Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Defending Daniel

My latest Molly Murphy mystery, The Family Way, has been out for a month now and I've been gettins some flak about Daniel and the high handed way he behaves toward Molly. I agree, I wouldn't want to be married to him and be ordered around like that....

however, this is a historical novel. I'm writing about 1905, a time when women had no rights. They could not vote. Not be heard as a voice in the community. In the state of New York, where my stories take place, they could not own property, their husbands could beat them with a stick no thicker around than their thumb (hence the rule of thumb. Who knew?) AND it only took the husband plus one doctor to have them certified as insane and committed to an asylum.

The woman was at the mercy of her husband in all ways. No wonder Molly thought long and hard before agreeing to marry a man she knew she loved. He loves her too, which makes it all right. For a man of his time he is quite understanding, and when there is hitting involved it is interesting to see who does the hitting.

But one doesn't need to go too far back to see the same blueprint for marriage. Look at all those TV shows from the 1950s. I Love Lucy, father Knows Best, Leave It To Beaver. Mom wore the apron, baked the cookies and left the decisions to the dad. Lucy is terrified if she bought a new hat without Ricky's permission.

It is only when women come into the workplace that the playing field evens out. With money comes power. So don't be too hard on Daniel. In the end he really wants to protect Molly, and being a sleuth is really a silly idea for a woman, isn't it? Not that it will ever stop her...
The next book is written and being sent to the publisher this week. it's called City of Darkness and Light and it takes place in Paris. And yes, Molly is again called upon to do a spot of detecting.

This week i'm off to Malice Domestic, the convention in Bethesda, MD celebrating the traditional mystery, and again I'm nominated for an Agatha Award (making my 11th nomination). After that it's over to England for a reunion of college friends and then on to Istanbul for...for much needed R and R.


  1. Thanks for staying true to the period. I hate books, movies, etc, where the time period in which it was produced overrides the period it it supposed to represent. You hooked with me with Evan, but now I love both Molly and Georgie. Keep up the great work!

  2. A reviewer once praised the late Ellis Peters saying she never imposed modern ideas on her characters. I didn't realize what high praise that was until I read historical novels that did just that.

  3. I really enjoy your books, especially Molly, but the others as well. I was a little disappointed that you put Cortland, NY right along the Hudson River in "The Family Way". I went to SUNY-Cortland in central New York State-- quite far away from where Molly was sleuthing. You are so good at the historical details that this was a surprise.

  4. When I am reading about Molly's adventures I envision Hallmark or Lifetime movies in her future and yours! I would hope if this opportunity should occur they would stick to the original premise of your books. I picture a young Roma Downey as I am reading. Look forward to your next book.

  5. I love the "Royal Spyness" series and tried my best to get through all of the Molly Murphy books, but I have such a hard time with Daniel! Historical accuracy is all good and well, but not everyone in 1905 was such a jerk. Molly herself runs into several men along the way who are far more considerate and sensitive than Daniel. Given what a strong woman you've made her, it just doesn't make sense for her to be in love with a domineering chauvinist.