Introducing the Honourable Phryne Fisher – Kerry Greenwood

Phryne Fisher 1-3

This omnibus includes the following three mysteries:

Cocaine Blues

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.

 

 

 

 

The Killer Wore Leather – Laura Antoniou

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New York is hosting its annual Mr. and Ms. Global Leather (and Bootblack) competition. Kinksters from all American states have streamed in for a three day weekend of workshops, competitions and play. The previous winners, Mack Steel and Mistress Ravenfyre, gather with the panel of judges to begin the three-day-long weekend of kink. All of them loathe each other, from the Neanderthalic adherents to a Gorean—sorry, Zodian fantasy universe, to the elderly lesbian professor of sociology (with honours in acidic social commentary). All in all, a normal Mr. And Ms. Global Leather, et al, competition.

And then the penultimate bad boy of leather, Mack Steel, is discovered dead in his hotel room. Wearing nothing but a pair of frilly yellow panties.

How do you find a killer, when everyone who knew the man hated him? How do you even select your suspects?

 

Enter single, lesbian, Detective Rebecca Feldblum, assigned to case by a boss that tells her, ‘They’re your people, right?’, and also assigned an ultra-conservative partner from the deep South…

Nothing could make things worse. Except perhaps that all the suspects will be leaving in three days, and discovering that her very-ex-girlfriend is also attending Mr. And Ms. Global Leather…

 

Amusing. A tongue in cheek, merry observation of the politics and personalities of small societies wrapped up in an interesting and well-paced whodunnit. The setting of a kinky social gathering is clever and novel. Crossing my fingers for a sequel, this is a light read, with an interesting subject matter.

 

 

K.L gives The Killer Wore Leather 4 out of 5 spanks with a Zodian slave goad.

 

 

 

SPOILER ALERT! DANGEROUS WORDS AHEAD!

 

Sadly, the eventual killer was a little easy to pick. But I’m just cynical like that.