Cover of Murphy's GambitI first read Mitchell when one of her books (End In Fire) came up on the list for this year’s Endeavour Award. I liked that one enough to pick this one up when it showed up on the shelf at the library.

The setting is a far distant future where faster-than-light travel has scattered humans throughout the galaxy. Unfortunately they haven’t been able to leave capitalism behind on the home world, so things are run by a cabal of powerful corporations and the class divide is alive and well, just morphed by space travel from the simple haves and have-nots to those who live in gravity and the “floaters,” those who have worked long enough in zero-gee that they can’t function effectively in significant gravity. The floaters are primarily working class.

The Murphy of the title is a young floater woman who has made it into the galactic police academy and excelled as a pilot. As the book opens, she competes with another student in a test with a new space ship design. She wins, but her chance to capitalize on her success is cut short when she is framed in a crime by a fellow student. And thus begins a series of plot devices that slam our heroine from event to event through the course of the book.

The plot is arbitrary and cliche, but Mitchell speeds through it with such bravado that I didn’t have time to get too annoyed with it while reading the book. There’s nothing subtle about this book, but sometimes it’s fun to read a simple adventure that doesn’t ask too much of your higher reason.