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I guess because I loved the "Royal Spyness" series, and thought this would be just as good.
That would be wrong.
Okay, so in 1905 NYC policeman Daniel sends Irish wife Molly off to Paris for her safety -- some gang warfare in NY he's trying to protect her from - together with baby Liam, which stretches credulity, right there. A woman and baby traveling alone to Paris is safer than remaining somewhere in the States?
But Molly arrives -- after both Molly and Liam suffer serious bouts of food poisoning and/or sea sickness, and have to wait several days after leaving the ship before traveling on to Paris. But alas, when Molly finally does arrive, the artist friends she was planning on staying with are missing. Gone from their apartment with no indication of where they went. Or why.
So this gives Molly the opportunity to engage in the activity that makes up maybe 60% of the book: she stashes Liam with the baker's wife, who just happens to double as a wet-nurse, then spends her time running around the city, seeking out other artists, presumably to ask if they knew her friends, and if so, where might they be.
For the reader who loves French painting and/or painters, maybe this is a treat, getting to listen in, so to speak, on fictional conversations -- make that rants -- from these various artists. I found it supremely boring. I am no Frankophile, but the unrelieved depiction of these artists as wild men, ranting and raving, every one of them with nothing to say other than to run down the artistic talents of other artists, to be more than a little overtly hostile. Together with the nasty and scheming French landlady, one gets the impression -- right or wrong, I have no idea -- that France has to be anger capitol of the world. Author Bowen doesn't miss a beat in making France unappealing -- all of one's anti-French prejudices are catered to, missing only the description of the stink that must have emanated from the cumulative armpits of these starving artists as they waved their arms around, describing in repetitive detail why no one else other than they deserved to be called "artist."
In fact, in artist Mary Cassatt's walk-on appearance, Bowen allows her to sum it all up. Cassatt, invited to a social event, declines to attend, saying, "I find these young artists to be supremely tedious."
Got it in one, Sister. "Tedious". That's it. This whole book is tedious. I quit listening two hours from the end, with a firm resolution to stick to the rather excellent -- and funny -- exploits of Lady Georgie instead. 'Feh' on Molly Murphy and her friends -- never again.
6 of 8 people found this review helpful
This was not my favorite. I started out loving these books but now Molly just seems very predictable and her chance taking on her own seems very immature. I was hoping her character would mature and she would have Gus and Sid as her partners in crime and Daniel and Molly would be a crime solving team.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful