Molly Murphy, an early twentieth-century private detective, returns from New York to her native Ireland, in order to track down her client’s long-lost sister. Along the way, she encounters a dead body in her cabin, revolutionaries in Dublin, and (briefly) James Joyce.
Molly is engaging and quick-witted, with a contrarian streak that gets her into trouble. Bowen evokes the early 20th century from bustling New York to the social stratifications of a liner, to British-occupied Dublin.
The book is marred by some elementary geographical errors: the River Liffey, not Liffy; Dublin is on the Irish Sea; the North Sea is on Britain’s eastern coast.