The Honourable Miss Phryne Fisher is feeling dull. But is shebored enough to leave her identity, her home and family behind and join Farrell’s Circus and Wild Beast Show? There have beenstrange things happening at the circus. And when Phryne is asked by her friends – Samson the Strong Man, Alan the carousel operator and Doreen the Snake Woman – to help them, curiosity gets the better of her. Peeling off her wealth and privilege, Phryne takes a job as a trickhorse-rider, wearing hand-me-down clothes and a new name. Someone seems determined to see the circus fail and Phryne must find out who that might be and why they want it badly enough to resort to poison, assault and murder. Diving into the dangerous underworld of 1920s Melbourne and the wild, eccentric life under the big top, Phryne proves her courage and ingenuity yet again, aided only by her quick intelligence, an oddly attractive clown, and a stout and helpful bear.
Solve another case with Phryne Fisher.
©1994 Kerry Greenwood (P)2011 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
Mystery reader (especially series) and Austen lover
Overcome by boredom, Phryne allows herself to be convinced by some circus friends to join a travelling circus in order to discover who is behind a string of "accidents" which threaten to shut the circus down. She gets hired as a rider in the trained horse act by learning and then demonstrating her ability to stand and stay standing on a cantering horse.
This balancing act is explained in terms that allow me to understand how it can possibly be done. That's one of the side benefits that I enjoy about reading Phryne Fisher books -- Kerry Greenwood always gives the reader some tidbit of knowledge, whether it is some bit of Australian geography or history, cultural history, or how to balance on a moving horse.
This is the first tale of Phryne working independently, with none of her ordinary backup team. Thus she is in more danger and less sure of herself. That makes this 6th Phryne Book a bit more serious than the others. And it also involves a sexual liaison which is more serious than in other books. But, of course, Phryne discovers and exposes the villain with her usual style and grace.
This book was very enjoyable for me, even though it is not as lighthearted as previous books in the series. As usual, Stephanie Daniel does a top notch job of narration. I especially enjoyed the conversation at the end between author and narrator, including the author's story of learning how to stand on a moving horse when she was a child.
Well worth you time.
I can find a book to love in any genre -- a beautifully written classic, an interesting mystery or sci-fi, a trashy romance. Bring it!
STORY (fiction) - This is Book 6 is the series, but it's my first Phryne Fisher book. It's set in Australia sometime in the 1920's. In this story Phryne (pronounced "Frynie"), who is a young lady of privilege, joins a traveling circus to try to learn why so many strange accidents have been occurring. IMHO, the story is really all about Phryne's experience posing as a trick rider in the circus and the characters she meets -- not a lot of mystery or detective work.
The circus characters are interesting and endearing, and I enjoyed the glimpse of circus life. Phryne is promiscuous and "romps" with a couple circus characters, which I was totally not expecting from this book or from her character. The story is a fresh, easy listen.
PERFORMANCE - Great job. She has a pleasant voice and performs multiple European accents. I totally LOVED her performance of the character Lizard Elsie.
OVERALL - Recommended primarily for adult females. There are a couple sexual encounters which are moderately explicit. Very little violence. The character Lizard Elsie is an old woman who curses like a sailor so be prepared for her frequent bursts of F this and F that, but she's a hoot! The story stands alone.
This series is wonderful and a fun listen. I love Phryne's adventures. Kerry Greenwood is an excellent author and Stephanie Daniel's voice superb. Don't worry if you start with this book, all is explained, so you won't be lost wondering who is who.
All the Phryne Fisher books rank near the top of my favorites. I love Phryne Fisher
Phryne is my favorite character because I was very much like her in my youth.
I have listened to other Phryne Fisher books and Ms. Daniel's reading is always wonderful. I love her different voices but her reading style doesn't distract from the story.
Phryne heads for the Big Top.
A lovely window on '20's Australia. Not to be missed!
This book ranks well in the Phryne series. Interesting plot and sub-plots and excellent reader - Kerry Greenwood writes a wonderful yarn and Stephanie Daniel brings it all to life.
The detail of circus life and the training required by the horse folk.
I've seen the ABC1 version and truthfully unless you take all of the book and are true to the Kerry Greenwood Phryne I'm not certain it would be a good move separate from the series.
I wasn't sure I was going to like this one but the experienced reading by Stephanie Daniel keep me interested. It is a rare artist who can perform male and female voices without irritation. Phryne however irritates me just a little more than she entertains me - and I'm not sure why her social standing allows her not to be called a tramp given her penchant for bedding any male she comes across. I enjoyed my trip back to the country circuses and the insight into the moral world of circus folk.
rambunctiously soft spoken.
We find our heroin ,under the big top of a struggling circus,board with her mundane life she gives up the maids and a soft bed for the rugged and harsh circus grounds ,were she is tested socially and psychically finding solace in the arms of a sad clown. There is a lot of swearing in this thanks to the very lovable lizard Elsy ,I only mention in case this turns you away from the ever entertaining Miss Fisher,which would be a great pity.
67 year old artist/filmmaker.
I haven't read the print version but I'm sure this is better because of the narrator.
All of her performances in the Phryne Fisher books have been wonderful. I haven't listened to other recordings she has done.
The Phryne stories I like best are ones that involve her family; my favorite is Dead Man's Chest. However, this one is very interesting. Ms. Greenwood has researched thoroughly and also has had some personal experience.
Retired tech writer/editor. Mensa. Pgh Steelers/ Penguins fan. Lib Dem/feminist. Grew up reading lit--M.A. English--now read mys/thrillers.
maybe. It was really good.
Mostly yes. Well written, good story.
Sympathy immediately drawn to Miss Parkes. She is much like Phryne, so controlled and calm. Turns out this is because she was in prison for years for killing an extremely abusive husband. If you've killed once... So when a fellow border is slain, police suspect her, especially because her circus background makes her the only one likely to have gotten into a locked room through a window 30' up.
The Phryne part of the story didn't intrigue me nearly as much as Miss Parkes and probably one of the best characters I've ever met: four-letter spouting Lizard Elsie, a 50-ish alcoholic who lives on the street and will take on multiple men in a brawl but who basically serves as a life-saving fairy godmother to those who fall into her orbit.
Listened to two other Kerry Greenwood Phryne Fisher novels but narrator outdoes herself in this one because of the voice of Lizard Elsie. Sort of like the Cockney Audrey Hepburn flower-seller in My Fair Lady.
Not possible but would have loved to.
Bring back Lizard Elsie!!! I LOVE this character!!!!!!!!!!!!
Narrator is good, though I find her pacing a bit odd. Story is farfetched and mystery was slight.
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