
Irish immigrant and private detective Molly Murphy is thrilled to have a ticket to see world-famous illusionist Harry Houdini. But before he can even take the stage, the opening act goes horribly wrong—and the sensational Signor Scarpelli’s lovely assistant is sawed in half. In the aftermath, Scarpelli accuses Houdini of tampering with his equipment. Who else but the so-called Handcuff King could have got a hold of his trunk of tricks, which he keeps under lock and key?
And it seems the maestro Scarpelli’s not the only one critical of Houdini. Now that he’s raised the stakes to such a perilous level, lesser acts are being put out of business. With everyone on edge, Houdini’s wife hires Molly to watch his back. But how can she protect a man who literally risks his life every night? Now it’s up to Molly to keep an eye on Houdini and find out whether these masters of illusion are simply up to their tricks—or if there truly is something much more treacherous going on…
Bless the Bride (2011)
With Molly Murphy’s wedding to NYPD Captain Daniel Sullivan quickly approaching, the Irish sleuth heads to the Westchester County countryside, where his mother can lend her a hand and advise her on a bride’s proper place. And shockingly, Molly seems to be agreeing. She has already promised that she’ll close up her PI business and settle down after marrying, but she isn’t a married woman yet. So, when she gets word of a possible case, she sneaks back into the city to squeeze in a little more sleuthing before the wedding bells can ring.
A wealthy Chinese immigrant wants her to find his missing bride, and Molly—sure she isn’t getting the whole story—suspects that his bride ran off. But where could she go? The only Chinese women in early-twentieth-century New York are kept under lock and key, and Molly can’t help but wonder if she’s saving the woman from the streets or helping to lock her away for good.
Rhys Bowen’s deft touch and charming wit make Bless the Bride another stellar addition to her Anthony and Agatha Award–winning historical series.
Hush Now, Don’t You Cry (2012)
Molly Murphy, now Molly Sullivan, and her husband Daniel, a captain in the New York Police Department, have been invited to spend their honeymoon on the Newport, RI, estate of Alderman Brian Hannan in the spring of 1904. Molly doesn’t entirely trust the offer. Hannan—an ambitious man—has his eye on a Senate seat and intentions of taking Tammany Hall to get it.
When Hannan is found dead at the base of the cliffs that overlook the Atlantic, Molly’s suspicions are quickly justified, and as much as she wants to keep her promise to Daniel that she won’t do any more sleuthing now, there isn’t much she can do once the chase is on.
The Family Way (2013)
Molly Sullivan is a year into her marriage, expecting her first child, and confined to the life of a housewife. She’s restless and irritable in the enforced idleness of pregnancy and the heat of a New York summer in 1905. So when a trip to the post office brings a letter addressed to her old detective agency asking her to locate a missing Irish serving maid, Molly figures it couldn’t hurt to at least ask around, despite her promise to Daniel to give up her old career as a detective. On the same day, Molly learns that five babies have been kidnapped in the past month.
Refusing to let Molly help with the kidnapping investigation, Daniel sends her away to spend the summer with his mother. But even in the quiet, leafy suburbs, Molly’s own pending motherhood makes her unable to ignore these missing children. What she uncovers will lead her on a terrifying journey through all levels of society, putting her life—and that of her baby—in danger.
City of Darkness and Light (2014)
Molly and Daniel Sullivan are settling happily into the new routines of parenthood, but their domestic bliss is shattered the night a gang retaliates against Daniel for making a big arrest. Daniel wants his family safely out of New York City as soon as possible. In shock and grieving, but knowing she needs to protect their infant son Liam, Molly agrees to take him on the long journey to Paris to stay with her friends Sid and Gus, who are studying art in the City of Light.
But upon arriving in Paris, nothing goes as planned. Sid and Gus seem to have vanished into thin air, and Molly’s search to figure out what happened to them will lead her through all levels of Parisian society, from extravagant salons to the dingy cafes where starving artists linger over coffee and loud philosophical debates. And when in the course of her search she stumbles across a dead body, Molly, on her own in a foreign country, starts to wonder if she and Liam might be in even more danger in Paris than they had been at home. As Impressionism gives way to Fauvism and Cubism, and the Dreyfus affair rocks France, Molly races through Paris to outsmart a killer.
The Edge of Dreams (2015)
Molly Murphy Sullivan’s husband Daniel, a captain in the New York City police force, is stumped. He’s chasing a murderer whose victims have nothing in common—nothing except for the taunting notes that are delivered to Daniel after each murder. And when Daniel receives a note immediately after Molly and her young son Liam are in a terrible train crash, Daniel and Molly both begin to fear that maybe Molly herself was the target.
Molly’s detective instincts are humming, but finding the time to dig deeper into this case is a challenge. She’s healing from injuries sustained in the crash and also sidetracked by her friends Sid and Gus’s most recent hobby, dream analysis. And when Molly herself starts suffering from strange dreams, she wonders if they just might hold the key to solving Daniel’s murder case.
Away in a Manger (2015)
It’s Christmastime in 1905 New York City, and for once, Molly Murphy Sullivan is looking forward to the approaching holidays. She has a family of her own now: she and Daniel have a baby son and twelve-year-old Bridie is living with them as their ward. As Molly and the children listen to carolers in the street, they hear a lovely voice, the voice of an angel, and see a beggar girl huddled in a doorway, singing “Away in a Manger.” Bridie is touched by the girl’s ragged clothes and wants to help her out if they can. They give her a quarter, only to watch a bigger boy take it from her. But Molly discovers the boy is the girl’s older brother. They’ve come from England and their mother has disappeared, and they’re living with an aunt who mistreats them terribly.
