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Unnatural Habits | [Kerry Greenwood]

Unnatural Habits

1929: Girls are going missing in Melbourne. Little, pretty golden-haired girls. And not just pretty. Three of them are pregnant, poor girls from the harsh confines of the Magdalene Laundry. People are getting nervous. Polly Kettle, a pushy, self-important Girl Reporter with ambition and no sense of self-preservation, decides to investigate - and promptly goes missing herself. It's time for Phryne and Dot to put a stop to this and find Polly Kettle before something quite irreparable happens to all of them. It's all piracy and dark cellars, convents and plots, murder and mystery...and Phryne finally finds out if it's true that blondes have more fun.
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Publisher's Summary

1929: Girls are going missing in Melbourne. Little, pretty golden-haired girls. And not just pretty. Three of them are pregnant, poor girls from the harsh confines of the Magdalene Laundry. People are getting nervous. Polly Kettle, a pushy, self-important Girl Reporter with ambition and no sense of self-preservation, decides to investigate - and promptly goes missing herself. It's time for Phryne and Dot to put a stop to this and find Polly Kettle before something quite irreparable happens to all of them. It's all piracy and dark cellars, convents and plots, murder and mystery...and Phryne finally finds out if it's true that blondes have more fun.

©2012 Kerry Greenwood 2012. (P)2012 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (300 )
5 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Kate 10-31-12
    Kate 10-31-12 Member Since 2010

    I can't write a short review to save myself! Authors put a lot of effort in their books, so a 3 line review can't do justice to my thoughts

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Nothing Unnatural about Phryne"

    All good books should have a little of everything - humour, fear, grief, relaxation and exhilaration. And this book has all those in spades.

    I have to say, I've got a bit of a lady-crush on Phryne. She's the kind of gal you love to love. Wild and chic, tough and compassionate, feisty and laid back. She has a wardrobe I'd love to own; a collection of lovers I doubt I could say no to, a butler who makes cocktails I dream about tasting, but most importantly, she always gets her bad guy.

    Considering the number of years over which the character of Phryne has strutted her stuff (from 1989 when Cocaine Blues was published, to now in Unnatural Habits), I am continually amazed at how true Kerry stays to her character. Very few authors have the ability to delineate such a clear and resonating character who is maintained in all their glory from book 1 to book 19; especially when the dates of publication span more than 2 decades! But Phryne is just as lustrous a character in book 19 as she was in book 1; not a jot of her wit, passion or intelligence has dulled over time. And while she has grown as a person, there have been no jarring changes in personality traits to disrupt the beautiful flow of the series.

    Like many others, I was introduced to Phryne via the Australian ABC TV series, and as someone who has rarely ventured out of the classical literature and fantasy/sci-fi genres, these books have blown me away, and as usual, upon reaching the end of the book I bemoaned the need to wait for however long for the next to be published!

    The content of this story line provided ample opportunity for Phryne's strengths and weaknesses to be amplified. With a darker tone to the mystery placed before her, and more at stake than just finding a killer to be brought to justice; the achingly intense sense of futility that Phryne feels as she works her way through this case is very poignant, and cannot fail to strike a sympathetic chord with the listener.

    Stephanie Daniels is, as ever, the perfect Phryne. Just as Kerry has remained true to the Phryne character over years of development, Stephanie has also maintained such a solid consistency over the duration of the recordings that each character is instantly identifiable from book to book. She is a pleasure to listen to.

    I heartily recommend this book - and if you haven't read the others in the series before it, you won't be disappointed with those either, and I do suggest reading them first. Although each book is a complete story in its own right, there are certain aspects of the storyline that carry over from previous books in the series, that although not necessary to the overall understanding of this book, will certainly enhance your enjoyment of it.

