Murphy's Lore: Tales From Bulfinche's Pub
By Patrick Thomas
(This review originally ran in the May 7-13, 1998 Long Island Voice)
Reviewed by Beth Hannan Rimmels
Forget that place where everybody knows your name; the regulars at Bulfinche’s Pub are much more eccentric and fun. What else could you expect from a Manhattan bar owned by a leprechaun, with the Greek gods of wine, food and communication acting as bartender, cook and errand boy, and Hercules as a bouncer?
Murphy’s Lore: Tales from Bulfinche’s Pub is a collection of short stories set in this unusual bar. Patrons find the pub by following a rainbow. Most end up sticking around as regulars, like Father Mike, a devout priest who has literally stared down demons; Lucas, a vampire who survives on animal blood; Joseph, the Wandering Jew who at Bulfinche’s finally finds a respite; Roy G. Biv, a paraplegic clown who regains his spirit thanks to the crew at Bulfinche’s and many more.
The book is very hard to put down with stories ranging from the silly seriousness of "Jinn & Tonic" to the creepiness of the story explaining where socks go to the starkness of "New Heights." The narrator is Murphy, one of the bartenders and a wise guy who always goes for the joke, so even the most serious story has one-liners. Most of the tales mix laugh-out loud bits with serious consequences, but the most amazing part is how author Patrick Thomas blends real-world issues and the magical patrons without being trite, maudlin or predictable.
Homelessness comes up a few times because bar owner Paddy provides meals, a place to stay and a mailing address for any homeless person seeking work. With the help of Rebecca, a homeless regular who won’t take his aid, he’s helped get many people off the street and many children into loving homes. But even Paddy cannot guarantee a happy ending. One child with Down’s Syndrome they helped is later murdered, and while they make sure the killer can’t do it again, they also can’t restore Peter. Gods hanging out in the bar are a huge perk, but these are gods with a little "g" so even their abilities are limited.
Murphy’s Lore should do well for the Farmingdale, NY-based Padwolf Publishing. Just remember two things: hope and happiness never die and at Bulfinche’s, the first drink is always on house.
© 1998 Long Island Voice