Molly quickly realizes that these children are not the usual city waifs. They are well-spoken and clearly used to better things. So who are they? And what’s happened to their mother? As Molly looks for a way to help the children and for the answers to these questions, she gets drawn into an investigation that will take her up to the highest levels of New York society.
Time of Fog and Fire (2016)
Molly Murphy Sullivan’s husband Daniel, a police captain in turn-of-the-century New York City, is in a precarious position. The new police commissioner wants him off the force altogether. So when Daniel’s offered an assignment from John Wilkie, head of the secret service, he’s eager to accept. Molly can’t draw any details of the assignment out of him, even where he’ll be working. But when she spots him in San Francisco during a movie news segment, she starts to wonder if he’s in even more danger than she had first believed. And then she receives a strange and cryptic letter from him, leading her to conclude that he wants her to join him in San Francisco. Molly knows that if Daniel’s turning to her rather than John Wilkie or his contacts in the police force, something must have gone terribly wrong. What can she do for him that the police can’t? Especially when she doesn’t even know what his assignment is? Embarking on a cross-country journey with her young son, Molly can’t fathom what’s in store for her, but she knows it might be dangerous—in fact, it might put all of their lives at risk.
The Ghost of Christmas Past (2017)
Semi-retired private detective Molly Murphy Sullivan is suffering from depression after a miscarriage following her adventure in San Francisco during the earthquake of 1906. She and her husband, Daniel, are invited for Christmas at a mansion on the Hudson, and they gratefully accept, expecting a peaceful and relaxing holiday season. Not long after they arrive, however, they start to feel the tension in the house’s atmosphere. Then they learn that the host couple’s young daughter wandered out into the snow ten years ago and was never seen again. Molly can identify with the mother’s pain at never knowing what happened to her child and wants to help, but there is so little to go on. No ransom note. No body ever found. But Molly slowly begins to suspect that the occupants of the house know more than they are letting on. Then, on Christmas Eve, there is a knock at the door and a young girl stands there. “I’m Charlotte,” she says. “I’ve come home.”
Wild Irish Rose (by Rhys Bowen & Clare Broyles; 2022)
Rhys Bowen, now writing in partnership with her daughter, Clare Broyles, transports and enthralls readers through the incomparable Molly Murphy Sullivan. A brand new novel in this beloved mystery series is cause for celebration for readers and critics alike.
New York, 1907. Now that she’s no longer a private detective—at least not officially—Molly Murphy Sullivan is looking forward to a time of settled tranquility with friends and family. Back in New York, where her own story began, Molly decides to accompany some friends to Ellis Island to help distribute clothing to those in need. This journey quickly stirs up memories for Molly. When you’re far from home and see people from your country, every face looks like a family member.That evening Molly’s policeman husband, Daniel, is late returning home. He comes with a tale to tell: there was a murder on Ellis Island that day, and the main suspect is the spitting image of Molly. The circumstances are eerily similar to when Molly herself arrived on Ellis Island, and she can’t help but feel a sense of fate. Molly was meant to be there that day so that she can clear this woman’s name.
ALL THAT IS HIDDEN (by Rhys Bowen & Clare Broyles; 2023)
New York, Autumn, 1907: Former private detective Molly Murphy Sullivan is happy with her place in the world. She and her policeman husband, Daniel, have built quite a life for themselves in Greenwich Village, in their modest-yet-beautiful-home in Patchin Place, filled with family, friends, and laughter. Molly and Daniel have a good marriage, a true partnership where they value each other’s opinions in all things.
So when he tells her they’re moving to a fancy home on Fifth Avenue—and that he’s running for the sheriff of New York—Molly is left reeling. Daniel begs Molly to trust him, but why would he run for sheriff on the Tammany ticket? A party known more for kickbacks and quid pro quo than anything else, it used to be everything Daniel despised. So what’s changed? And why didn’t he discuss it with her beforehand? Molly can’t help but wonder what Daniel’s got himself tangled up in… and whether he needs her help to get out.
The incomparable Molly is drawn into the dangerous world of politics, forced to navigate through the webs of lies and deceit which are hidden behind a veil of vast wealth and grandeur.
IN SUNSHINE OR IN SHADOW (by Rhys Bowen & Clare Broyles; MARCH 2024)
New York, 1908: The days are getting longer―and warmer―in Manhattan. Molly Murphy Sullivan doesn’t want to leave her home in the city, but typhoid is back, and she’s expecting. So she heads north with the children to summer with her mother-in-law in Westchester County. Molly tells herself it won’t be so bad; after all, the countryside is pretty, and she’s determined to make the best of it. Even if she’s leaving her husband, Daniel, behind. And at least she’s not the only one heading north. Her great friends, Sid and Gus, are headed to the Catskills to visit Sid’s family.
Though her mother-in-law is a surprisingly excellent host, Molly quickly grows bored. And when Sid and Gus invite her to visit, Molly jumps at the chance to stay with them at an artist’s community. What a pleasant time they’ll have, so far from the city, although Sid isn’t so enthusiastic about having to visit her family in the nearby Jewish bungalow community. But deep in the Catskills, tensions are running high, and it’s not long before a body delays Molly’s return to Westchester.