Review: The Ghost of Christmas Past (Molly Murphy #17) by Rhys Bowen

This is one series that I really need to go back and enjoy from beginning to end! While most of the Molly Murphy books can be read as stand alone books, why deprive yourself of such fun reading?

I’ve only read one of the books in this series but I was very impressed with the quality of writing and mystery of that book and I was eager to read more by her. I’ve read one of her stand alone books and while good, I think her mystery books are better personally.

My mom keeps giving me a copy of popular series, HER ROYAL SPYNESS, I have like 4 copies now. So her books are clearly popular! So when this Christmas book in the Molly Murphy series came up, I was happy to jump back in and review another one of her novels!

Semi-retired private detective Molly Murphy Sullivan is suffering from depression after a miscarriage following her adventure in San Francisco during the earthquake of 1906. She and her husband, Daniel, are invited for Christmas at a mansion on the Hudson, and they gratefully accept, expecting a peaceful and relaxing holiday season.

Not long after they arrive, however, they start to feel the tension in the house’s atmosphere. Then they learn that the host couple’s young daughter wandered out into the snow ten years ago and was never seen again. Molly can identify with the mother’s pain at never knowing what happened to her child and wants to help, but there is so little to go on.

No ransom note. No body ever found. But Molly slowly begins to suspect that the occupants of the house know more than they are letting on. Then, on Christmas Eve, there is a knock at the door and a young girl stands there. “I’m Charlotte,” she says. “I’ve come home.” (summary from Goodreads).

For a novel that was more of a novella in length for me, this book packed a punch. While not technically a novella, it was shorter than I was expecting but as I said it packed a punch that I wasn’t expecting from the length.

It had a lot of things to enjoy but what I think I liked the most was watching Molly’s transformation in this book. She starts out depressed from a recent miscarriage and by the end she is coming back into herself. I loved watching her heal through her work. It was touching and made me love her all the more.

As I said, most of the books read fine as stand alone books however as with so many series that stretch to this many volumes, I am sure there are plenty of bits that I am missing from previous books. But I think that Bowen does a great job at helping new readers navigate the past while keeping up on what’s going on in the current book.

I also loved how much holiday cheer this novel had, if you are looking for holiday reading but don’t really want to go the romance route, consider picking this one up instead. I loved the way Bowen describes the holiday season at the turn of the century, it was interesting and I loved how well researched and detailed her descriptions were.

Bowen’s writing quality is superior and I can see why so many people love her books. Well written, well researched, with satisfying mysteries. This is a series that I really need to start from the beginning but have no issues with picking up books randomly throughout and still finding things to enjoy! Again….quality, quality, quality!

Book: The Ghost of Christmas Past (Molly Murphy #17) by Rhys Bowen

  • Kindle Edition, 288 pages
    Expected publication: November 14th 2017 by Minotaur Books
    ASIN B071V56DLF
  • Review copy provided by: Publisher/Author in exchange for an honest review

This book counts toward: NA

  • Hosted by: NA
  • Books for Challenge Completed: NA

Recommendation: 4 out of 5

Genre: Mystery, cozy mystery, historical fiction

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