Thursday, March 21, 2013

Book Review: The Family Way by Rhys Bowen (Molly Murphy #12)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Molly and friends, great ending
Cons: Plot uneven, usual conflict with Daniel
The Bottom Line:
Journey back in time
As pregnant Molly searches
For missing woman

Molly Won’t Let Pregnancy Stop Her from a Case

New York City has provided the setting for many a mystery, and so it’s hardly a surprise that Molly Murphy has found plenty of cases to solve there.  The newly married Molly Sullivan has supposedly given up her life of sleuthing, but she can’t seem to quite let it go.  The Family Way is the twelfth in the series, and her fans will enjoy catching her latest adventure.

It’s summer, and a pregnant Molly is attempting to survive the heat while also dealing with boredom.  Her new husband, police detective Daniel Sullivan, is insisting she take it easy, but she is finding it hard to fill her days.

While looking to find a servant for when the baby comes, Molly almost witnesses a woman’s baby kidnapped on a busy New York City street.

But the case that really consumes her is a case she gets quite by accident.  Her old detective agency receives a request from the relatives of a young woman who had immigrated to America and then vanished.  With the barest of clues to go on, she begins the hunt.  Will she be able to find the woman or will she put herself and her baby in danger?

Danger is Molly’s middle name, or it should be, so the answer to the last question takes care of itself.  But it’s the search for the missing woman that is the main focus of the book.  Unfortunately, this isn’t one of the stronger plotted books in the series, with coincidence playing a bit too much of a part for my liking.  Additionally, the pacing is off early on, and the book doesn’t quite seem to know what story it wants to tell.

However, things get better as the book progresses, and I soon found myself caught up in the hunt.  By the end, Molly makes some very astute deductions that solve things; she’s definitely become a good detective over the course of the series.

Molly is her normal charming self, although I did want to slap her at one point.  Still, it made for an exciting part of the story.  Her friends Sid and Gus play a larger roll in this book, and they are always a true delight.  Daniel has always tried to keep Molly away from his cases and the danger that seems to find her, but I found him especially frustrating here.  At least Molly did admit to herself that he makes some good points (since he does).  Still, this is one plot point I really wish would be resolved.  Daniel doesn’t have to like Molly’s detecting, but at least stop fighting about it.

The writing is always excellent, and the book is no exception.  Molly is a charming host as her first person narration gives us an inside view of the action.  And the description is so sharp I really did feel like I was right there surviving the heat with her.

While I did pick on the flaws, I did enjoy the book overall.  Time spent with Molly is always enjoyable, and her many fans will enjoy The Family Way.  If you haven’t met her yet, start with Murphy’s Law and get lost in time.

And if you are looking for the proper sequence, here are the Molly Murphy Mysteries in order.


  1. Thanks for the review - I have the first book in this series and I'm looking forward to starting it

    1. If you're just finding Molly, you've got a lot of good books ahead of you.