Irish immigrant and private detective Molly Murphy is thrilled to have a ticket to see world-famous illusionist Harry Houdini. But before he can even take the stage, the opening act goes horribly wrong—and the sensational Signor Scarpelli’s lovely assistant is sawed in half. In the aftermath, Scarpelli accuses Houdini of tampering with his equipment. Who else but the so-called Handcuff King could have got a hold of his trunk of tricks, which he keeps under lock and key?
And it seems the maestro Scarpelli’s not the only one critical of Houdini. Now that he’s raised the stakes to such a perilous level, lesser acts are being put out of business. With everyone on edge, Houdini’s wife hires Molly to watch his back. But how can she protect a man who literally risks his life every night? Now it’s up to Molly to keep an eye on Houdini and find out whether these masters of illusion are simply up to their tricks—or if there truly is something much more treacherous going on…
©2010 Rhys Bowen (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
I've mostly enjoyed this series - there is definitely a formula at work here, but it results in a good, light story with attention to historical detail. However: I flat-out HATE Daniel Sullivan, the main character's love interest, and I'm quickly losing respect for Molly as she seems to be oblivious to his unrelenting sexism. Also, Daniel and Molly keep having this conversation:
Molly: I need you to use your police skills to find out X.
Daniel: I will not, because I disapprove of your pursuit of your career, and also I think you are a hysterical female and no crime has actually occurred, you just think there is one because you are so fantasy-prone.
Molly: But (however many) people have died, and someone tried to kill me!
Daniel: Then your work is too dangerous and I forbid you to pursue it. Also, you're just imagining things.
Molly: I've also been receiving threatening letters/been poisoned/been locked in a trunk and thrown in the river, etc.
Daniel: Your delicate ladybrain is just overwrought (pats hand patronizingly). When we are married, you will not have to think anymore, you will just do what I say. Won't that be easier? Also, stop pursuing this dangerous career, which is full of terrible danger, even though you have imagined all this danger.
Adding to his terribleness, Daniel hates Molly's friends and actively works to keep her away from them, is embarrassed by her whenever he is with any of his friends or colleagues, and frequently mentions how once they are married, she will be too busy doing laundry and raising babies to do anything outside the home, in a "joking-not joking" kind of way. At the beginning of the series, there was some nice romantic tension between these two, but at this point I think the best thing that could happen would be for Daniel to die and for Molly to run off with Sid and Gus to start some sort of lesbian commune for artists and detectives.
I like to listen to books!
This book was very interesting! You think one thing of a character and it turns out that was wrong. You think something has happened to a character and turns out that was wrong too.
The narrator is very good. Does voices for each character so you know who is who simply by the voice. I like her, very good.
This book has many twists. Don't think you got it all figured out before its over!
Interesting historical fiction and interlacing of fictional characters and historical figures such as Houdini. The heroine's 'young man' is an insufferable chauvinist who becomes increasingly annoying as the series progresses. He is a distraction and inconsistent with the independence and self actualization of the heroine. The neighbors across the street are much more interesting and a good vehicle for introducing new characters and settings to the series.
Interactions of the heroine and several White House officials.
Inability to voice multiple male characters. Inconsistent voicing of heroine, who sounds like a little Irish girl, a Brit, and a recent Irish immigrant. I'd prefer she voice and Irish woman and stick with that.
No, primarily because I've already listened to the story.
Rhys Bowen's Royal Spyness series is much superior to this one. The characters are reliably consistent.
Member Since 2006!!
I love this series, obviously since I am up to Book 9!
I understand that a huge part of the subplot in the series is the relationship between Molly and Daniel, and I get that if they got married in Book 2 it would have been too soon, but I am getting tired of the “my wife won’t work” part of Daniel’s character so I am looking forward to getting that all resolved.
Time to move on! Keep working, get hitched and have those babies already!! There’ll be lots of good stories to tell around that and I am looking forward to them all!
Fun and entertaining. I enjoy learning about the time period and actual characters who lived then. I fun way to learn some history. While still being entertained.
I just love the series and the characters. If there are any flaws, I probably wouldn't notice.
Nicola Barber is wonderful actress and makes these books come alive. I will look for audio books performed by her to find authors who are new to me.
Best of continued luck to Rhys Bowen and Nicola Barber.
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