Sunday, 1 August 2010

Crime and cocktails

I'll move from vintage books to contemporary today, mostly because I'm still working my way through books by illustrators I like and authors I'm not familiar with. Some books I've found using this odd search criteria work rather well. More of that later. A lucky find a week or four ago in a charity shop was a trio of Phryne Fishers. Kerry Greenwood is an Australian crime novelist I'd never tried, but am now keen to read more of. Sadly, she doesn't seem to be stocked by English bookshops, but there are plenty of copies on Amazon.

Phyrne Fisher is an exuberantly 'bright young thing' living in Australia and earning her living as a lady detective. It seems that Phryne grew up in Australia in less than genteel poverty, then her father inherited a title (as you do in all the best girls own novels) when the three men between him and the title died. Flung into wealth and status, Phyrne and her family returned to England, though Phyrne herself has put as much distance as possible between herself and her parents and returned to live in Australia. Which book this past history might be in, I'm not exactly sure. We see hints of her past only in the novels I've managed to read. We may not even see this at all. Mostly, Phryne appears in 1928 as an elegant survivor of World War One with a lover, a perfectly-run household, a fast car and two adopted daughters.

Her publishers have created a lovely website for Phyrne and are very generous with downloadable extracts to preview all the books. It doesn't really matter if you read this series out of order, the novels are all appealing in their own right, so just see what appeals to you - do you prefer your sleuthing to be at sea, at the circus, on the train or at the fair?


  1. Phryne is wonderful, a real fantasy figure, rich, beautiful, kind, well-dressed & with an unerring sense of justice. I've followed her adventures from the beginning. Kerry Greenwood also writes a contemporary mystery series set in Melbourne. The sleuth is Corinna Chapman, a baker (lots of lovely descriptions of food) who lives in an Art Deco building in the centre of town. I believe these have been published in the US as well.

  2. Thank you - I'll have to try Corinna too. A pity she isn't in libraries. My poor budget.