Death of Riley Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Death of Riley

St. Martin's, Dec 2002, 24.95, 320 pp.
ISBN 0312984979

In 1901 New York, Irish immigrant Molly Murphy is not having any success in her search for a job that interests her. Her beau, police captain Daniel Sullivan, wants her to take a job as a companion to a wealthy woman, which she agrees to try. While working, she notices a man lurking around the woman's home in a furtive manner and is told by Daniel that he is Paddy Riley, a private detective.
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Molly nags Paddy until he agrees to hire her as a clerk. One day she finds her employer murdered. Someone has gone through his files and a few days later, someone sets fire to the office, destroying everything inside. Molly has the notebook he always carried around while on a case and she notices that he was very upset about a conversation he overheard in a bar. Molly successfully tracks down one of the people and through him she is able to locate the person he met with that night. Headless of the danger to herself, Molly continues to investigate and brings herself to the attention of a murderer who has every intention of killing again.

Rhys Bowen gives her audience a very accurate picture of what New York City was like for an immigrant in 1901. The heroine is a very spunky and likable woman who acts on her convictions even when it puts her in danger. DEATH OF Riley is a delightful historical cozy starring characters that are eccentric, bohemian, and believable. The ending will come as a shock to the audience because the author cleverly disguises the direction she is moving the story line along.

Harriet Klausner

The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner

Chapter Analysis of Death of Riley

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 10%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 40%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 40%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 10% Tone of story    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) How difficult to spot villain?    -   Difficult, but some clues given Time/era of story:    -   1900-1920's What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   70% Kind of investigator    -   amateur citizen investigator Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Any non-mystery subplot?    -   life in that culture Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   private investigator Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Race    -   British


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Northeast

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment Amount of dialog    -   significantly more dialog than descript

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Rhys Bowen Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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