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4.2 out of 5 stars
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4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 5 May 2013
With the Australian TV series currently showing on UK's Alibi channel this series of charming cosy mysteries are finally getting published in the UK, though only the first three to date have appeared via C&R Crime's imprint.

For some reason though they decided to ditch the original title: 'Cocaine Blues' for a more generic title without drug reference even though cocaine and drug dealing does figure in the plot. There was more information given about characters than in the TV series and the plot was a little fuller, so even though I'd seen its TV adaptation there was plenty of new material to enjoy.

This was delightful and dazzling story and one I found totally addictive. More please C&R!
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on 18 December 2007
Phryne Fisher is brilliant, beautiful, wealthy and down to earth, bored with the diversions of 1920's society and looking for something else to keep her amused. On a whim she takes the offer of going to Melbourne to investigate why the daughter of Colonel and Mrs Harper repeatedly took ill. Phryne sails to Australia where before long she is embroiled in discovering who is behind cocaine rings and illegal abortions while all the while keeping her humour, her sass and her slighly outrageous appreciation of men.

I just adored her and I can't wait to read more. The story is light and the characters are amusing. I couldn't put the book down either - it was just too tempting to find out what Phryne would do next. The author has not tried to drown you in depth or literary weight. What she has done is produced a cracking good read which will leave you smiling and looking for more.

I found the first couple of chapters had been edited a little too severely and didn't have the flow of the rest of the book but it was well worth persisting.
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on 23 June 2006
A fantastic mystery the story line was capativating. I couldn't put the book down. A light interesting read. The charecters and settings are well discribed and I felt that I was there; part of the mmystery I am looking forward to reading more books from this series.

Well done MS Greenwood
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on 22 February 2013
This is the first Kerry Greenwood book I have read and have thoroughly enjoyed it. Good characterisation and interesting story line. It is a light read, and this particular story isn't very long. I found i was there with the problem solved before I was half way through, and you will wonder why the police are so stupid as the answer is fairly self-explanatory, but it is very witty and a glimpse into another well healed world! Worth buying.
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on 10 February 2016
The story unfolds effortlessly, with light humour interspersed with a social conscience. Drug dealing – cocaine, obviously – and illegal abortion figure in this tale. Phryne is an emancipated woman, happy to love and leave men – she has no wish for commitment or children. A Russian dancer, Sasha, intrigues her while attending a soiree: ‘The guests were silenced by a painful mixture of Schoenberg and Russian folk-song, derived from musically obtuse Styrian peasants who had absorbed their atonality with their mother’s milk. The sound hurt; but it could not be ignored. Too much of it, Phryne was convinced, would curdle custard.’ (p77/78) Sasha is on a quest of his own, too, and she gets involved in more ways than one.

Her investigations inevitably bring her into the evil orbit of hoodlums: two men accost her – one, with a waxed moustache containing ‘rather more crumbs than fashion dictated…’ while the other possessed a ‘thin moustache like a smear of brown Windsor soup. Both had suggestive bulges in their pockets which told of either huge genitalia or trousered pistols. Phryne inclined to the handgun theory.’ (p81)

Along the way, Phryne recruits Dot as her maid and confidante, and taxi drivers Cec and Bert as her spies and contacts. She briefly meets Detective Inspector Jack Robinson, who is blissfully unaware how Miss Fisher is going to turn his world upside down in future adventures.

An enjoyable crime caper with likable characters and plenty of plot.
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The Honourable Phryne Fisher has moved to Melbourne, Australia. It is the nineteen twenties and she is rich, beautiful and glamorous with a well-developed sense of justice. She has been asked to find out what is happening with Lydia Andrews by her parents, as Lydia always seems to be ill when her husband is at home and well when he isn't. Her worried parents fear he is trying to murder her in order to inherit her money.

Inadvertently Phryne becomes involved in tracking down and exposing an illegal abortionist and a cocaine racket. Then there's the gorgeous Sasha and the mysterious Princesse de Grasse. Ably assisted by the very down to earth Dot who is Phryne's maid and assistant, Phryne cuts a swathe through Melbourne society and routs out the wrong doers with admirable panache. The book is humorous and fast paced and even though it is dealing with serious subjects it is an entertaining read.

