St. Martin's, Dec 2003, 23.95, 320 pp.
In 1901 private detective Molly Murphy decides to remain in New York City in spite of the recent death of her boss, Paddy Riley (see DEATH OF RILEY). Her plan is to continue Riley's detective agency though she lacks experience, having never flown solo.
Her first case without her mentor involves someone who is stealing the designs sketches of lower Manhattan's Mostel and Klein garment factory. Even worse, their biggest competitor Lowenstein is getting their garbs into the stores first. Molly goes undercover learning first hand how intense a sewing job can be in a sweatshop. While still trying to discover the thief she begins a second case. Her client Major Favisham sent her a letter from Ireland to find his daughter Katherine who sailed to New York with a bum Michael Kelly. Unbelievable at least to Molly her two cases begin connecting even as the danger mounts to her.
The star is a gritty New York at the turn of the previous century. The story line is cleverly designed so that the two subplots merge into a cohesive tale. The additions of a police officer romantic interest and Molly's just two steps above amateur status make for a delightful experience.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner