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Rhys Bowen and Clare Broyles Discuss IN SUNSHINE OR IN SHADOW


In Sunshine or in Shadow
Rhys Bowen, Clare Broyles

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Molly Murphy Mystery #20

March 2024
On Sale: March 12, 2024
Featuring: Molly Murphy Sullivan
320 pages
ISBN: 1250890780
EAN: 9781250890788
Kindle: B0C1X77V48
Hardcover / e-Book / audiobook
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Also by Rhys Bowen:
We Three Queens, November 2024
The Proof of the Pudding, October 2024
All That Is Hidden, March 2024
In Sunshine or in Shadow, March 2024

Also by Clare Broyles:
All That Is Hidden, March 2024
In Sunshine or in Shadow, March 2024
All That Is Hidden, March 2023
Wild Irish Rose, March 2022

Rhys Bowen and Clare Broyles give the inside scoop on their new Molly Murphy book, IN SUNSHINE OR IN SHADOW.

 

RHYS: Last year I blogged with my daughter Clare to introduce you to her and to our co-written Molly Murphy books.  This year we are celebrating the publication of IN SUNSHINE OR IN SHADOW, which is book 20. TWENTY books in a series is something of an achievement in the cut throat world of book publishing. To keep a series fresh and new and attract new readers all this time is an achievement. We are patting ourselves on the back!

In 2001 the first Molly Murphy book was published. It was called MURPHY’S LAW and if you check on Amazon it is still selling remarkably well. It also came out with a bang, winning the Agatha award plus three others and being nominated for the Mary Higgins Clark award. Molly was an Irish immigrant who had to flee from Ireland in fear for her life, arrived on Ellis Island using another woman’s name only to find herself, under that name, accused of murder.

So her arrival was not auspicious and through the first books in the series her life was a struggle, as it was for all new immigrants. She barely managed to survive and was foolish enough to think she could be a female detective in New York City. What an audacious idea at a time when women couldn’t vote and were still the property of their husbands.  But somehow she succeeded. She’s solved cases ranging through all levels of New York society, from various immigrant communities to the drawing rooms of the Four Hundred. Her personal life has improved as well and she’s happily married. No need to do any more sleuthing, right?

So I put the series on hold…

Until my daughter Clare came along and said she wanted to continue the series with me.  IN my last year’s blog we talked about what it was like to write together. We’ve now finished our fourth book and it’s going so well that it’s a delight for both of us. Clare has injected her brilliant research and her own sense of humor into the stories. She’s given Molly new and exciting tasks and our new book IN SUNSHINE OR IN SHADOW takes her to a completely new territory.

Tell us how you came up with the ideas for this story, Clare:

 

CLARE: Longtime readers of Molly Murphy love her friends Sid and Gus, bohemians from wealthy families, whose real names are Elena Goldfarb and Augusta Walcott. They are so much fun and we wanted to feature them. Rhys and I thought that Elena, who comes from a prominent Jewish family should have connections in the Catskills. In Molly’s time, because racism barred even the wealthiest Jewish families from resorts, Jewish farmers supplemented their income by renting out bungalows in the summer. This was the earliest beginning of what became the ‘Borscht Belt’ hotels, bungalow colonies, and summer camps.

As I researched the Catskills I found one interesting story line after another: As well as the bungalow colonies there were the bluestone quarries, which had paved the streets of New York, and were in crisis after the invention of Portland cement.

Then I came across a bohemian community created by intellectual professional women which was not far from the train that still climbs up into the Catskills. Of course Sid and Gus would want to summer there! And these communities were within the newly created Catskill State park with the first State Rangers and the last stands of doomed chestnut trees. What an amazing time and place for a mystery! A state park next to a bluestone quarry and chestnut trees. Environmental conflict! A community of intellectual women! Small Jewish communities at a time of antisemitism. So much potential for conflict and so many juicy motives for murder.

 

RHYS: We almost had too much good material. I had actually driven through the Catskills so I had a clear visual impression, but I’d never stayed when it was the Borsch belt. Obviously when you are setting a book in a community not your own there is a great challenge to get it right and risks when you make mistakes. Luckily I have friends I can call upon. One of my oldest, dearest friends is a member of the Jewish community in New York City. Through the years we’ve had adventures together. We got locked in the gardens in Gramercy Park once and thought we’d have to spend the night there. So I asked for her help. I told her the story was set in the Catskills when the Jewish bungalow communities were first springing up.

And her first words were, “I know Grossinger’s grandson if that’s any help.”  Uh yes. That might be good. (You remember that Grossingers was the biggest and best hotel in the Catskills for many years, but not built at the time we’re writing about). Judy visited museums and collections for us and checked on our language, including our lamentable lack of Yiddish. She was also helpful with the nuances within the Jewish community where our story takes place.

Also helpful is the fact that Molly is an outsider and sees this community from an outsider’s point of view.

 

CLARE: Judy was such a gift to us! She has so many connections with the Jewish community past and present in the Catskills and New York City.

 

RHYS: For those of you who haven’t met Molly yet, how would you describe her, Clare?

 

CLARE: An Irish redhead who loves adventure. She is learning to juggle motherhood to a teen and a toddler while not giving up on herself as an investigator. As you can tell from the cover, Molly is pregnant in this book, and doesn’t let that stop her getting into danger in pursuit of the truth! I really enjoy writing about Molly. It is like having an escapade with a good friend; a friend who can be counted on to get herself into trouble and never let herself be put down without a comeback; a friend full of wit and compassion. I hope the readers enjoy exploring the Catskills through her eyes.

 

RHYS: For some readers this will be immersion in a community different from theirs, for others it will be happy memories of a childhood in the Catskills. Clare and I hope you enjoy it. Let us know by commenting on my Facebook page or Instagram.

IN SUNSHINE OR IN SHADOW by Rhys BowenClare Broyles

Molly Murphy Mystery #20

In Sunshine or in Shadow

Retired Detective Molly Murphy Sullivan is back with In Sunshine or in Shadow, the latest book in this beloved series by New York Times bestselling author Rhys Bowen and Clare Broyles.

New York, 1908: The days are getting longer—and warmer—in Manhattan. Molly Murphy Sullivan doesn’t want to leave her home in the city, but typhoid is back, and she’s expecting. So she heads north with the children to summer with her mother-in-law in Westchester County. Molly tells herself it won’t be so bad, after all the countryside is pretty, and she’s determined to make the best of it. Even if she’s leaving her husband, Daniel, behind. And at least she’s not the only one heading north. Her great friends, Sid and Gus, are headed to the Catskills to visit Sid’s family.

Though her mother-in-law is a surprisingly excellent host, Molly quickly grows bored. And when Sid and Gus invite her to visit, Molly jumps at the chance to stay with them at an artist’s community. What a pleasant time they’ll have, so far from the city, although Sid isn’t so enthusiastic about having to visit her family in the nearby Jewish bungalow community. But deep in the Catskills, tensions are running high, and it’s not long before a body delays Molly’s return to Westchester.

 

Mystery Historical [Minotaur Books, On Sale: March 12, 2024, Hardcover / e-Book, ISBN: 9781250890788 / eISBN: 9781250890795]

The Countryside Proves Less Than Idyllic and More Like Murder in the Latest Molly Murphy Mystery

Buy IN SUNSHINE OR IN SHADOWAmazon.com | Kindle | BN.com | Apple Books | Kobo | Google Play | Powell's Books | Books-A-Million | Indie BookShops | Ripped Bodice | Audible | Walmart.com | Target.com | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR

About Rhys Bowen

Rhys Bowen

Rhys Bowen is the New York Times bestselling author of more than forty novels, including The Venice Sketchbook, nominated for the Edgar Award for Best Novel; The Victory GardenThe Tuscan Child; and the World War II-based In Farleigh Field, winner of the Left Coast Crime Award for Best Historical Mystery Novel and the Agatha Award for Best Historical Novel.

Bowen’s work has won over twenty honors to date, including multiple Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards. Her books have been translated into many languages, and she has fans around the world, including over 60,000 Facebook followers.

Her Evan Evans series, set in Wales, is currently being reissued by Joffe Books in the U.K.

A transplanted Brit, Bowen divides her time between California and Arizona.

 

Royal Spyness | Molly Murphy | Constable Evans

WEBSITE | AMAZON | BLOG | GOODREADS | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

About Clare Broyles

Clare Broyles

CLARE BROYLES, who is Rhys Bowen's daughter, is a teacher and a musician. She has worked as a composer and arranger in the theater for both Arizona Theater Company and Childsplay and was nominated for an Arizone 'Zoni' theater award. Clare is married to a teacher and they have three children.

Molly Murphy

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK

 

 

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