Sunday, January 30, 2011

Phryne Fisher Mysteries

    *****  Five (5) Stars for "Dead Man's Chest"

Phryne (Fry-knee) Fisher is the captivating female protagonist of Kerry Greenwood's outstanding mystery series.  The series takes place in 1920's Australia, Melbourne.

The Hon. Miss Fisher is a very modern, free thinking, intelligent, detective.  She is also a "Flapper" and the adoptive mother of two young girls (Jane & Ruth), rescued from the street & a life of abuse.   Phryne has a delictable lover, Lin Chung and a very staid & sensible live-in helpmate, Dot.

Phryne had her beginnings in England, being a part of a very wealthy & "proper" upper class family....  she headed for Paris where she became a model and eventually an ambulance driver during the "good" war.  After having some troubles she fled to Austrailia and rebuilt her life.

To date there are nineteen books in this series. The most recent: "Dead Man's Chest", which takes place on holiday in Queenscliff, a small fishing town.  Upon arriving at her destination, a lent out home in Queenscliff, with Dot, Jane & Ruth in tow, Phryne discovers that the domestic couple, Mr. & Mrs. Johnson have not only disappeared, but all of their belongings are gone as well.

In trying to replace the Johnson's, Phryne finds that finding help during the "season" is difficult....which is the lead in for everyone in the group helping with the kitchen chores & setting the scenes for Ruth's well turned culinary experiments. 

Phryne elicits help with her sleuthing from a young ruffian, Eddie, whom she names Tinker.  Also in the mix is: Mrs Mason, her teenaged son and his two loutish school chums; a nasty old busybody who sits at her window & watches all goings on; the young Irish kitchen help, Maire; the "Plait Snipper"; the "Surrealists"; the film crew & local girl turned star Lily; the contrabanders; and Gaston (the Johnson's terrier). 

Although, Lin Chung is mentioned several times, he is not present in this book...but there is promise of his return....which I eagerly anticipate.

This was one of my favorite stories and it is as well written as the previous eighteen.  As in all of this series, I adore the Hon. Miss Fisher's high coutour wardrobe and sense of style. 

Recipes for: Impossible Pie, Potato Scones, & Noyau Cocktail are provide at the end of the story.

Other Phryne Fisher Mysteries are: "Cocaine Blues", "Flying too High", "Murder on the Ballart Train", "Death at Victoria Dock", "The Green Mill Murder", Blood & Circuses", "Ruddy Gore", "Urn Burial" (5 Stars), "Raisins & Almonds", "Death Before Wicket", "Away With the Fairies",  "Murder in Montparnasse" (5 Stars),  "The Castlemaine Murders",  "Queen of the Flowers", "Death by Water", "Murder in the Dark", & "Murder on a Midsummer Night".

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