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 se..Show More »ries 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.
Phryne Fisher is a very "modern" girl (the servants call her a vamp), which is fitting along with all of the other things she takes on that were forme..Show More »rly exclusive provinces of men. These books illustrate how the world changed immeasurably for women as a result of the Great War, but largely in a lighthearted way. The Australian setting is different, too. I did enjoy this one much more than the first of the series (Cocaine Blues). I couldn't like Phryne Fisher in the first book -- I think she was too abrasive and I didn't really care about her. But in this book, Phryne has become a likable character and a bit of a heroine. The period flavor is substantial and the story is fun and moves quickly. I plan to read more of the series.
The Phryne Fisher series is great fun, featuring a heroine who is beautiful, smart, sophisticated, wealthy, independent, courageous and funny. As in..Show More »dicated by the title, this installment features a murder committed on a train under mysterious circumstances. Phryne, of course, takes the lead in solving the murder with great panache. She is assisted in various ways by her maid Pat, her friend Inspector Robinson, and her pet taxi drivers and investigators Bert and Cec. Along the way, she acquires two adopted daghters (Jane and Ruth), a cat (Embers), and the obligatory new lover (this one a young law student).
These books are lighthearted and filled with atmosphere. However, each book does deal with a serious subject. In this case, it is sex trafficking of young girls.
Phryne is the epitome of the independent woman of the 1920s, displaying great elan, living life on her own terms, and breezing through all challenges and difficulties. The very essence of Phryne is enhanced by the wonderful performances of Stephanie Daniel, who depicts Phryne's character exactly with a breezy, self-assured voice that is perfect for these books.
Highly recommended for a lighthearted break from all those dark mysteries and thrillers.
When I first discovered the Phryne Fisher Mysteries, I loved the carefree and lighthearted atmosphere created by the author, Kerry Greenwood, and..Show More » the narrator, Stephanie Daniel. Death at Victoria Dock opens with Phryne's windshield shattering from gunfire, and her discovery of a wounded young man who dies in her arms. This beginning signals a Phryne Fisher adventure which is not so lighthearted as the rest.
In trying to solve the murder of the young man, Phryne becomes involved with Latvian anarchists (who apparently really were active in 1920's Australia), some of whom kidnap her secretary Dot. She takes an anarchist known as Peter Smith for her lover, and opposes the actions of the other anarchists, leading a plan which thwarts a planned bank robbery by the Latvians.
In the meantime, Phryne has taken on an investigation into the disappearance of a 14-year-old girl who is assumed by her father to have run away. The girl is in school with Phryne's adopted daughters, so they help with the investigation, which uncovers some unsavory goings-on within the girl's family. Needless to say, Phryne solves the mystery and recovers the girl.
All this is accomplished by Phryne with her usual aplomb, but not quite with the same elan as usual. I think this is probably because of the more serious crimes being dealt with. Even at a slightly less lighthearted level, this tale is fun and enjoyable, and even teaches a bit about Australian history. Stephanie Daniel does her customary extraordinary job of narration, giving life to Phryne, Dot, the girls, Bert and Cec, and all the other characters.
In addition, like the other Phryne Fisher audible books, there is the added bonus of a conversation between the author and the narrator, usually talking about where Greenwood got her ideas for the plot of that particular book, and the historical basis for those ideas.
Once again, I highly recommend the Phryne Fisher books to those who like a mystery which is lighthearted, not too violent, and not too graphic in the lovemaiking department.
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 Ph..Show More »ryne (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.
What a marvelous book! Lovely story and I learned SO much. I didn't even know that Gilbert and Sullivan had written a play called Ruddigore. I lear..Show More »ned about it, about Australia in the 1920's and had a marvelous murder mystery to boot!
If you're into sex, suspense and sadistic gore, this is NOT the book for you, but if you love old-fashioned whodunits, download this book today!
The narrator is wonderful and she even sings! (Quite well, too!). More Phrynie Fisher please!! She's wonderful!
