“The Princesse nudged Phryne in the ribs with an albow evidently especially sharpened for the purpose of compelling attention… She was the last person in the world whom Phryne could imagine selling any sort of drug. She was so oppressively healthy.”
The Honourable Phryne Fisher is rather bored with London society and, having demonstrated some super sleuthing at a party, accepts the commission of a gentleman of wealth to check up on his daughter in Melbourne, who seems to be being poisoned by her husband. Little does Phryne expect the cavalcade of adventures awaiting her in her hometown.
The plot in this opening novel takes a little while to get going, and Greenwood is determined to keep a side-plot rumbling along; as we are being introduced to Phryne and her crew, the slower pace is fine. It took me a while to get into the mystery of the Russian dancers, but as the pace of the book does not permit impatience, one trundles along quite happily.
Phryne is a wonderful character; a dab hand at most things, but not perfect. She rather delights in causing scandal which is usually very funny. I have to say, I love Dot – Phryne rescues her from a bad situation which has made her harbour murderous intentions, and sets her back on the straight and narrow. Dot’s a nervous creature but with a heart of gold, frequently concerned about Phryne’s wellbeing and ethics, but clearly knows a friend when she sees one. The television series appears to stay truer to the spirit of Dot’s character than to Phryne’s (I suspect Phryne is edited on screen for ratings purposes!). Bert and Cec, Phryne’s local henchmen, are also frequently a source of comedy and excellent foils for Phryne (especially the more stubborn Bert).
We are so very firmly in 1920s Melbourne here. The telephone is a source of mystery and fear for those who don’t encounter it often, calling cards are left, Phryne resides at the Windsor hotel and drives the only Hispano-Suiza in Australia. Greenwood sets a compelling stage.
Highly enjoyable and definitely recommended for Australian fans of private investigator fiction and period drama.
Additional infoA birthday gift from The German. Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press, 175 pages (paperback) Order Cocaine Blues (Phryne Fisher Mysteries)from Amazon* * this is an affiliate link – I will be paid a small percentage of your purchase price if you use this link, which goes towards give-aways and site hosting