Laurie's Reviews > In a Gilded Cage

In a Gilded Cage by Rhys Bowen
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Oct 11, 2010

really liked it
Read in October, 2010

Molly Murphy, Irish émigré to New York City, has her own detective agency, and definitely doesn’t want to be any man’s servant. Given that this is 1903, this may be a problem. But she gets enough jobs to survive, and her ‘young man’, Daniel Sullivan, who is a NYPD detective, is mostly understanding of this.

When her neighbors- the lesbian couple Sid and Gus- introduce her to some fellow Vassar alums, she gets a couple of new cases. One woman, an orphan, wants to find the truth about her birth; another wants to know if her husband is cheating on her. Molly soon finds herself in a tangle of sudden deaths and assaults on her own life. Are the deaths murder or natural? Is the murderer trying to kill Molly to keep her from the truth? Who stands to gain the most from these deaths?

The novel is an interesting historical mystery that doesn’t bend the mind set of the day too much. The Vassarettes are marching for the vote, so it’s not inconceivable that they would hire a female detective. Molly’s boyfriend still expects (or at least hopes) that she’ll cook dinner for him and obey him when her own safety is involved- things that even today’s men do. I enjoyed the details of the food, clothing, the medicine (one of Molly’s clients works at a pharmacy), the cosmetics and rooms- Bowen has done her research well and obviously loves this era. A fun, intriguing read.
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