• City of Darkness and Light

  • A Molly Murphy Mystery, Book 13
  • By: Rhys Bowen
  • Narrated by: Nicola Barber
  • Length: 10 hrs and 23 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (917 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Molly and Daniel Sullivan are settling happily into the new routines of parenthood, but their domestic bliss is shattered the night a gang retaliates against Daniel for making a big arrest. Daniel wants his family safely out of New York City as soon as possible. In shock and grieving, but knowing she needs to protect their infant son, Liam, Molly agrees to take him on the long journey to Paris to stay with her friends Sid and Gus, who are studying art in the City of Light.

But upon arriving in Paris, nothing goes as planned. Sid and Gus seem to have vanished into thin air, and Molly's search to figure out what happened to them will lead her through all levels of Parisian society, from extravagant salons to the dingy cafés where starving artists linger over coffee and loud philosophical debates. And when in the course of her search she stumbles across a dead body, Molly, on her own in a foreign country, starts to wonder if she and Liam might be in even more danger in Paris than they had been at home.

As Impressionism gives way to Fauvism and Cubism, and the Dreyfus affair rocks France, Molly races through Paris to outsmart a killer in City of Darkness and Light, Rhys Bowen's most spectacular Molly Murphy novel yet.

©2014 Rhys Bowen (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Nicola Barber's clear, light voice and facility with accents, especially Irish and French, are well displayed in this latest chapter in the Molly Murphy mysteries, set in the early 1900s." ( AudioFile)

What listeners say about City of Darkness and Light

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Why on earth did I buy this thing?

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.

7 people found this helpful

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Not the Molly I know

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

No. The narrator is very poor. Very girlish and fake Irish accident. She does not sound like the feisty character she is in the books. Also to be honest too much crying and screaming and worrying about the child to be interesting. This will probably be the last of this series I will read. It was much better when she wasn't married.

What didn’t you like about Nicola Barber’s performance?

Very girlish. All the women sounded like they were 12 years old. No one sounded confident or like an adult. Bad accents

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

Nope. There are other books in the series that would make much better movies than this one.

3 people found this helpful

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Poor recording quality

The story line was ok, but the quality of the recording of the last couple of books has been distracting. In this one, it seemed like someone else narrated the french words and they dubbed them in.

2 people found this helpful

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Paris without Daniel

It was refreshing not to have him constantly "forbidding " Molly to sleuth and solve crime

1 person found this helpful

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Very predictable

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 person found this helpful

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A Delight!

Ms.Bowen's books are wonderful and Ms. Barber's performances deliver ever time! The great characterization and plot twists move the story forward perfectly as had been the case in every book in the series. This one had the added layer of the Parisian art world and I loved catching a glimpse into that while following Molly on yet another adventure! Brava!

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great story and great narrator--the saga continues

The saga continues successfully. I was afraid that the story would get dull once certain domestic milestones were reached but this one was going strong!! Loved it. Made me decide that I want to go back an listen to the whole series again.

1 person found this helpful

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Very good

I especially enjoyed how Rhys included the familiar artists into the story. I also thought Nicola Barber did a wonderful job with the French accent and places!

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Fabulous

Another great adventure for Molly in Paris!

I have enjoyed doing research on some of the people in history that are mentioned

On to the next!

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Great Series!!

Delightful. stories. I have come to greatly appreciate the talent of Rhys Bowen writing. The narrator is fantastic!!

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  • Mrs. C. Hunt
  • 02-18-20

City of Darkness and Light

This is a brilliant detective story where she seems to stumble across the clues. Read with great feeling by Nicola Barber

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  • Lyn
  • 05-11-21

biased I'm a fan

enjoyable and entertaining Paris in the time of the great artists. Molly solves another case.

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