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)
Cocaine Blues is the first book in the Phryne Fisher series, but one of the last to be published on audible. Which may be a good thing, because the series gets blazingly better as it progresses. The series is interesting because it addresses a wide range of people and ideas grinding against each other, but the best of whom cheerfully flow through Phryne's dining room, parlor, and (yes) sometimes her bedroom. I never appreciated, until I began this series the amazing social changes that took place in a very short time between the beginning of the 1900s to the end of the roaring twenties. F. Scott Fitzgerald's Bernice did more than just bob her hair.
Phryne Fisher is a young woman living on the edge of a world changing from the Victorian ideas of women as angels in the home, to the young women who drive ambulances in World War I and are thus allowed/forced to do and see things that even five years earlier would be unthinkable for most females. Phryne herself goes from a child in Australian poverty being called "hey you", to a young woman in England called the Hon. Miss Fisher. Her reasons for returning to Australia would make Agatha Christies proud. As the series goes along we find that she has a very good time in spite of any curves life throws her. The books are well researched as to historical accuracy, and I can't wait to see how Kerry Greenwood goes from the roaring twenties to a very angry thirties, and what Phryne will do next.
Mystery reader (especially series) and Austen lover
This is the beginning of Phryne Fisher's adventures. A wealthy flapper in 1920's England, who began life in poverty in Australia, Phryne decides to battle boredom and ennui by going back to Australia and becoming a private investigator. All very light, but with a kernel of serious concern, and portraying 20's Australia very well. The story is interesting, the writing is very good and often tongue-in-cheek, and Stephanie Daniel provides exactly the right narration -- the perfect inflection and tone of voice for a rich, well-educated, sophisticated woman of the world in the time period portrayed, with an expert delivery of ironic and humorous lines. The first Phryne Fisher book I read was one later in the series, and I enjoyed it so much that I am now working on listening to the entire series in order.
This is the sort of book which will be enjoyed by people who like Amelia Peobody books -- the same sort of independent heroine with an eccentric view of the world, all done with fun and humor. A great escapist experience.
Audiobooks have literally changed my life. I now actually ENJOY doing mindless chores because they give me plenty of listening time!
In the first book of Greenwood's Phryne Fisher Mysteries, we're introduced to our heroine, who might at first be mistaken for a wealthy English aristocrat, though we learn she was born in Australia where she lived in poverty with her parents until the passing of a rich relation in England. Phryne, all grown up and living in England, now has more money than she knows what to do with, and is wondering what she should do with her life, since marriage isn't an option she especially looks forward to. After she uncovers a jewel thief during a dinner party, a couple asks her to investigate their son-in-law, as they suspect he might be poisoning their daughter who lives in Melbourne. Phryne doesn't hesitate to leave boring London society behind and make her way to the colonies for a bit of adventure and excitement. She finds plenty there when she encounters a communist taxi driver, meets a gorgeous Russian male dancer and is on the trail of a cocaine ring that seems to be operating out of a Turkish bath house.
This series is firmly set in the roaring 1920s, but there's no mistaking that it was written in modern times. The doctor friend heading the women's hospital in Melbourne is a feminist who uses language to describe female troubles and anatomy that would have made a 20s female author blush. Phryne isn't afraid to use her feminine allure with an attitude that harks back to the flapper girls of old, who could have taught our modern femme fatales a lesson or two in the art of seduction. You can't help but like a girl with attitude who is also kind and caring, and takes such obvious delight in dressing to perfection for every occasion. This is pure chick lit and no mistake, all good fun and good times, with just the right amount of cheek and naughtiness.
This series is not PG-13 since life isn’t either. It is written in Australian English and not translated. As with all series I find some of the books more appealing than others. The author is knowledgeable in many areas and incorporates research into the stories making the books more sumptuous reading. The story of how the main character at her christening is not named after a Nymph as initially intended but after a courtesan nicely sums up her character and the authors skills in shaping characters with substance and depth. The books are detective stories with several plots developing simultaneously with interesting and surprising details. Several of the characters and their lives are carried on through more than one book wherefore they ought to be read chronologically. Who would have thought that the English aristocracy, Russian revolution, French cocaine and Australian abortion laws could be so exciting and make you chuckle? This author can write.
Say something about yourself!
I was introduced to the Phryne Fisher series via the excellent ABC TV adaption. However, if you think that having seen the TV series spoils the books for you then think again! The plots of the books are quite different to that of the TV adaption and, whilst I could see the origins of the episodes in the books, I was completely enthralled by the books. In fact, it was quite fascinating to consider the differences and similarities while listening.
Without taking anything away from Kerry Greenwood's masterful writing, I can say without any hesitation that Stephanie Daniel's reading made the series come alive for me. Her style captures the character of Phryne perfectly and her versatile voice somehow manages to give every single character their own distinct recognisable voice.
I cannot recommend this series more highly. You will not regret your purchase!
More Phryne Fisher, please!!!!! This is the first of Kerry Greenwood's Phryne Fisher series, and it is just packed with adventure, style, mystery & fun. Anyone familiar with the series will notice that the earlier books in the series are shorter (and this one was no exception), but they are all well worth the time taken to listen to them. And I think that this was definately worth the credit spent. There are still a few books in the series that are not on Audible, and some have not been produced yet by Bolinda, but there IS a brand new one in the series. So I'll say it again ... to both Audible & Bolinda ... More Phryne Fisher, please!!!!!
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.
Probably not-- very light weight though entertaining in parts
This is part of a series but I gather they don't follow this subject--just Phrynne the main character.
It is a good book to listen to when your mind doesn't want to be burdened. The heroine's sexual dalliances are gratuitous but obviously part of her persona. I thought at times I stumbled into a seamy romance novel.
I should start by saying that I'm a big fan of Kerry Greenwood's Phryne Fisher mysteries. Cocaine Blues is the first of these and I was looking forward to experiencing it as an audiobook. I have to say that it was a disappointing experience. Stephanie Daniel fails to relay the liveliness of either the story or of the main character. Some of the accents were slightly suspect, too. Why on earth would Lydia, daughter of the well-to-do Colonel, speak like a cockney? Her accent ought to have cut glass. Small details like this, combined with Daniel's failure to engage with the story, failed to engage this listener. A good story, spoiled in the telling.
Need a light read to entertain you for a few hours? You do do much worse than this short, entertaining view into the dangerous, scandalous and adventurous life of Phryne Fisher. Phryne must be the cause of many grey hairs and sleepless nights for her parents, but I would love to tag along on her next impulsive journey.
If you long for books where the chaste, demure woman and righteous man prevail, this one is not for you. If you think a story should be edifying and have a moral, this book may not be your cup of tea. But if you think a heroine can have fun while sinning and still be able to do the right thing, albeit with verve and style, Phryne may belong in your pantheon of favorite leading characters.
I doubt any of the narrator's accents are accurate, but she keeps the book moving right along with a great pace and plenty of personality.
This is my first Kerry Greenwood novel and will not be my last.
"A positively delightful find"
This was a delightful find - kept my interest right to end. A most unusual set of characters which build up as the books develop. I would recommend this series to everyone.
Based in the 1920,s, the heroine is extremely unique having colleagues and acquaintenances from all walks of life and a varitious appetite for life, adventure and love.
An interesting series being set up here, though the plot owes much to improbable coincidences. The ending comes as no surprise.
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