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Showing posts by: Rhys Bowen click to see Rhys Bowen's profile
Nov 12 2015 5:30pm

Away in a Manger: New Excerpt

Rhys Bowen

Away in a Manger by Rhys Bowen is the 15th installment in the Molly Murphy series set during Christmastime in 1905 New York City (available November 17, 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.

New York City, Wednesday, December 13, 1905

Tis the Season to be jolly,” sang the carolers outside Grace Church, while across Broadway the brass band of the Salvation Army thumped out “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” in competition. It seemed as if the whole of New York City was suddenly caught up in the Christmas spirit. I maneuvered Liam’s buggy along the crowded sidewalk, checking to make sure that Bridie was walking close beside me. In such a crowd one couldn’t be too careful. Everyone seemed to be laden with packages and baskets of food items needed for holiday baking. It had been a year of optimism, with President Roosevelt elected for his first full term of office and the Wright brothers showing the world that airplanes really could stay up in the sky for more than a few seconds. We were definitely in the age of progress.

[Continue reading Away in a Manger now!]

Mar 5 2015 2:00pm

Casting TV Crime with Rhys Bowen and Tasha Alexander

Joan Hickson as Miss Marple

Join Rhys Bowen and Tasha Alexander as they discuss their favorite (and least) crime televison series, casting decisions, and ponder the perfect actors to play their own leading characters!

Rhys Bowen: Tasha, do you watch many mysteries/crime shows on TV? I am not a huge TV viewer and I find that most of the shows I choose to watch are on PBS. And my favorites are the oldies: Poirot, Miss Marple, Inspector Morse. I enjoy some of the DCI Banks and the Dalziel and Pascoe but most of the newer ones seem to have too much violence, and their plots have gaping holes in them.

You'll notice that all the shows I've mentioned are British. Maybe it's just my nostalgia for my homeland, or maybe it's just that the BBC does better productions with more eye for detail (again nostalgia on my part as I used to be part of BBC drama and always loved the lengths we would go to get it right).

A current favorite is the one with retired policemen solving cold cases. (Is it called New Tricks?) Again I like it because the characters are likable and human, although some of the plots stretch my credibility a trifle! Oh, and I do like Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.  (But then I love anything in the Twenties, especially the costumes.)

I'm wondering if I enjoy a TV show more or less if I've read the book. From this list it would appear to be more—although there have been some awful Miss Marples. I'm not too keen on the present one. They portray her as nosy, snooping and making bad decisions about going into dangerous situations. I LOVED Joan Hickson. She really got Miss Marple right, don't you think?

[Your turn, Tasha...]

Feb 28 2013 9:30am

Those Gallant Young Gals in their Flying Machines

Do you remember that fun old movie about pioneers of aviation? Actually several of the most daring, most accomplished flyers in the early days of aviation were women. Everyone in America knows Amelia Earhart and everyone in Britain knows Amy Johnson. These two women set incredible records, not equaled by men. Amy Johnson was the first person to fly solo from London to Australia, in a Gypsy Moth airplane—open cockpit, literally tied together with string and paper wings. If she had crashed in the desert there would have been no hope of rescue.

Amelia, of course, did pay the ultimate sacrifice when attempting to cross the Pacific.

I’m mentioning these women because I write about feisty females in the early twentieth century. Not that Molly Murphy is anything as glamorous as an aviatrix (as they were then known). But she’s a female detective—a profession definitely thought then to be an unsuitable job for a woman. I get letters telling me that no woman could really have done the things that Molly does. Women at the time were helpless creatures, dainty, wafting their smelling salts.

[We beg to differ...]

Feb 2 2013 10:00am

The Family Way: New Excerpt

Rhys Bowen

An excerpt of The Family Way by Rhys Bowen, volume 12 of the Molly Murphy mystery series set in New York City in the 1900s (available March 5, 2013).

Molly Murphy—now Molly Sullivan—is a year into her marriage, expecting her first child, and confined to the life of a housewife. 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 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, her husband 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 put her life—and that of her baby—in danger.

Chapter 1

New York City, July 1904

Satan finds work for idle hands to do. That was one of my mother’s favorite sayings if she ever caught me daydreaming or lying on my back on the turf, staring up at the white clouds that raced across the sky. I could almost hear her voice, with its strong Irish brogue, as I sat on the sofa and sipped a glass of lemonade on a hot July day.

Frankly, I rather wished that Satan would find me something to do with my idle hands because I was dying of boredom. All my life I’d been used to hard work, forced to care for my father and three young brothers after my mother went to her heavenly rest. (At least I presume that’s where she went. She certainly thought she deserved it.) And now, for the first time in my life, I was a lady of leisure. Ever since I found out I was in the family way, back in February, Daniel had treated me as if I was made of fine porcelain. For the first few months I was glad of his solicitous behavior toward me as I was horribly sick. In fact I began to feel more sympathy for my mother, who had gone through this at least four times. But then, at the start of the fourth month, a miraculous change occurred. I awoke one morning to find that I felt well and hungry and full of energy. Daniel, however, still insisted that I did as little as possible, did not exert myself, took no risks, and generally behave like one of those helpless females I so despised.

He wanted me to lie on the couch with my feet up and spend my days making little garments. I had tried to do this and the quality of my sewing and knitting had improved, but still left a lot to be desired. Besides, I knew that my mother- in-law was sewing away diligently and that my neighbors Sid and Gus would shower the child with expensive presents.

So this left long hours to be filled every day. Our little house on Patchin Place could be cleaned in a couple of hours. I did a little shopping, but Daniel’s job as a police captain meant that he was seldom home for lunch and sometimes not even for dinner, so little cooking was required. I was glad of this when the weather turned hot at the end of June as my growing bulk meant that I felt the heat badly. Daniel suggested that he could fend for himself just fine and I should go up to his mother in Westchester County, where I’d be cooler and well looked after. I didn’t say it out loud but I’d rather have endured a fiery furnace than a prolonged stay with Daniel’s mother. Not that she was an ogre or anything, but her standards of perfection and her social interactions with members of high society left me feeling hopelessly inadequate. I knew that she was disappointed that Daniel had not made a better match than an Irish girl with no money and no family connections.

[Read the full excerpt of The Family Way by Rhys Bowen...]