City of Darkness and Light is the thirteenth book in Rhys Bowen’s Molly Murphy series, and it takes Irish-American Molly (now Sullivan) from New York to gay Paris.
The once-fiery, independent redheaded detective has settled into life as a wife and mother; little Liam occupies most of her time, and for the most part she’s okay with that. It’s actually her husband’s work — going after the new Italian gang, the Cosa Nostra — that sets her on her journey. In retaliation for police arrests of key members, the Italians throw a bomb into the Sullivan home, causing a massive and deadly fire. For her own safety, Daniel decides to send Molly to stay with friends in Paris.
Paris is the obvious choice only because Molly’s neighbors, the bohemians Sid and Gus, have gone there to pursue their art and poetry careers, and they had already begged Molly to join them. Molly sets sail as soon as she can, but arrives in France seasick and alone, only to discover that Sid and Gus have disappeared. Fortunately they’d paid for their flat in advance, and Molly’s able to stay there while she searches for them.
The usually sure-footed Molly is anything but in the turn-of-the-century Paris. All sorts of art and literary figures turn up during Molly’s search — Degas is a hero, Picasso a jerk — and yet she’s primarily concerned with how they can help her find her friends. She’s also worried about Daniel back at home and can’t imagine how they’re going to be able to rebuild their home.
The trip overseas makes for a nice change of pace, and being away from Daniel allows Molly to get back to her investigative role, yet I was glad when Molly set sail for New York; it’s surely where she belongs now.
I read a library copy of Rhys Bowen’s City of Darkness and Light, and I don’t think I’ve said it lately, but I sure do appreciate my local library.