Cover image for Tell me, pretty maiden
Tell me, pretty maiden
1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Minotaur, 2008.
Physical Description:
293 p. ; 25 cm.
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It's wintertime in New York, and for the first time since Irish immigrant Molly Murphy started her early-twentieth-century detective agency, she is completely snowed in with work. While she's proving to be quite the entrepreneur and is very much in demand by some of Broadway's brightest stars and Fifth Avenue's richest families, she has to grudgingly admit that if she's going to work more than one case at a time, then she's going to need some help. Molly's beau, the recently and wrongly suspended police captain Daniel Sullivan, would make an ideal associate, but before they can agree on the terms of his employment, they stumble upon a young woman lying unconscious in the middle of a snow-covered Central Park. When the woman wakes up she is disorientated and has and lost her ability to speak, the authorities are about to pack her off to an insane asylum when Molly can't help but step in and take on yet another case.Lively and colorful, full of absorbing historical detail and delightful characters, Tell Me, Pretty Maiden is another gem in Rhys Bowen's multiple award - winning series.

Author Notes

Rhys Bowen was born Janet Quin-Harkin in 1941 in Bath, England. She earned her bachelors degree from the University of London. Soon after graduation she worked for the British Broadcasting Corporation as a studio manager and writer. She then took a job working for a textbook company developing reading texts before writing her own books. Her first picture book - Peter Penny's Dance - was published in 1976 and changed her career to children's book author. The book earned praise and won numerous awards. In 1981 she wrote a teen novel entitled California Girl which became the first installment in Bantam's Sweet Dreams series. This series grew to include novels such as Love Match, Daydreamer, and Ten-Boy Summer. These Sweet Dreams books started a major trend in young adult publishing. they were praised as an encouragement to reading. Janet Quin-Harkin also authored non-series fiction for adolescents such as award winning novel Wanted: Date for Saturday Night and Summer Heat. She also wrote the young adult historical novels Madam Sarah and Fool's Gold. She then moved on to writng mystery novels whcih included her Constable Evans series. Her book Royal Blood made the New York Times Bestseller list.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

Several cases keep Molly Murphy busy in Agatha-winner Bowen's winning seventh mystery to star the Irish immigrant PI (after 2007's In Dublin's Fair City). In December 1902, Molly and her beau, suspended New York City police captain Daniel Sullivan, stumble on a near-dead young woman in a Central Park snowdrift. Her passions roused, Molly sets out to discover the identity of the poor traumatized creature and that of whoever cast her into the snow "clad only in a flimsy white dress." Meanwhile, leading actress Blanche Lovejoy hires Molly to look into the ghostly shenanigans that threaten disaster for Blanche's soon-to-open new play. Molly also agrees to help a wealthy society matron who wishes to know if her missing Yale student nephew has vanished because of the murder he's suspected of committing. Theatrical life becomes the hinge on which everything swings, and Molly gamely takes to the stage as part of her assignment. It's all in a day's work for this delightfully spunky heroine. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Booklist Review

For readers who love mysteries more for character development than puzzle solving, the seventh Molly Murphy novel, set in early-twentieth-century New York City, does not disappoint, despite its reliance on a fairly formulaic plot. Molly, a charmingly conflicted sleuth with the requisite shady past, is hired to spy on a potential suitor for a wealthy Jewish family but also must deal with a drama queen's paranoiac fear and a troubling missing-persons case and, on top of all that, she rescues a beautiful amnesiac found senseless in the snow. Luckily, she has the help of her love interest, Daniel, the chauvinistic, dishonored former policeman, and a slew of influential friends, including Nelly Bly, to sort out all the inevitably interconnected plotlines. Molly may lack the psychological depth of Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs, whose series is set in England after World War I, but Bowen makes the most of her New York locale and strikes a similar tone with her engaging female detective.--Baker, Jen Copyright 2008 Booklist

Kirkus Review

Molly Murphy's detective agency suddenly has too many cases for the independent Irish lass to solve alone. Recently returned from adventures abroad, Molly Murphy is checking the background of a young man for his fiance's family when two difficult cases fall into her lap. Actress Oona Sheehan asks Molly to help fellow actress Blanche Lovejoy find a ghost in a haunted theater, and a wealthy woman begs her to discover what happened to her nephew, a Yale student accused of robbery and murder. Most pressing is her desire to identify a beautiful mute girl she and Daniel Sullivan found, near frozen, in snowy Central Park. Because the girl, who has been taken in by Molly, lacks identification and cannot speak, the police plan to send her to an insane asylum. Since Daniel has been suspended from the police force, Molly enlists him to help with her caseload. She takes a small part in the play Blanche Lovejoy is starring in; Daniel investigates a fianc; and they both travel to New Haven in hopes of discovering what happened to the wealthy student, their romance progressing in fits and starts along the way. Not as satisfying as Molly's last adventure (In Dublin's Fair City, 2007, etc.), but bolstered by sharp historical backgrounds and wacky adventures. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Library Journal Review

It's tough being a female PI in New York City in 1902, but Molly Murphy, through sheer persistence, is making it work. In this seventh addition to Bowen's Agatha Award-winning series (after In Dublin's Fair City), Molly and her police captain beau, Daniel Sullivan, find a young woman lying unconscious in the snow. Bowen keeps the story moving as Molly's efforts to find out how the victim ended up that way take her from Broadway's theaters to the flophouses of lower Manhattan. There is never a simple answer to questions in Bowen's fiction, and this engaging novel is no exception. A great series for those who like stories about women who face impossible odds but make their lives work, a la mysteries by Jacqueline Winspear and Kathy Lynn Emerson. [Library marketing campaign planned.-Ed.] (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.