This Phryne Fisher adventure is a bit different from earlier Greenwood books. In "Urn Burial," the author has decided to play a game as many earlier ..Show More »mystery writers did in the 1920s and 1930s, sometimes including Agatha Christie. The game involved following the Rules of Murder which had developed over the early years of the genre, and which were "codified" by mystery writer Ronald Knox in 1929.
Knox set forth 10 rules, which he followed in his books (several of those books are available on Audible), including things such as there must be a large party at a country house, no magic or similar gimmicks can be used to solve the crime, there may be no Chinamen introduced into the story, and other matters. (You can find Knox's Rules set forth in the Wikipedia article on The Golden Age of Detection Fiction.) In addition to following those rules, Greenwood also pays homage to Agatha Christie in several details, including naming one of her characters Miss Mary Mead.
I found the story quite engaging, although in a different manner than the previous Phryne adventures. Despite the different structure, however, Phryne is still Phryne, stylish, passionate, self confident, and very much her own woman. As is usual with Phryne books on Audible, there is at the end an interview between the author and Stephanie Daniel, the voice of Phryne, and in these conversations you always pick up a little information about Australia in the 1920s or about Australian history or grography.
I have yet to find a Phryne book on Audible which wasn't fascinating, entertaining, and great fun. They all give you hours of lighthearted adventure, and I love them!
I really enjoyed this one it had a different flavor some how it wasn't something I could put my finger on ,maybe it was because this particular tale i..Show More »s set in Sydney instead of Melbourne .We find our beautiful flapper helping out two chums and a missing Egyptian artifact ,a tad far fetched but that didn't bother me ,Ancient Egyptian curses and the gentleman's game of cricket some how are seamlessly merged into a fantastic story. Only Kerry could pull that off.
I am a Phryne Fisher fan, but this is not my favorite in the series. The main story line is fine and keeping with the series, but the secondary line ..Show More »is getting a bit melodramatic for my tastes. If you do not know Phryne's back-story, this one may seem a puzzle - especially all the continuing characters. If you are new to the series, please start with one of the earlier books. Any of the first three will give you a good start and they are all available on Audible: Cocaine Blues, Flying Too High and Murder on the Ballarat Train.
I loved every minute of it. One is not often able to read books set in 1920's Australia. The details of a city I know well as a modern 21 century ci..Show More »ty were delightful and accurate, the characters were wonderfully crafted and just as I would have imagined them to be in the 1920's.
Relaxing, fun, engaging ..... just made you smile and feel warm inside. Wonderful narrator who turned what could have been a very bland read into something well worth listening to. Congratulations - a job very well done.
Phryne's sister is making her presence known ,and the very cool clam and collected Mr Lin Chung ,is playing peace maker between his family and the who..Show More »o's ,personally I could have lived with out this ,the slow pace of the elderly Chinese foke was starting to erk me.I never mind the appearance of the lovely Mr Lin but I just found myself wishing the tale would get back to our heroin .Stephine Daniels is never disappointing but having said this if this your first book in the sires your thinking of buying I would start closer to the beginning.
This novel is another installment in this lovely series. The focus is back on Phryne and her little family, and less on Lin and the chinese community..Show More ». Many old friends from other books make happy cameos, and Phryne is at her fabulous best saving lives and sorting out messes. The theme of fathers and family is also explored in an interesting way.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and have read several others now in the series. The heroine is a very unusual, brave single woman who rose from rags t..Show More »o riches and leads a unique household and life. Original mystery series set in 1920's Australia.
I think this is the strongest of the Fisher mysteries. Masterful narration once again by Stephanie Daniel. I have downloaded all of the titles avail..Show More »able in this series and I highly recommend. Fun period mysteries that are well-paced, easy to listen to, and not too fluffy. A solid notch above typical chick-lit romances.
Phryne takes herself and Dot, her companion, and Ruth and Jane, her two adopted daughters down to Queenscliff for a summer holiday in a borrowed house..Show More » while her house in Melbourne is being renovated under the watchful eyes of the Butlers. When she arrives, the Johnsons, the caretaker couple who belong to the house are not there and neither is there furniture. The kitchen of the house has been stripped of food and no-one knows where the Johnsons have gone. In the course of finding the missing couple, Phryne gets involved with a film crew, a surrealist party, a treasure hunt and a rum smuggling gang.
