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Phryne Fisher rescues a young journalist, Polly Kettle, from an awkward and potentially dangerous situation. Shortly afterwards she hears Polly has gone missing. Her friend – Detective Jack Robinson – asks for her help. Phryne, in her usual inimitable fashion, starts asking awkward questions and soon discovers that Poppy was onto something.

Girls are disappearing without trace and it seems as though pregnant girls are being badly treated by the local convent in their Magdalen laundries. Are these two problems connected in any way? What puzzles Phryne most is that the parents of four missing girls, including Polly, seem not be to be all that concerned about their fate.

With the help of Phryne’s many contacts and her adopted daughters, Jane and Ruth ably assisted by Tinker and Dot, the mystery is well on the way to being solved. This book is up to the usual high standard of this entertaining series. In fact in my opinion it is one of the best in the series.

The scenes towards the end of the book on board ship are absolute classics as is Phryne’s disguise. There are many amusing incidents and comments in this fast paced well written story and in spite of the serious subject matter the book is light hearted and exciting. If you have not read any of this series before then start with Cocaine Blues: A Phryne Fisher Mystery (Phryne Fisher Mysteries) – though the series does not have to be read in order. If you like Carola Dunn’s Daisy Dalrymple or books by Rhys Bowen then you may enjoyed the Phryne Fisher series.

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Dead Man's Chest: Phryne Fisher's Murder Mysteries 18 (Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries)

Phryne Fisher has promised her family a holiday at Queenscliff where she is renting a house from an acquaintance. She has promised there will be no mysteries to investigate but when they arrive at the house and the housekeeper and her husband are not there to welcome them it seems as though her promise might not be fulfilled.

Pirates, buried treasure, locked rooms, missing people, a gang of louts and a mystery pig tail snipper not to speak of an elderly lady who sits at her window and watches the world go by and a house full of Surrealists make for a crowded and fast paces plot. This is a light hearted story with plenty to keep the reader interested. There are many amusing touches and I particularly enjoyed the evening Phryne spends with the Surrealists – her temporary next door neighbours.

I liked reading about Jane and Ruth, Phryne’s adopted daughters and Dot also plays a bigger part in this story than she does in some of the books in the series. Her fiancé, Hugh Collins comes to visit on what turns out to be a busman’s holiday for him. This is an enjoyable read which could be read as a standalone story though it is preferable to read the whole series in the right order to see how the characters develop. The first one in the series is ‘Cocaine Blues’.

 

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Murder on a Midsummer Night: A Phryne Fisher Mystery (Phryne Fisher Mysteries (Paperback)) - Large Print - IPS [ MURDER ON A MIDSUMMER NIGHT: A PHRYNE FISHER MYSTERY (PHRYNE FISHER MYSTERIES (PAPERBACK)) - LARGE PRINT - IPS ] by Greenwood, Kerry (Author ) on Jul-01-2009 Paperback

A heat wave is affecting Melbourne at the start of 1929 and trying Phryne Fisher’s patience. Two new cases for her to investigate arrive virtually at the same time.

A devastated mother wants her to investigate the apparent death by suicide of her beloved son and a lawyer wants her to try and find an illegitimate child who is one of the heirs to a fortune. Warring families and thoroughly nasty Bright Young Things are doing their best to disrupt her investigations.

Phryne vows to take her whole family away on holiday once the two cases are settled. I really enjoyed this complex story and loved the ending with the seance organised by Phryne’s lover Lin Chung. It was nice to see more of Phryne’s two adopted daughters, Jane and Ruth and also to see Dot, her companion, playing a part in the investigations.

If you enjoy crime stories with interesting and likeable characters and complex plots then you may enjoy this series. Each book can stand on its own but it helps to read them in order so that you can see how the series characters develop. The first book in the series is ‘Cocaine Blues’.

 

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Murder in the Dark (Phryne Fisher, #16)

Phryne Fisher has been invited to the Last best Party of 1928 which involves staying for a few days at a country house. Her lover Lin Chung does not want her to go but when someone starts sending her threats to try and stop her attending the party she makes up her mind to go anyway – even though she had been in two minds about it. Gerald, one of her hosts, is being threatened and Phryne is asked to try and find out who is behind the threats.

