Molly and Daniel Sullivan are settling happily into the new routines of parenthood, but their domestic bliss is shattered the night a gang retaliates against Daniel for making a big arrest. Daniel wants his family safely out of New York City as soon as possible. In shock and grieving, but knowing she needs to protect their infant son, Liam, Molly agrees to take him on the long journey to Paris to stay with her friends Sid and Gus, who are studying art in the City of Light.
But upon arriving in Paris, nothing goes as planned. Sid and Gus seem to have vanished into thin air, and Molly's search to figure out what happened to them will lead her through all levels of Parisian society, from extravagant salons to the dingy cafés where starving artists linger over coffee and loud philosophical debates. And when in the course of her search she stumbles across a dead body, Molly, on her own in a foreign country, starts to wonder if she and Liam might be in even more danger in Paris than they had been at home.
As Impressionism gives way to Fauvism and Cubism, and the Dreyfus affair rocks France, Molly races through Paris to outsmart a killer in City of Darkness and Light, Rhys Bowen's most spectacular Molly Murphy novel yet.
©2014 Rhys Bowen (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
"Nicola Barber's clear, light voice and facility with accents, especially Irish and French, are well displayed in this latest chapter in the Molly Murphy mysteries, set in the early 1900s." (AudioFile)
I guess because I loved the "Royal Spyness" series, and thought this would be just as good.
That would be wrong.
Okay, so in 1905 NYC policeman Daniel sends Irish wife Molly off to Paris for her safety -- some gang warfare in NY he's trying to protect her from - together with baby Liam, which stretches credulity, right there. A woman and baby traveling alone to Paris is safer than remaining somewhere in the States?
But Molly arrives -- after both Molly and Liam suffer serious bouts of food poisoning and/or sea sickness, and have to wait several days after leaving the ship before traveling on to Paris. But alas, when Molly finally does arrive, the artist friends she was planning on staying with are missing. Gone from their apartment with no indication of where they went. Or why.
So this gives Molly the opportunity to engage in the activity that makes up maybe 60% of the book: she stashes Liam with the baker's wife, who just happens to double as a wet-nurse, then spends her time running around the city, seeking out other artists, presumably to ask if they knew her friends, and if so, where might they be.
For the reader who loves French painting and/or painters, maybe this is a treat, getting to listen in, so to speak, on fictional conversations -- make that rants -- from these various artists. I found it supremely boring. I am no Frankophile, but the unrelieved depiction of these artists as wild men, ranting and raving, every one of them with nothing to say other than to run down the artistic talents of other artists, to be more than a little overtly hostile. Together with the nasty and scheming French landlady, one gets the impression -- right or wrong, I have no idea -- that France has to be anger capitol of the world. Author Bowen doesn't miss a beat in making France unappealing -- all of one's anti-French prejudices are catered to, missing only the description of the stink that must have emanated from the cumulative armpits of these starving artists as they waved their arms around, describing in repetitive detail why no one else other than they deserved to be called "artist."
In fact, in artist Mary Cassatt's walk-on appearance, Bowen allows her to sum it all up. Cassatt, invited to a social event, declines to attend, saying, "I find these young artists to be supremely tedious."
Got it in one, Sister. "Tedious". That's it. This whole book is tedious. I quit listening two hours from the end, with a firm resolution to stick to the rather excellent -- and funny -- exploits of Lady Georgie instead. 'Feh' on Molly Murphy and her friends -- never again.
Ms.Bowen's books are wonderful and Ms. Barber's performances deliver ever time! The great characterization and plot twists move the story forward perfectly as had been the case in every book in the series. This one had the added layer of the Parisian art world and I loved catching a glimpse into that while following Molly on yet another adventure! Brava!
I'm Robert's wife, a retired physician and homeschool mom whose grown kids now love history, literature, sci-fi, fantasy, historical fiction
The saga continues successfully. I was afraid that the story would get dull once certain domestic milestones were reached but this one was going strong!! Loved it. Made me decide that I want to go back an listen to the whole series again.
You just want it to go on. This is what we all love best about a series. We want to know what happens next!
I like Molly. She is a little stupid sometimes, but she is a great character. And besides, where would the excitement be if she were cautious?
Thanks to the author for all of the fun.
I have either gotten used to the narrator or she has gotten better after 11 books. Daniel is almost likable. I hope that trend continues. I still love Molly, Sid and Gus.
Retired tech writer/editor. Mensa. Pgh Steelers/ Penguins fan. Lib Dem/feminist. Grew up reading lit--M.A. English--now read mys/thrillers.
Yes. Have read a bunch of Rhys Bowen now. Enjoy this reader A LOT.
Not wasted so much time with Molly's searching for her friends in Paris. Think they could have sent word to her SOMEHOW. All that work to find them was ridiculous.
Also didn't like Daniel Sullivan's dictatorial man bosses wife attitude.
Love her lilting Irish Molly.
What I most enjoyed was meeting the artists - Degas, Picasso, Mary Cassatt. Delightful window into history even if totally imagined.
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