    19 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rio Delta Wild Harlingen, TX 12-31-12
    Rio Delta Wild Harlingen, TX 12-31-12 Member Since 2004

    I enjoy mysteries, NOT thrillers, contemporary fiction, especially about diverse cultures, and sometimes history, if it doesn't involve too many dates. I often listen to a book multiple times, discovering unnoticed details in the retelling.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I'll endeavor to hear more Phryne Fisher titles!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Unnatural Habits to be better than the print version?

    of course! Who doesn't enjoy hearing a story? The accents are wonderful and add lots of depth.


    What did you like best about this story?

    This was a great mystery; one mystery set inside several others.


    Have you listened to any of Stephanie Daniel’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Stephanie Daniel's performance was great!


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Profound interest...I could hardly bear interruptions while I was listening!


    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth Port Townsend, WA, United States 12-19-12
    Elizabeth Port Townsend, WA, United States 12-19-12

    eas

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Phryne Foils White Slavers!"
    Would you listen to Unnatural Habits again? Why?

    Yes. I love the Phryne Fisher series and would listen to all of them again. They take you to another world where everything comes out okay in the end.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Hmmm, I like all of them. I think I especially like Bert and Cess, the old army buddies who are also commies. They're very down-to-earth and devil-may-care at the same time.


    What does Stephanie Daniel bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Oh, her beautiful accent! She makes Phryne sound like the real lady she is.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Phryne giving the story to the bitter male reporter. I liked that bit.


    Any additional comments?

    Waiting eagerly for the next one.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anne Ballwin, MO, United States 11-13-13
    Anne Ballwin, MO, United States 11-13-13 Member Since 2009
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    "Fun to discover a new series"

    I had no idea what to expect with this book and was most pleasantly surprised. The concept is certainly new to me - a British aristocrat in Melbourne in the 1920s who apparently "collects people" and solves mysteries. There is a lot of potential in the premise and Greenwood takes full advantage of it. The plot of this particular novel involves disappearing women and the solution offers us, among other things, a visit to the Magdalene Laundries which were quite real in the 19th and 20th century (and mostly quite horrible.) It's a high compliment when a novel sends me off to research something just because it's so interesting. I was fascinated to learn about the laundries and spent a few hours on the internet researching them.

    The plot involved the genuinely awful but also provided a nice balance of humor and detail. It was clever, complex and interesting and, while there was not much chance for the reader to solve the mystery, I didn't mind just letting the story unfold as Greenwood is an excellent storyteller.

    Stephanie Daniel does a good job with the performance and I had little difficulty keep the characters sorted out.

    I have every intention of revisiting the world of Phryne Fisher and her minions in Melbourne.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Taryn Suffern, NY, United States 06-23-13
    Taryn Suffern, NY, United States 06-23-13 Member Since 2005

    Addicted to Audible!

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    "Silly story only saved by great narrator"

    I purchased this book when it was on sale and it seemed to me to be similar to the Maisie Dobbs series. I was sorely disappointed. Perhaps I should have started with the first book in the series rather than #19, and I wonder why Audible didnt put that one on sale? The story was shallow and poorly written, the only saving grace was the narrator who saved it from being a total waste of time, and the small details about the Magdelene laundry.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Bartonville, TX 06-19-13
    Susan Bartonville, TX 06-19-13 Member Since 2012

    Myst/thrillers and ✨fun fantasies✨are my favorites but always open for a good story.  

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Phryne Fisher is a Hoot"

    A smart, Agatha Chritie-esc series.  Phryne Fisher is a well off, matter of fact aristocrat, who has acquired many important contacts and friends through her previous sleuthing adventures.  Phryne is one of those characters that I wish I knew, she is a real pistol in this delightful book that offers a little bit of everything;  suspense, romance, some off color characters, and a good, believable mystery.

    In this episode Phryne is on a mission to locate three missing, pregnant girls who have all disappeared under similar circumstances.  As her investigation proceeds she must go undercover, and while in disguise, she is aghast to come across some cruel and disturbing crimes being committed by some very unlikely characters.  With the help of the law and her beloved, loyal minions, she sets out to thwart and arrest all nasty, extending tentacles that are attached to her appalling discoveries. 

