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.
This is a delightful series--entertaining characters, perfectly paced, colorful settings & escapades, amusing romantic romps, and oh yes--always a mys..Show More »tery to solve as well. Stephanie Daniel reads these books so well--and along with the peppy accompanying 20's style music--they make the perfect complement to the writing. (In fact, after listening to the first three books in the series, I doubt reading one would be as good!)
In this book, Phryne is riding with Dot, her companion, on a train--when the entire car is sedated by chloroform being sent through the ventilation system. Phryne practically single-handedly rescues most of the people herself (no surprise, if you know Phryne from past books), and immediately is immersed in the crime (murder of one of the passengers). This leads to all sorts of complications as side issues--including the introduction of two girls whom I presume we will see in future books. (Don't know, since I'm listening to them in order). Agatha Christie would have loved this book, with it's modern style of writing about a crime on a train--taking place in her era :-)
There is everything to love about this series and this book. The only reason I gave the story 4 stars instead of 5 this time was because it was WAY to easy to finger the culprit early on. However, even if the culprit had been named in the first paragraph, this book would still be a super read/listen. It has a kind of charm to it that simply captivates my imagination. Highly recommend!
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.
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 str..Show More »ing 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.
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!
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.
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.
This was a treat to my ears ,Miss Fisher lady detective is witty and timeless ,her constant composed manner delighted me to no end ,she is a wonderful..Show More » charterer surrounded by warm and generous cast of friends, all spoken with love by the out standing narrator.I plan on reading all of them with in the near future.
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.