Thursday, April 14, 2016

Book Review: Time of Fog and Fire by Rhys Bowen (Molly Murphy #16)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: History brought to life
Cons: Mystery overwhelmed by history at times, still plenty of plot
The Bottom Line:
Travel cross country
San Francisco set story
More delight for fans

Molly to the Rescue

While I’ve always enjoyed reading the books in the Molly Murphy series, I’ve never been to any of the cities where the stories are set.  So you can imagine the special thrill that I found out that Time of Fog and Fire was going to be set in San Francisco.

Of course, the book opens in New York City in spring of 1906.  It’s been a long, hard winter and winter doesn’t quite seem to want to let go.  Meanwhile, Molly’s husband Daniel is still facing problems at work.  So when Mr. Wilkie of the secret service shows up and recruits Daniel for a secret mission to parts unknown, he agrees to go.  Molly is less than enthused about him being gone and the danger he might face, but he assures her that everything will be fine.

Daniel’s been gone for a couple of weeks when Molly gets a letter from him.  At her first reading, Molly finds it rather infuriating.  But then she begins to think it was really a secret message.  Does Daniel want Molly to join him in San Francisco?  Determined that this is exactly what the letter was all about, she sets out.  But what danger will she find when she gets there?

This book has a different feel than many of the books in the series.  While there is a mystery, it isn’t the strongest element in the book.  Having said that, there is a strong mystery that truly begins to unfold once Molly reaches San Francisco.

However, this book is more about the history.  We get a bit about what cross country travel was like during that period, and it is fascinating.  And always in the back of our minds as we read is why is Daniel sending for Molly?  He’s never encouraged her detective work in the past, so something major must be happening here.

Once Molly arrives, she once again finds herself caught up in some history that complicates her life.  I loved how this whole thing unfolded and couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.

Without slowing things down, we still get time with the series regulars before Molly leaves, and it’s always wonderful to meet up with them again.  Since most of the book takes place away from home, we get a nice collection of memorable new characters, and it wouldn’t surprise me if one of them popped up again in the future.

And the parts in San Francisco?  I loved it!  It was wonderful to visit a city I know now but as it was back in 1906.  While obviously things were different back then, I was still able to picture the parts of the city that Molly visited, which was tons of fun.

The Molly Murphy series has always been a fun way to experience bits of history while enjoying a mystery.  Time of Fog and Fire keeps that tradition alive.  Fans of the series will love their visit to the west coast with Molly.

Enjoy more time in turn of the century America with the rest of the Molly Murphy Mysteries.


  1. This is a series I've really been wanting to try and I like the sound of this one. The mystery of Daniel sending for Molly and trying to figure out just what is going on sounds really fun. I love when a book takes place in a familiar city!

    1. This is one of my favorite series and has been for years. You'll love it.

  2. San Francisco - 1906! Anxious to see if Molly gets caught up in the earthquake. Still have the two from last year to read first - waiting on the paperbacks.

    1. I have no patience to wait for the paperbacks to come out. My hat is off to you.

    2. You can put your hat back on, Mark, at least temporarily. I found The Edge of Dreams hardback used at a good price and just ordered it.

  3. I've hard great things about this author but never read anything yet. I should soon.