Books are cheaper than heroin, but they DO add up....

Amy, Carrie, Chanin and Sarah buy (and read and review) their own stuff. They've been known to shop around from dealer to dealer looking for the best price. If you're interested in slipping them something to try out, just contact us.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood

This isn't Phryne; she's more glamorous.

A few weeks back, Jenny Crusie was asking for recommendations of television series with strong female leads.  Someone mentioned the Australian series, Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries.  I was intrigued, I researched, and I hit the jackpot!

The television series is actually based on a series of books.  AN ENTIRE SERIES!!!

(Okay. Deep breath.)

You know how I love me a good series.

Miss Fisher is Phyrne (pronounced Fry-nee) Fisher, a titled, wealthy woman who dresses well, flies a plane, drives her own car, and rubs elbows with the masses.  She does all this in the late 1920s.  She's probably about 50 years ahead of her time, but she's clever and observant and puts her talents to good use.  She, as the series title suggests, solves murder mysteries.

Cocaine Blues, the first in the series, is actually a not-quite murder mystery.  Phryne first travels from the U.K. to Australia to investigate a mysterious illness that affects the daughter of an acquaintance.  The illness seems life-threatening at times but oddly absent at others.  In investigating this not-yet-death, Phryne identifies and arranges for the arrest of an illegal abortionist who rapes the women that come to him before he'll perform the back-alley procedure, meets some displaced Russian ballet dancers, and takes down the head of a cocaine ring.  That makes her sound rather busy, but most of the story lines are intertwined, so it's not disjointed or distracting.

I started the series expecting something like Carola Dunn's Daisy Dalrymple mysteries or Elizabeth Peter's Amelia Peabody mysteries.  Both of these series are based on modern, intelligent women in historical settings.  Both Daisy and Amelia speak their minds within the genteel, cultural norms of their times.  Phryne is also a modern, intelligent woman, but she pretty much breaks all the rules about speech, adventure and sex.  After I adjusted my mindset, I just settled in and enjoyed the series.

For the mystery fans out there, I strongly recommend Kerry Greenwood's Cocaine Blues.

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1 comment:

  1. Her modern day series - the Corinna Chapman mysteries are even better. And her re-write of historical myth - one on Medea and one on the Pharaoh Akhenaton are even better. And they are all recently on e-book by Poisoned Press.