Tuesday 4 June 2013

Murder in the Dark

Finished June 4
Murder in the Dark by Kerry Greenwood, read by Stephanie Daniel

This is the third mystery featuring Phryne [pronounced fry-knee] Fisher that I have read, but the 16th in the series. The first is Cocaine Blues, and I have also read the 14th, Queen of the Flowers. This book occurs at the end of 1928 near Melbourne, when Phryne is invited to a party billed as the Last Best Party. Even before she accepts the invitation to the party, she gets warned off, but of course that only makes her determined to go. An attempt is made on her life, which intrigues her further, and she sets off for the party with her driver and maid to see what the story is. She stays at the manor house the party is held at without her servants, having them come each day to replenish her wardrobe and bring anything else she requires. This gives her the requisite freedom to do what she likes, with whom she likes. And Phryne is no slouch. She befriends rough women who dare to ride in a polo team, upper class men with lovely horses, a lovely young man with his own secret agenda, the extremely competent housekeeper, a mint-loving goat, and renews her friendship with her hosts, a brother and sister from Europe who travel with a large entourage of sybarites and hangers-on. When her host confides that he has been sent threatening letters, Phryne is on the hunt for the culprit. And when some of the partygoers appear to be kidnapped, she goes looking for them as well.
As usual, the mood and scene are brought to life and one gets a real sense of a slice of the world in 1928, with the freedom of access to multiple mind-altering substances, jazz music, and, in this crowd at least, a certain openness of sexuality. Great fun.
I've had this on my shelf for a while, but only recently took possession of a car that can play MP3s, so got to listen on my commute.

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