Death at Victoria Dock – Kerry Greenwood (1992, Poisoned Pen Press, Arizona)
Phryne Fisher and her entourage encounter all sorts of danger and political intrigue when faced with a group of anarchists hell-bent on executing a secret attack in Melbourne. Plenty of blood, sex, and twisted alliances in this one – but Miss Fisher takes it all in stride, and never fails to wear the perfect outfit and shoes while on the case. Great light reading, as usual.
The Green Mill Murder – Kerry Greenwood (1993, Poisoned Pen Press, Arizona)
A death at a popular jazz club leads the always intrepid and impeccably-dressed Phryne Fisher on an adventure over Australia, as she takes to the treacherous skies and does some slumming in the mountains to help a wealthy family resolve a messy inheritance – and figure out whodunit, of course. As usual, Greenwood’s mysteries are fun and frivolous, easily digestible in an hour or two.
Blood and Circuses – Kerry Greenwood (1994, Poisoned Pen Press, Arizona)
The usually unstoppable and ever-fashionable Phryne Fisher dons theatrical rags and shows her vulnerable, emotional side as she joins a travelling circus to uncover the reason behind a series of unsettling sabotages and the bloody murder of a beloved performer. Phryne relies more heavily on her allies and friends in this one than usual – and the reader gets some interesting p.o.v.’s from members of the police department, including the determined Detective Inspector Jack Robinson, and the young, eager constable Tommy Harris. In tone and style, this book marked a bit of a departure from the others in the series so far, with mostly positive results. I was particularly impressed with the detailed descriptions of circus life – although they took up a sizeable amount of ink, I found them just as fascinating as Phryne does.
Kerry Greenwood – Ruddy Gore (1995, Poisoned Pen Press, Arizona)
The exquisitely stylish, cool-as-a-cucumber Phyrne Fisher sets out to solve a murder which occurs during a production of the Gilbert and Sullivan play “Ruddigore.” While the motivations and passions of the theatre group’s players muddle and twist (and often mimic the play itself), Miss Fisher risks life and perfect limb to sort it all out. Along the way she is thwarted by a ghost and makes the very intimate acquaintance of a young Chinese man who has secrets of his own. This was one of my favourite Miss Fisher books so far; I was pleased to see that the strong, mostly-implacable Phryne was back (I had been a bit alarmed at her lack of independence in “Blood and Circuses, “ and had worried that our delightful heroine had lost her a bit of her strength, nerve, and resolve).