I thought this was a really good mystery story with plenty of suspects and people disappearing here there and everywhere. There are lots of undercurrents and many people aren’t quite what they appear to be. There are plenty of incidents which will keep most readers on the edge of their seats and some marvellously flamboyant characters to enjoy.

If you want something different in the way of crime novels then this well written series, set in Australia in the nineteen twenties could be what you’ve been looking for. It started with Cocaine Blues (Phryne Fisher Mysteries) but the books can be read in any order.

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Go to "Death by Water: Phryne Fisher's Murder Mysteries 15: Phryne Fisher Series, Book 15 (Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries)" page

Phryne Fisher is not looking forward to Mr and Mrs Butler going away for
a fortnight while she has her sister, Eliza and her partner Alice staying with
her. Fearing that she will have a disorganised and noisy time of it she decides
to accept a request from P&O to go on a cruise to see if she can discover
who is stealing passengers’ jewellery.

She takes her companion, Dot Williams with her, and looks forward to a quiet
two weeks with a little light detecting on the side. When she arrives on board
she is given a fabulous sapphire necklace to wear so that she can act as bait
for the thief and she is seated at a table with a group of passengers who have
been on previous cruises when robberies have taken place. Dot, meanwhile eats
with the servants and crew so that she can find out whether there is anyone
suspicious.

This is a fascinating story with plenty of suspects and some intriguing
relationships between passengers and crew. I loved the descriptions of life on
board a cruise ship and the way the relationships between the characters are
brought to life. The book is well written with sparkling dialogue and many
humorous touches. Many of the characters will find their lives have changed –
for better or worse – before the end of the story when the villains are unmasked

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Queen of the Flowers: A Phryner Fisher Mystery (Phryne Fisher Mysteries)

Phryne Fisher, beautiful and rich, has been selected as Queen of the Flowers. Her four attendants are causing her some problems and when one of them disappears Phryne is asked by a businessman to investigate and bring her back.

Then one of Phryne’s own adopted daughters, Ruth, goes missing and is found to have been kidnapped and she has problems of her own. The circus and the carnival are in town and Phryne meets some old friends and makes some new ones including three elephants.

I enjoyed this book and found it absorbing reading. I love the characters especially Phryne’s household – her two daughters, Jane and Ruth and her companion Dot Williams and Mr and Mrs Butler who make the house run like clockwork. I also liked the elephants with their liking for toffee apples and their gentleness with humans. It was nice to see Dot’s fiancé Hugh Collins playing a part in this story as well as old favourites, Bert and Cec.

The intertwining threads of the story are spangled with humorous touches but there are also serious issues including the problems surrounding contacting parents of adopted children and underage sexual relationships.

The deeper issues touched upon make this series more than just light reading and I find the historical background of Melbourne in 1928 brings the story to life. These stories could not have been set anywhere else at any other time as they are so much intertwined with their background. I recommend this series to anyone who likes something a bit different in historical crime.

 

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The Castlemaine Murders: Miss Fisher's Murder Mystery 13 (Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries)

Phryne visits Luna Park – imagine Alton Towers in the nineteen twenties – and discovers a body in the ghost train. It is actually a mummified body which could date back to the 1870s. Naturally she is fascinated and starts investigating and soon starts receiving threats.

Her lover, Lin Chung, has managed to settle a feud with another Chinese immigrant family and wants to search for a large quantity of gold which went missing in the area of Castlemaine about the time the body was mummified in the same area. Phryne’s sister, Eliza, is staying with her as she has fallen out with their father but they are not getting on too well.

This is an intriguing and well plotted mystery. I found the insight into Chinese customs fascinating and I loved the ways Lin Chung dealt with some of his distant relatives’ problems in Castlemaine. I liked the way past and present are linked in the story and the glimpse the reader gets of life in the nineteenth century during the gold rush.

I find this series an entertaining and absorbing read. I think the characters are well drawn and I like the touches of humour and the ways in which the series characters are developing especially Phryne herself. I recommend this series to anyone who enjoys Carola Dunn’s Daisy Dalrymple series.

 

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