Time of Fog and Fire

Time of Fog and Fire

Title:  Time of Fog and Fire (Molly Murphy 16)
Author:  Rhys Bowen
Publisher:  Minotaur Books
Publication Date:  2016
ISBN:  978-1-250-05204-9

Book Summary:
Being an honest cop in New York City in 1906 can be a challenge, as police captain Daniel Sullivan is learning.  Distrust and favoritism, combined with a new police commissioner who wants Daniel off the force, make work almost unbearable, so when the head of the Secret Service asks for his help with a secret assignment, Daniel is quick to accept.  As the job comes directly from the President himself, Daniel’s wife Molly is given few details.  Daniel packs a small suitcase and heads to Washington D.C.

A former private investigator herself, Molly now fills her time with keeping their home in order and caring for their 18-month-old son Liam and 12-year-old ward Birdie, but the curious streak has never fully been squelched.  When Molly spots Daniel on a movie news segment, she is shocked to see that he is in San Francisco.  Soon after, a very sweet and caring letter arrives from Daniel, and the genteelness of the syntax and content is very out-of-character.  Molly quickly realizes that the letter is written in a code that indicates that Daniel wants Molly to join him in San Francisco.

Nervous to travel across country quickly takes second place to her fears when she realizes that by contacting her instead of his superiors, Daniel must be serious danger and unsure of whom he can trust.  Molly boards a westbound train with Liam and they begin on a grand adventure.  San Francisco in March of 1906 is truly the Wild West, with immigrants and seekers of riches from all over the world.  Unsure where to start, Molly tracks down a Mrs. Rodriguez, who Daniel had mentioned in his letter.  As Molly delves deeper into Daniel’s mystery, she discovers shocking news that threatens all she holds dear.  Desperate to keep her family safe, Molly must resort to her inquisitive mind and personal fortitude to face the demons of both man and nature.

Book Commentary:
Time of Fog and Fire is the 16th Molly Murphy book and one of my favorite aspects of the series is its consistency of good story-telling.  The series begins as Molly arrives from Ireland, after having left home in dire circumstances.  The series grows and develops as she takes on a detective agency and meets policeman Daniel Sullivan.  Now, as wife and mother, she still keeps her hand in the investigative business, albeit in a rather round-about way.

This books takes Molly and her young son Liam from New York City to San Francisco.  Any parent can appreciate the challenges of traveling with an 18-month-old and Molly’s humor and wit keep the reader (and Liam) entertained.  I love San Francisco, especially at the turn-of-the-century, as it provides such a diverse background of people and cultures.  The author does a nice job at incorporating the varied populations without detracting from the primary story-line.  If you remember your history as well, 1906 is very exciting time in San Francisco!!

Molly is an endearing and enjoyable heroine; she’s got spunk and humanity, but comes across as a true and genuine person.  I really enjoy the interactions she has with her son and ward.  It doesn’t matter what the time period or place in history, all moms really do worry about the same things.

Who might like this book:
This is a great series for someone looking to start something well established.  I read a lot of series and often the plots or characters lose steam and credibility after a while.  Molly Murphy 16 is still as fresh and engaging as the first book.  Rhys Bowen has two other mystery series:  Evan Evans, which is about a modern day Welsh police detective, and Her Royal Spyness, set in London in the 1930’s and starring Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, thirty-fourth in line for the English throne.  I couldn’t get into the Royal Spyness books and have read about half of the Evan Evans series, but Molly Murphy is my favorite.  These are the books in order:

Murphy’s Law
Death of Riley
For the Love of Mike
In Like Flynn
Oh Danny Boy
In Dublin’s Fair City
Tell Me, Pretty Maiden
In a Gilded Cage
The Last Illusion
Bless the Bride
How Now, Don’t You Cry
The Family Way
City of Darkness and Light
The Edge of Dreams
Away in the Manager


One thought on “Time of Fog and Fire

  1. Pingback: Queries and Conundrums: BBA Update! |

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