I have been a fan of Rhys Bowen’s book for a couple of years. I first discovered her Royal Spyness series, but I also enjoy her Molly Murphy mysteries. I have read all of the Royal Spyness books and most of the more recently published Molly Murphy mysteries, so now I am going back and reading more some of the earlier Molly Murphy books.
Molly Murphy is a young Irish immigrant living in New York City in the early 1900s. She has decided to be a private detective, but this is not an easy job for a woman at the time. As In Like Flynn begins, Molly receives an opportunity to spend part of the summer at Senator Flynn’s grand estate on the Hudson. Her friend, police captain Daniel Sullivan, needs help exposing a pair of spiritualists, and the easiest way to do this is for Molly to pose as Senator Flynn’s distant cousin from Ireland.
So, Molly packs her bags, and pays her “Dear Cousin” a visit. The spiritualists are staying at the request of Mrs. Flynn, who would like to contact her young son. The boy died after being kidnapped, but his body was never recovered. Molly makes some inquiries, and something about the facts of the case just doesn’t make sense. But Molly needs to be careful: she is not being as discreet as she should, and there might be someone out there determined to put a stop to her nosy questions before she exposes too much of the truth.
I enjoyed In Like Flynn quite a bit. Having the book set in a different location is a nice touch; a change of scenery helps keep the book fresh. Bowen does a wonderful job with characterization; the regular secondary characters are delightful, but these new characters all seem to have something to hide. Molly encounters someone from her past, and these scenes are especially tense. The mystery portion of the book is especially gripping, and the climactic scenes are tense.
I would recommend In Like Flynn to fans of historical mysteries. Bowen includes enough background information for these books to function as standalones, but I think there is satisfaction in regarding reading the mysteries in order. There’s certainly a sense of character development over the course of several stories. I am looking forward to continuing to read the Molly Murphy stories I have not read, and I know that I will be sad when I’ve read everything that has been published!