This omnibus includes the following three mysteries:
Flying Too High
Murder on the Ballarat Train
Oh, Phryne. How I adore thee. With your Sherlockian wit, dedication to a life of hedonistic pleasures, decadent and cynical approach to everything you encounter – what’s not to love?
Set in Melbourne, Australia, in the latter 1920’s, the Hon. Phryne Fisher gives up a dull life on the Continent to return to the birth country of Australia, establishing herself as a gentlewoman detective, quickly obtaining for herself a ladies’ maid on the verge of homicide.
With her sleek black bob, slender figure, green eyes and impeccable taste, Phryne makes swift societal inroads. Being the child of a born-in-poverty gentleman, an unexpected elevation to the ranks of the fabulously wealthy (one may thank The Great War for killing off a number of relatives for that) leaves Phryne with nothing to want but constantly fresh sources of interest. Rather fun ‘Whodunnit’ detective novels a la Agatha Christie, though with far more licentiousness than prudery. I found the first three in the series worth the read as much for the depiction of early Melbourne life, and for descriptions of Phryne’s lavish wardrobe, as for the quality of the detection.
The Phryne Fisher series definitely falls on the light side of the crime fiction spectrum. The standard murders, thefts, disappearances and kidnappings are treated with a light hand and neatly resolved by our intrepid heroine.
In a pleasant reversal of the trend amongst predominantly male heroes to have a new squeeze in each book (Dirk Pitt, I’m looking at you), the healthily libidinous Phryne does the same without fail – four books in and counting. Like chocolates, I couldn’t stop at three…
If you want to envision the life of 1920-40’s Sydney or Melbourne times, I would strongly recommend attending the Sydney Moderns exhibit at the New South Wales Art Gallery – or indulging yourself, and purchasing the Sydney Moderns book, with colour reproductions of the artworks.
K.L gives Introducing the Honourable Phryne Fisher 4 out of 5 decadently daydreaming damsels in deshabille.