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)
I have to say that the first time I listened to this first book in the Phryne Fisher series, I wasn't crazy about Miss Fisher (an earlier review of mine states that emphatically). But I liked the setting of Australia in the 1920's enough to give Phryne another try, proceeding to listen to about 10 more of her stories so far over the past couple of years.
Through those books I've become very fond of Phryne and her quirks, her thoroughly modern point of view, and her escapades. I recently discovered that there was a television series made about her and watched the first episode. I was happy to have pictures of the period (the cars and the clothes, particularly), but I remembered nothing about the book from watching the first episode (also called Cocaine Blues).
So I decided to give the book another listen. I think that I enjoyed it so much more because it reminded me of where Phryne met and befriended Dot, Bert and Cec, and gave a little background on Dr. MacMillan. Since I'm now I'm aware of Phryne's quirks and attitudes, as well as her generous spirit, I was able to be more sympathetic to her and see her as a person.
I guess my point is: (1) If you are a Phryne Fisher fan but also recall the first book as unsympathetic, give it another try.
(2) If you are NOT a Phryne Fisher fan and decided not to proceed with the other books after reading this one, please give her other books a try and come back to this one after that!
Sexy, Wild, Smart
Phryne, easily. She's unique - smart, independent, rich but since she's had less she has no problems with those who aren't in her "class"
Very good. She does the voices well and reads and a good pace.
(okay -- this seems redundant -- see above-- though the Russian dancer is memorable as well).
Occasionally it gets a little racy -- just be forewarned.
Found out afterwards this is also an Australian mystery series available on Netflix. The stories have been changed somewhat, as might be expected. I'm enjoying both the show and the books.
I almost couldn't finish this book because the narrator made me crazy. I felt like I could hear her swallowing every other minute. Surely an audible book narrator can find a way to combat this problem. Perhaps the producers can edit that horrible sound out? It is so distracting!
Say something about yourself!
I loved the setting and the subtly descriptive way that the author had of fleshing out the world in this novel--Australia in the 1920s, I believe it was. However, the main character does not grow in this book. She comes equipped with every skill she could possibly need to save her life, regardless of the ridiculousness and her young age. The author has Phryne accomplish these random and sometimes quite difficult tasks with no more effort than slipping on a new hat, and tries to make a joke of it by having Phryne mention how it was jolly good luck she'd slept with that gigalo in Paris or rubbed elbows that one time with a race car driver!
In the end, while the story was entertaining, the main character came off as an inconsistently pretentious know-it-all without much thought in her head beyond social interactions, feminism, clothes, and sex. Luckily, the predictable mystery is tailored to her exact experiences, or I don't think I could ever have believed she would solve it.
Unlike the fairly tame Royal Spyness novels, this book could be considered slightly racy, although not especially graphic. The content is a solid PG-13, and does not necessarily contain realistic consequences for anyone's actions. I don't think I would recommend it for men, as the only men in the story are witnesses, criminals, or foreign lovers that are never developed beyond a flat and stereotypical role.
As for the narration, it was somewhat mediocre with the occasional spot on voice for a minor character. Nothing irritating, but also nothing incredible here.
This is one of the best audio books I have listened to. I love MC Beaton's Agatha Raisin, Rhys Bowen's Royal Spyness, and Alexander McCall Smith's Number One Ladies Detective Agency books. This is better than all of those! Of course, it is a bit different in that while it is also a period novel, it is more "adult" in its content than the others. But it is by no means "scandalous" and has only very mild language.The listener will still laugh aloud from time to time. Like the other books, I wish I knew some of the characters in real life!
The characters and places are described so colorfully! The story is sufficiently complex without being confusing. There is a suitable ending for each character.
I usually swim a half mile each morning. Yesterday, I swam an entire mile because I was listening to this on my underwater iPod and didn't want to interrupt the story to shower and get dressed. Finally, I had to get out of the pool, but I kept the earphones in the rest of the day in order to finish the novel. Couldn't put it down! I loved it!!!! Just bought the next one!
Stephanie Daniel's has a wonderful voice that subtly changes from character to character, dialect to dialect. Each voice is appropriate, but none of them are annoying (unless appropriate). There is a quality to her voice that just seems to match the era - a sense that late nights in nightclubs and parties and "gaspers" (cigarettes) have shaped the voice and informed a slightly world weary tone.
The era between WWI and WWII has held a fascination for me for several years now. The young adults lost so many friends, seen and done such traumatic things. For those years, the old rules were challenged, put aside - drugs, alcohol, sex were explored without limits. But at the same time some had grown up, learned empathy and some really useful skills. Phryne Fisher is a wonderful character for this time. She finds life after war somewhat boring and challenges traditional mores, class boundaries, and gender roles. And she does it with class, empathy for others less fortunate. Wonderful characters in this book.In addition to wonderful characters, the descriptions of the clothes, interiors and street scenes are so delightful. The author even sprinkles in slang in a non obtrusive way to give a sense of the era.
It is a very pleasant escape!
This story reminded me a bit of the Vicky Bliss books by Elizabeth Peters.
The reader was excellent.
I took a chance on this book and chose it by the excellent reviews. I was so pleased. It is a pleasurable read with a strong and interesting female character.
The readers voice & the plot & of course Phryne Fisher!
Her voice & her ability to draw me into the characters
Yes, but only when I got about 1/3 way through
The first chapter catches your attention because Phryne identifies a robber within seconds of the theft.
I had trouble getting used to the writing style and narration as both are very clipped due to short sentences. But I got over that halfway thru the book.
She's very clever. The book moves at a decent speed so you don't get bored. A nice, easy, interesting read.
I've read all of the series and hearing them was delightful. The story is the first and sets the stage of who Ms. Fisher is, how she thinks and opens so many doors to the delight you experience under her direction. Her companions are drawn from the selection of humanity placed before her and her ease of deciding a persons worth, regardless of their situation. Her desire for adventure becomes obvious immediately and that curiosity that drives her makes for fun and danger but what a lovely ride, especially with her lovely sports car.I look forward to listening to the entire series and what a pleasure.
Phryne, confident, charming, kind, fearless; what a wonderfully drawn character.
Frankly Ms. Daniel did a wonderful job on all the characters and their various voices.
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