Molly Murphy flees 1901's rural Ireland to avoid police scrutiny after she kills a man in self-defense. With all the bad luck the title Murphy's Law implies, she finds herself at the other end of her transatlantic journey in New York suspected of a second man's death. To clear her own name and that of a friend she made on the voyage over, who is another suspect, Molly decides to investigate the murder herself. While the success of her investigation owes more to coincidence and luck than to any keen detective work, the characters and the setting are compelling enough to add interest to a somewhat lackluster mystery plot.
First in a series of historical mysteries, Murphy's Law has been followed to date by 13 other novels featuring Molly Murphy. Rhys Bowen is the author of several other historical mystery series, including the Her Royal Spyness series. Readers may find similarities in Bowen's novels with the works of Deanna Raybourn, Tasha Alexander, and Kerry Greenwood, as they all write historical mystery series featuring women as main characters.