This is another great offering from Kerry Greenwood. I wondered how I would like a Fisher audiobook - I have read all the others in hard copy - but found I thoroughly enjoyed it. Stephanie Daniel performs the story well. All in all good value for money.
All good books should have a little of everything - humour, fear, grief, relaxation and exhilaration. And this book has all those in spades.
..Show More »>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.
I didn't know it was possible for one person to feel so polarised about something. But I am!
Usually it requires two individuals of opposite..Show More » opinions to polarise a subject, but somehow, after a couple of hours consideration I've decided I have very dichotomous views about this book. I loved some aspects and really quite disliked others. If I'm brutally honest, if this were a first book in a series, rather than the 20th (and therefore at a stage where I already have a deep connection with the characters) I'm not 100% certain I would have continued the series. I think this book is not a good introduction to Phryne for non-fans, and deviates a little from the perfected formula enough to perturb her loyal fans. It certainly won't make me throw down my Phryne Fisher Fan Club membership card in disgust, but it didn't make me feel like I needed to press "Play Again" as almost every other Phryne novel did.
On the one hand I loved the return of Phryne, as I knew I would. And Phryne was as she ever was; fun and sassy, and meddlesome in her very enjoyable way, and Stephanie Daniel's narration was stellar as always. I also enjoyed the Sherlock-ian story line. By its very nature, a Sherlock theme is not original, but Kerry does a wonderful job of portraying a Sherlock as SHE imagines him (fans of the BBCs Sherlock will have no trouble imagining BC in the role of Rupert). And I think her style of book really has been begging for the opportunity to take a dig at the Sherlock method, so I enjoyed this aspect of the novel immensely. I also thought that the back story of the things Phryne got up to during the war were great, if a little "out of the blue".
Regarding the the bits I did not enjoy (as much): I, like many other readers, was disappointed with the increase in the detailed sex scenes, scenes that I only appreciate listening to when they add to the context of the story. As many of the scenes were filler, (likewise the increase in Phryne's inner dialogue regarding handsome men she'd like to "tumble") I found these scenes to detract from the story rather than add to it. Don't get me wrong - Kerry manages to sound more tasteful than any other author I've read who includes these sorts of scenes, but even done tastefully it didn't interest me. All that said - one presumes that she is under pressure from publishers to include/increase this sort of content as there has a been a HUGE surge in adult content books in the last 2 years, and I suppose the publishers must feel that these sorts of scenes have become necessary to maintain sales, because Kerry has never furnished her novels with such a quantity of "romance" before. In reality, accumulated they account for less than 30 minutes of an 11.5 hour story, so not really voluminous, just more than necessary.
The mystery... well, the mystery was much more the sideline story here than the driving plot line. After I got over waiting for a cracker mystery to unfold, and simply sat back to enjoy the character/Sherlock story line, I enjoyed the book a lot more. In this case, the mystery is just like starch, or emulsifiers in chocolate - necessary to bind the story as a whole and bulk it up a bit, but not really important to your enjoyment of the book. If you go in with low mystery expectations, and simply aim to enjoy the characters you'll feel less disappointed with this book.
On a final note, in a previous review for Unnatural Habits I mentioned that I thought Kerry had done a fantastic job of maintaining the character of Phryne, and she still portrayed a wonderful Phryne in this novel (if more sexy) - for me I felt that this book demonstrated a character change in another key character, and one wonders if a little of the TV show portrayal of said character has rubbed off on Kerry and altered her representation of them? After all, she writes for the TV show as well, so such a change would be understandable. I won't say any more to bias you, listen and see for yourself. After all, it is still a Phryne novel, still an enjoyable listen, and I still recommend it, despite the negative aspects commented here.
Loved the stories. I hadn't read any Phryne Fisher short stories before, though I've read all the novels. Thoroughly enjoyed them and especially loved..Show More » the interview with Kerry Greenwood at the beginning in which she gives her MO for writing her fabulous books.