I have finished a short story for the 33rd book for the book challenge. It was The Amersham Rubies: A Molly Murphy Mystery by Rhys Bowen.
This short story takes place back in Ireland, before Molly came to America, when Molly was still living with her father and brothers in County Mayo in the little cottage. The mistress of the big house has sent word that she wants to see Molly. Molly makes sure her brothers have food to eat and then goes off to the big house to see the mistress. She knows the mistress is giving a ball and thinks perhaps she will be invited to the ball. But instead, the mistress asks to to help dress the guests who will be attending the ball since she doesn’t have enough servants to help them all. Molly is severely disappointed but she holds up well. As she is leaving, the son of the manor arrives with a handsome friend from Dublin. He is an eligible bachelor and both will be at attendance at the ball.
The next evening, Molly puts on her best black dress and goes to the manor house to dress the guests. She is assigned to help Lady Amersham, an arrogant woman whose step-daughter will also be there. She has a rather old-fashioned ball gown with leg o’mutton sleeves and Molly presses it and helps her to get dressed and puts up with Lady Amersham’s insults. Molly helps Lady Amersham put on her jewels, family rubies, she says. Molly stays in the shadows watching the ball. Suddenly the lights go out. Then Lady Amersham screams that her rubies have been stolen. Everyone is searching frantically for the missing rubies. She says a man grabbed them off her neck. Molly sees a mark on her neck. But Molly has overheard something the friend of the son has said to Lady Amersham earlier in the evening. She has pieced together everything. Lady Amersham had an affair with the young man and he was blackmailing her. She pawned her real rubies to pay for the blackmail. These were glass. She pulled these off and hid them in the leg o’mutton sleeves, hoping to get insurance money for them so she didn’t have to tell her husband what she had done. Molly has solved the mystery.
The rest of the book is an excerpt of the book Bless the Bride, the story of Molly’s wedding to Daniel Sullivan, the New York City police captain and her final private detective investigation before she closes down her agency.