Away With The Fairies is the eleventh novel in the popular Phryne Fisher series by Australian author, Kerry Greenwood. Fresh from solving crimes in Sydney, Phryne is asked by DI Jack Robinson to help out in the investigation of the death of artist and author of fairy tales, Marcelle Lavender. When the autopsy indicates murder by poisoning, Phryne finds herself with three sets of suspects: the residents of the apartment block to which Miss Lavender's Garden Apartment was attached; Miss Lavender's colleagues at "Women's Choice", the magazine to which she contributed; and the writers of letters to the magazine's agony aunt, Artemis, a role also filled by Miss Lavender; as an added wrinkle, some possible suspects belong to two or three categories. Attempts on her life by Chinese thugs, and the likelihood that her lover Lin Chung has been kidnapped in the South China Seas distracts Phyrne's attention from the case. Luckily, Dot is willing to try her hand interviewing suspects, and Cec and Bert find a sailor who can help Phryne track down Lin's location. Greenwood has created another fast-moving murder mystery with plenty of side-tracks to keep the reader guessing. She touches on women's rights in the early 20th century, has Phryne making comment on women's magazines, and includes a wealth of information about piracy, photography, plant diseases, phantom ships, import and export, the smuggling of antiquities and the properties of cyanide. As well as kidnapping, there is mixed marriage, secrets and blackmail, fashion, gardening and of course, fairies. Dot's unfailing support for her boss is truly touching. This is another delightful dip into the 1920's world of Phryne Fisher.
on 1 March 2016
I am favourably impressed by Away With the Fairies, a Phynne Fisher Mystery, the first novel I have read by Kerry Greenwood.
Phynne almost leaps of the page into reality while she invesigates the death of Miss Lavender, the author of children’s fairy stories. But who, would want to murder an old lady, who lives in an apartment in which ‘every surface, horizontal or vertical, was covered in fairies. Bits which could not have fairies painted, embroidered, embossed, stencilled or depicted on carpet, were painted a peculiar shade of fuschia pink’.
Phynne’s investigation leads her to accept a job with the magazine in which Miss Lavender’s fairy stories were published. While she works for the magazine she learns ‘ the ins and outs of publishing’, which added to my enjoyment of the novel.
In order to find out who killed Miss Lavender, and how the murder was committed, Phynne questions the other occupants of the residential apartments, one of which the old lady lived in. She also gets to know the owner of, and the employees at, the magazine.
Kerry Greenwood is to be congratulated on her excellent control over a large cast of characters, who intrigued me while I wondered which one was guilty.
As well as the mystery of Miss Lavender’s sudden death, there is a second one. What has happened to Phynne’s Chinese lover? ‘Her personal life is thrown into chaos. Impatient for her lover’s imminent return from a silk-buying expedition to China, she instead receives an unusual summons from Lin Chung’s family followed by a series of mysterious assaults and warnings.’
I raced through Away With the Fairies with great enjoyment and shall read more of Kerry Greenwood’s novels about the intrepid detective.
on 23 May 2015
another charming story! what i really like is the good pacing of the plot...there are no slow, dead sections, the action rattles on at good speed, new events/clues pop up, and new/old characters play their required parts...and the heroine is everywoman's wishfulfillment...in my next life i want to be phryne, rather than becky sharp (whom she resembles in her bravery and singlemindedness) or anne elliott...what fun!
Detective Jack Robinson asks Phryne Fisher for help in his latest murder investigation. A lady called Miss Lavender who draws flower fairies and writes stories about them has been found dead from cyanide poisoning. Phryne is soon intrigued by the case and takes a job on a woman's magazine, for which Miss Lavender worked, to see if she can unravel the mystery. Discerning readers may recognise references to Dorothy L Sayers' Murder Must Advertise in the author's description of work on a magazine.
Phryne's mind is not wholly on the job because she is worried about her favourite lover, Lin Chung, who has gone missing on a silk buying trip to China. It is this part of the plot which gives the book a very exciting and tension filled ending which kept me reading long after I intended to go to sleep.
I really enjoyed this book as the plot is complex and exciting and I found it interesting to see another side to Phryne herself with her cold implacable anger which stops any opposition to her plans in its tracks. On the surface this series is quite light hearted but there is always a hint of darkness underneath which gives the books their depth.
If you enjoy the Daisy Dalrymple series by Carola Dunn or the Edward Corinth and Verity Browne mysteries by David Roberts you may enjoy Phryne Fisher.
on 10 May 2013
I like the magazine backdrop when Phryne takes a job there, just as I enjoyed the advertising agency Lord Peter Whimsy worked at. The period detail really seems to work - although I admit I know nothing about 1920s Melbourne - but the details seem to ring true. I suppose the murder victim is partly based on May Gibbs (google the gum nut babies if you've never heard of her). Oh, and one of the magazine's advertisers Nutrax for Nerves, surely they feature in Murder Must Advertise? Recommended.
on 7 November 2013
Brilliant book, excellent plot, admirable if amazing heroine. I also admire the way she handles her huge number of characters which she has inherited from earlier books. I would be tempted to kill a few of them off to simplify the book, but she has no problem!