Wednesday, February 25, 2009

In a Gilded Cage-Rhys Bowen

In a Gilded Cage
Rhys Bowen
Minotaur, Mar 17 2009, $23.95
ISBN: 9780312385347

Following a particularly cold New York winter, two friends of Molly Murphy persuade the private investigator to join the "Vassar Wants Votes for Women" march in the annual Easter Parade. On Fifth Avenue where the parade is held, Molly meets Emily Boswell and several of her socialite friends. They cause a disturbance and NYPD’s finest arrest Molly, Emily and the other women.

Molly's fiancé exasperated police captain Daniel Sullivan gets the females released from their cell, but is uninterested in the women’s right to vote movement. Meanwhile Emily hires Molly to investigate the deaths of her missionary parents and the loss of their estate that she should have inherited; she cannot pay much of a fee because she is eeking out a living at a drugstore.

As always with this excellent early twentieth century Manhattan mystery series (see TELL ME, PRETTY MAIDEN), the time and place make for a terrific read. The Boswell inquiry and another investigation are cleverly drawn emphasizing that Molly’s sleuthing business is booming, but it is Rhys Bowen’s description of Easter Parade New York that makes for a vivid look back to the beginning of the last century.

Harriet Klausner