Unforgettable characters and a fascinating 1920s setting.
It's the end of the roaring twenties, and the exuberant and Honourable Phryne Fisher is dancing and gaming with gay abandon. But she becomes bored with London and the endless round of parties. In search of excitement, she sets her sights on a spot of detective work in Melbourne, Australia. And so mystery and the beautiful Russian dancer, Sasha de Lisse, appear in her life. From then on it's all cocaine and communism until her adventure reaches its steamy end in the Turkish baths of Little Lonsdale Street.
©2006 Kerry Greenwood (P)2006 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
“A delicious bon-bon of a book that will have readers eagerly looking forward to the sequel." (The Weekend Australian)
"A scintillating start to the series." (The Advertiser)
Retired "Okie" librarian & happy to have found Audible for good stories & staying in touch with new authors & books.
My first and first in the series of Phryne Fisher mysteries was a lighthearted romp through 1920s "Mod" Melbourne, Australia. I already have another Kerry Greenwood book in my library, "Unnatural Habits", book 19. It was on sale. I think the quick wit, and fast pace of fashion, drugs, and flapper politics make a nice break from the sometimes rich & heady reads I have like Phil Rickman, Tana French, & Peter Lovesey.
Evidently there was an "ABC" TV series I missed, but the narrator & the author's craftsmanship made up for the visual of a TV series. Besides I have seen Lord Peter Whimsey & Poirot mysteries on "Mystery", I can imagine. Catch one of these sassy stories for yourself.
Nonfiction writer by day, fiction lover by night.
This is a heroine who can do anything - anything! And she is never afraid of anything and is always confident she'll come out just fine. Which is to say that she is totally unsympathetic. Fiction is about facing challenges - how is that possible when you never feel challenged by anything? I loved the setting and some of the other characters, but when your main character is so perfect she's boring, it's a big disappointment.
Narration was overall very good, except for the voice of the love interest, which killed any desire I might have had to hear more from him.
Down the rabbit hole into a ring a fire- the magic of words lifts me higher and higher.
This book was exactly what I needed precisely when I needed it-serious subject but a campy and bullet-proof approach. Total melodrama!
I am new to this series, having picked up #11 at a discount store because I needed ANY book for a long car ride about 6 months earlier. At the time I thought Phryne was too much: too perfect, too calm, too rich, too clever, too modern, too lucky, too too much to be a early 20th century woman in Society; and that I would never be able to tolerate that much orchestrated perfection in a character.
However, having read a very sad and serious book and feeling on the blue side myself I thought about the adventurous detective named for a courtesan and how her exploits with the fairy lady had made me smile. I sought out the first in the series and learned how she came to Australia and became involved with her circle of friends and fiends.
Phryne reminds me of Albert Campion with a bob!
She returns to Australia to inquire about a young lady's health to sooth worried parents. She has shown herself clever, solving the theft of a expensive necklace during a dinner party, and the parents feel that because the two girls are of a similar age and social status that Phryne can befriend their daughter and get at the root of her health issues. They worry that the husband is at fault. Phryne is able to accomplish her mission, as well as prevent a suicide, stop a backstreet abortionist who kills as many mothers as babies, and find an elusive cocaine kingpin. All of this discovery doesn't slow down her social life as her company is requested at dinner parties and she is romanced by a very attractive Russian dancer with motives deeper than Miss Fischer's silky skin.
The narration is part of the whole. I don't believe these books could be as enjoyable for me without the matter-of-fact approach to everything that is so well voiced by Stephanie Daniel. The tone would be the same whether passing the sugar at tea or the revolver to a confederate in church, and makes me almost swallow it whole.
Taken for what they are, clever stories about an enigmatic young lady with a penchant for mysteries and collecting people, you will be most heartily cheered and completely entertained.
Phryne Fisher has the potential to be a great character. Her personality and life style and the secondary characters around her distract the listener from a weak story full of plot holes that are never explained. Why, for instance, does the criminal's assistant try to warn Phryne by leaving a note in her coat pocket but later try to shot her. And why does the criminal mastermind try to set Phryne up to be arrested for cocaine possession almost from the beginning of the book. And to make matters worse, I really didn't like Phryne much. The story takes place in Melbourne but could have been anywhere. There was nothing to ground the reader in Australia. Several of the male characters sounded more cockney that Aussie.
I enjoyed the novel overall. Phryne was a little too two-dimensionally goddess-like for me to really sympathise with the character (surely she has SOME flaws?). I do feel, however, as if I would have enjoyed the content of the story much more if I hadn't found the narration so irritating and had been able to focus more on the plot.
In this case I would recommend reading the ebook as a fun, lighthearted mystery novel, but recommend against the audio version! This is a shame because I do love audio books as a medium.
Stephanie Daniel's narration had two major drawbacks for me:
Firstly, she was simply a bad casting choice, as the novel's protagonist and tone are young and vibrant, and her voice made every character and the tone of the novel sound middle-aged.
Secondly, she uses a frustrating
I recently read or listened to the entire series of Phryne Fisher books by Kerry Greenwood in chronological order. I highly recommend doing it in order. I own about half of them and got the others from my library. Some were books and some were audiobooks on Audible.com or on CD. I think that listening to the books adds a great deal to the stories, since they are performed so well. The performance adds depth and definition to the characters and gives you a better feeling for the setting and the story line. As the first book in the series, listening to Cocaine Blues sets you up for visualizing the characters in other books, even if you are just reading them. Doing a mixture of both kept the characters fresh in my mind and helped define their personalities.
The Phryne Fisher mysteries are fun to read and give you a lot of background on Melbourne and other parts of Australia in the 1928+ era. The descriptions of clothes, food, settings, and activities are very interesting, and enhance what are good, light mysteries. There are recipes for cocktails, which is entertaining even if you do not plan to try them and adds to the story.
I'm a retired college professor in love with books in all formats.
Much of this book I liked. The basic story was full of fun possibilities, the heroine unexpected and herself a fun possibility for future adventures. Best of all, to me, was the sense of humor that pervaded.
However, the story is less developed than it should be. There are so few suspects available that the "mystery" was far too easy to figure out and I got annoyed at how long it sometimes took the heroine to catch on. This apparently is first in a series, and that series has promise, but this opening listens like a first novel.
I heard 10 chapter out of 34, and couldn't go on.
The story is thin and uninteresting, the characters completely 2 dimensional, just 100% soap-opera cliche. The so called "mysteries" are almost non-existent. The whole "story" seems to only exist as a feeble excuse for writing about the one thing that IS taken care of in the book: clothing. If you like reading lengthy descriptions of shopping and getting dressed, by all means, get this book. If not, stay away. There's nothing else of value here.
This is a new series for me. I was reluctant to purchase. I am so happy that I took a chance. I was so enthralled that the story was over before I knew it. I will be purchasing the rest of the series and look forward to many hours of listening pleasure.
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