Supposedly on a short holiday to check out the healing benefits of mineral water for returned soldiers, while staying at Mooltan Guesthouse in the health spa town of Hepburn Springs near Daylesford, Phryne Fisher and Dot Williams bump into nice and not so nice individuals. A cunning murderer gets to work killing men in broad daylight, while throughout the novel the Temperance Hotel and knitting entwine with a strong sisterhood bond.
In the adventurous 1920s, fabulous Phryne Fisher is a wealthy, upper-class, down-to-earth lady detective who lives in bayside Melbourne, Australia. She solves all kinds of crimes with the assistance of her dour maid Dot (also sleuthing companion) and is occasionally helped by the mighty Bert and Cec who are wharfies and stirrers, plus two stalwart policeman, Inspector Jack Robinson and Dot’s suitor Constable Hugh Collins.
The Honourable Miss Fisher features in this long-running series of novels, and on TV and cinema screens, whilst recently author Kerry Greenwood has included keen young Tinker and adopted daughters Ruth and Jane who get their fair share of investigative work in “Death in Daylesford” although not in the company of Phryne. A suspected murder arises for them back in Melbourne while Phryne and Dot roam the countryside.
Kerry Greenwood has nailed the era. Apart from a doubtful reference to broccoli (was it available then?) and later a toilet roll (in an outside dunny on a country farm no less) she writes with vigour and a lust for life, and has the knack of enhancing a scene with extra intrigue. Chapters are populated with a variety of characters like luscious barmaid Annie, copper Mick Kelly, handsome Captain Spencer and gun-toting suffragette Miss McKenzie.
My favourite quote “Alice glowed like a hurricane lamp. ‘I am so pleased! Do you think that Violette…’ She left the sentence hanging in the air, like a house brick under the influence of anti-gravity.” Gems of this type are used sparingly yet with great effect, especially when I knew hanky-panky was afoot. Miss Phryne Fisher is more risqué than her on-screen counterpart.
Real locations are used in this story and I don’t remember but apparently I visited the mineral springs as a child. “Death in Daylesford” is the 21st book in the series. I have read Kerry Greenwood’s contemporary series featuring baker/private eye Corinna Chapman but self-assured Phryne keeps luring me back with her fast driving, rule-flouting and cheeky disregard for social conventions. Always with her brain ticking over and a winning smile.
♥ Gretchen Bernet-Ward
Two images from “The World Turns Modern”
Art Deco from National Galley of Australia Collection
Ipswich Art Gallery 2019
My original Art Deco post https://thoughtsbecomewords.com/2019/10/24/art-deco-delights-on-display/
In memory of my father who grew up in the same inner city streets of Melbourne.
He would have known what an Hispano-Suiza was… the car Phryne Fisher drives.
GBW 10th January 2021