If you like mystery stories with plenty of life and adventure then you will love this book. I first read it nearly two years ago and enjoyed it then but on second reading it is even better. If you enjoy series such as Daisy Dalrymple by Carola Dunn then you will love Phryne Fisher.

This book is also published under the title 'Miss Phryne Fisher Investigates'.
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on 14 January 2015
It always a bit tricky reading a book after watching a tv-series based on it, and vice versa. But I, despite all the difference between the book and the tv-series still enjoyed the book immensely. But I must admit that I miss the sexual tension between Phryne Fisher and Jack Robinson that exist in the tv-series and alas is absent in the book. But despite that, the story was great and I love to read about Australia in the 1920s.

Phryne Fisher is such a wonderful character, adventurous and glamorous. Now I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series!
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on 3 July 2012
I wasn't sure that I needed another series of books well into double figures in my life, but as soon as I heard about her I knew that I had to meet the Honourable Prynne Fisher.

As the story opened she was a socialite, in London, in the Roaring Twenties. And, lovely though that may sound on a damp, grey evening in the twenty-first century, she was just a little bit bored.

A misjudged practical joke at a society party was the catalyst that changed her life. Prynne saw what had happened, and stepped in to save the day with a wonderful combination a charm, diplomacy and quick thinking. I couldn't help but like her.

The next day Prynne was summoned by a Colonel and Mrs Harper. They had concerns about their daughter in Australia. They had doubts about her husband. Would Prynne consider making the long journey to find out what was going on?

Our heroine was intrigued. She had been born in Australia, and her family had been dirt poor until they received a substantial legacy from a distant relation and stepped into a brand new life. That made her a very interesting proposition: a wealthy, independent, modern young woman with a depth of understanding that her contemporaries lacked.

No wonder she was bored with London society! And of course she said yes!

From then on the story was a whirl.

Prynne travelled with a pioneering lady doctor - like Prynne, a supporter of Doctor Stopes - and that brought a backstreet abortionist to her attention. She had to do something about that!

She found a young woman in a desperate situation and stepped in to help, transforming her into a lady's maid.

And of course there was the case that sent her to Australia in the first place. Prynne would become entangled with a handsome young ballet dancer, a drugs baron and a communist plot before she found some quite unexpected answers.

The juxtaposition of serious issues - birth control and drug addiction - and frivolity - a wonderful array of frocks and dalliances with young men - is rather strange. Most of the time I liked it, but I did have moments when I was heartily sick of wardrobe details and just wanted something to happen.

Prynne was wonderfully capable in all of her dealings, always a step ahead, and on some days that would have bothered me a great deal but on the day I read this book it bothered me just a little. Because the story was as colourful as its cover. It had plenty going on, the characters were simply but clearly drawn, the period and the settings were well realised ... and the heroine is a star.

In the end I have to say that this was a charming, undemanding period piece, with just enough substance to hold it down.
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on 30 December 2014
Having watched the TV series, I thought I would try the books but was a bit disappointed. Phryne comes across as almost unlikeable and the story was over complicated so I found myself losing interest at times. It was worth persevering with as it does improve once you get used to the characters.
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on 31 July 2011
At first sight, the title of this crime novel suggests a book that dwells on the wickedness of drug taking. However, while the book is about capturing a major drug baron, its style, its pace and the unavoidably captivating character of the main character, the Honourable Phryne Fisher and her acute sense of style and adventure make the book more of an exciting detective novel than a tale of drugs. Another endearing quality of the book is that the necessary violence is ever present but does not quite touch the soul of the reader, making the book highly entertaining.
For me, the most interesting part was the setting: Melbourne, Australia some years before I studied for my music degree at the university in that city. Many of the familiar names and attitudes of the characters brought back memories of my time in Melbourne and tiny details caught my imagination exquisitely.
This is a great read for anyone looking for something that lifts you right out of your environment and sweeps you into a fascinating world of privilege eccentricity and intrigue.
Rosemary Westwell
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