Cover image for Whatever happened to Molly Bloom?
Whatever happened to Molly Bloom?
Stirling, Jessica, author.
Personal Author:
First world edition.
Publication Information:
Sutton : Severn House, 2014.
Physical Description:
251 pages ; 23 cm
Format :


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FICTION Adult Fiction Popular Materials-Mystery

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The first in a new series featuring Detective Jim Kinsella. Who murdered Molly? Was it Leopold Bloom, in the kitchen, with a teapot . . .?

This finely crafted historical mystery, using several recognizable characters and the famous setting from James Joyce's Ulysses, marks an intriguing departure for saga writer Jessica Stirling.

Detective Inspector Jim Kinsella of the Dublin police force is called to the scene when the body of Molly Bloom has been found in her own kitchen where she has been beaten to death with a teapot. Although her husband, Leopold Bloom, is immediately taken into custody without a convincing alibi, Kinsella begins to have his doubts and suspicion falls upon Molly's fellow singer and alleged lover, Hugh 'Blazes' Boylan.

Kinsella, aided by his colleague, Inspector Tom Machin, probes the conflicting stories of Bloom and Boylan. Were the pair seen fighting outside a brothel the night of Molly's murder? And what of the unusual scent, imported from America and found on a cotton ball beneath the Blooms' bed, that Kinsella hopes will lead him to Leopold's own dirty little secret?

Kinsella is determined to ensure the wrong man doesn't end up behind bars, and, in seeking the truth, stumbles upon more than he bargained for...

Author Notes

Hugh C. Rae was born on November 22, 1935 in Glasgow, Scotland. After graduating from secondary school, he worked as an assistant in the antiquarian department of John Smith's bookshop. His first novel, Skinner, was published in 1963. He wrote several novels using his name including Night Pillow, A Few Small Bones, The Interview, The Shooting Gallery, The Marksman, and Harkfast: The Making of a King. He also wrote as Robert Crawford, R. B. Houston, James Albany, and Stuart Stern.

Using the pseudonym Jessica Stirling, he wrote more than 30 historical romances. He wrote the first few novels with Peggie Coghlan. However, when she retired 7 years after the first book was published, he wrote the remainder on his own. The books written under this pseudonym include The Spoiled Earth, The Constant Star, Hearts of Gold, and Whatever Happened to Molly Bloom. He died on September 24, 2014 at the age of 78.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Stirling takes readers to James Joyce's Dublin in this mystery featuring some of the characters from Ulysses. Detective Inspector Jim Kinsella of the Dublin police arrives at Number 7 Eccles Street, not knowing why he was called. Once inside, he sees the body of singer Molly Bloom, who has been bludgeoned with a teapot. Her husband, Leopold, is the obvious suspect, but Kinsella is not sure he's guilty. Conflicting stories from Leopold and Molly's alleged lover, Hugh Blazes Boylan, who also sings, leave many loose ends. Were they arguing outside a brothel? Did Leopold leave the door unlocked when he went out to the butcher shop? Leopold has no alibi, and Hugh has a very bad temper. Then there is the unusual scent from an imported American perfume found on a cotton ball under the Blooms' bed. Leopold is definitely hiding something, but what? Stirling's creative use of Joyce's characters will charm readers who enjoy historical and literary mysteries.--Bibel, Barbara Copyright 2015 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

What if James Joyce's Leopold Bloom was accused of the murder of his wife, Molly? Stirling (Lantern for the Dark) explores the possibilities in a mystery whose execution doesn't do justice to this imaginative premise. Insp. Jim Kinsella of the Dublin Metropolitan Police investigates after someone uses a teapot to fatally bludgeon Molly in her bed one day in the spring of 1905. Her husband is the obvious suspect, though he says she was dead when he entered the bedroom. Bloom had motive as well. Molly, a popular singer, was having an affair with Hugh "Blazes" Boylan, as in Ulysses. Those familiar with Joyce's novel will appreciate how Stirling works in details from it. For example, Bloom's taste for organ meat plays a part in his ostensible alibi, since he claims to have been at the butcher's when Molly was killed. But readers who haven't read Joyce will likely find this to be a dull and pedestrian whodunit. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Review

At 7 Eccles Street in Dublin, Molly Bloom was found beaten to death in the kitchen with a teapot. DI Jim Kinsella considers the husband the likely suspect. With no real alibi, Leopold Bloom is arrested, but Kinsella soon finds another potential culprit in the form of Molly's alleged lover, Hugh "Blazes" Boylan. As Kinsella and his colleague Insp. Tom Machin begin to investigate, Molly and Leopold's daughter, Milly, arrives, and more questions than answers are revealed. Keeping the wrong man from going to prison may prove to be a most difficult case for these Dublin inspectors. VERDICT Harkening back to James Joyce's Ulysses, Stirling offers a literary twist on the historical mystery that may appeal to both Joyce readers and mystery buffs who like their crime fiction populated with famous literary characters (e.g., Carrie Bebris's "Mr. & Mrs. Darcy" series; Laurie R. King's Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes books). Stirling is the pen name for author Hugh C. Rae, who died in 2014. (c) Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.