This is the fifth installment of the Phryne Fisher series and to date, I honestly think this is Greenwood’s best one so far. She’s finally found her stride and rhythm.
It seems that Greenwood has a template that she sticks to, yet her stories never feel repetitive. Picking up a Phryne Fisher novel, it looks like I can expect the following:
- Crimes that require attention to detail to solve, rather than brute force and luck.
- Realistic assistance from the supporting cast like her loyal maid, Dot.
- A variety of characters that do not feel repeated in any way.
- Beautiful descriptions of 1930s fashion and style.
- Steamy sex scenes conducted by a woman who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid of to get it.
Greenwod has established everything she needs to for a solid and reliable series; we know all her key supporting characters, and we have a realistic understanding of her star detective’s capabilities, so now we can finally focus on Miss Fisher’s ingenuity and her adventures.
She has found the perfect blend between realism and fantasy. Greenwood understands that this world she’s created is essentially a fantasy world; one where rich socialites with gumption and good sense can pursue careers they would never have been able to in the 1920s.
Yet none of her characters are cartoonish or flat; they almost seem rooted in someone real that Greenwood has encountered in her legal career. From the controlling matriarch her murky motives that Phryne never truly understands, to the vivacious buxom singer that hits Phryne right in the ego, there is never a character that gives me a sense of déjà vu.
This novel seamlessly blends two crimes together but doesn’t make the story feel disjointed or crowded. And the story ends on a realistic note, one that doesn’t make Phryne feel like an all-knowing persona with no vulnerabilities, and again, this helps grounds the series.
If all her installments are roughly this quality, I can see why the Phryne Fisher series has lasted as long as it has.
On Another Note
I think once I polish off about ten installments, I’ll start watching the ABC ‘Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries’ series. I don’t want to give myself any spoilers but I’m honestly not waiting till I catch up to all 20+ books.
I also have five unread books in this series so I’m debating whether I should independently review them or do a joint one since I worry I might be writing about the same issues in each one.