    Stephanie Daniel is the ideal narrator for Phryne's character.  Her other voices are distinct and create true personality and spirit for each in the vast cast of characters.  This was my first in this series but look forward to more of her fun, fast paced mystery escapades.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jane Darwin, Australia 04-15-13
    Jane Darwin, Australia 04-15-13 Member Since 2009

    Tell us about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wonderful detective with a passion for justice"

    The Hon. Phryne Fisher is a charismatic sleuth who takes on the criminal elements of early twentieth century Melbourne, Australia. She has her adoring 'minions' to support her, inherited wealth to ameliorate wrongs, and a uses her knowledge of the under and upper classes to fight exploitation and cruelty.

    This book is not merely one of a series of highly entertaining, well written detective novels. Greenwood also uses the wonderful Miss Fisher to demonstrate, to expose, and fiercely and passionately condemn, past inustices. Unnatural Habits (delightful play on words there) reveals the existence of church organisations that have been tremendously cruel to women. This is topical as a royal commission into the closely related issue of child abuse in such institutions has just commenced in Australia (April 13).

    Narrator, Stephanie Daniels, brings the many delightful characters to life and without doubt, reflects the very spirit of the author's goals.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan St. Louis, MO, USA 01-21-13
    Susan St. Louis, MO, USA 01-21-13
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    "another good book in the series"

    I always enjoy the Phryne Fischer books.
    This one was a bit more serious than others in the description of the ways the catholic church abused (abuses) unwed pregnant women.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cheryl Douglasville, GA, United States 07-25-14
    Cheryl Douglasville, GA, United States 07-25-14 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not my favorite crime mystery : ("

    This was my first Phryne Fisher mystery by Kerry Greenwood, which was actually Book #19 in a series, so I must say that I wish I had started with Book #1 instead. I was unfamiliar with the characters in the series and because of this, I couldn’t appreciate them the way that I would have, if I had been reading the entire series from the beginning.

    It seemed like a long, slow story set in Melbourne, Australia in the 1920s. It was, however, very well written and had a great narrator, Stephanie Daniel.

    One thing that particularly bothered me was how the lead character, Phryne, called her devoted servants/companions “minions.” I felt it was a negative term implying that they were nameless and faceless servants. Furthermore while reading the story, I felt that she was often times a "snobbish" rich aristocratic and then other times I felt she was very charitable towards needy people. Once again, I have not seen her character develop as others have from Book #1, so that might explain why I disliked her sometimes.

    It’s not really my kind of mystery crime story and it was definitely not as fun and entertaining to me as other readers found it to be.

    I am, nevertheless, looking forward to reading Book #1 “Cocaine Blues” to see if I change my opinion about this series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leslie Philadelphia, PA, United States 04-19-14
    Leslie Philadelphia, PA, United States 04-19-14

    I used to whistle while I worked. Now I read a book!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Thoroughly Modern Phryne"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Not a thing. a delightful read.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The most interesting thing was the VERY modern view the author took on the time. The way it dealt with women in the church and homosexuality.


    Which character – as performed by Stephanie Daniel – was your favorite?

    I think it would be Phryne. She has strength, beauty, charm and cash to back it up.


    Could you see Unnatural Habits being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    Hum. A mini-series would be interesting.


    Any additional comments?

    I think this series is worth exploring.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Mrs. Rm Walters
    Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England.
    3/17/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Brilliant book"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Unnatural Habits to be better than the print version?

    I haven't tried the printed version, though given time I may very well buy it for my Kindle


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Unnatural Habits?

    All of it.


    Have you listened to any of Stephanie Daniel’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    No, but I will be downloading more from this lady.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    There are certainly some funny moments in the book, but also some which make me cross at the inhumanity of mankind.


    Any additional comments?

    A thoroughly good listen, which I had expected having read another of the books in this series. Can't wait to download more.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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