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Thursday, August 11, 2016

In My Bag At The Moment...Kerry Greenwood

The Greenwood book - not the author, of course! - is Death By Water, a Phryne Fisher mystery. It's kind of fun living Phryne's glamorous life vicariously. She has a nice house opposite St Kilda beach, a smart maid who helps in her detecting, a very good houseman and his wife, an excellent cook, working for her, two delightful adopted daughters, great clothes and, of course, a gorgeous, intelligent lover. What's not to enjoy?

In this one, Phryne and her maid Dot go on a cruise, but not just for fun. They're there to catch whoever has been stealing the wealthy passengers' gems.  And naturally, there's a murder, though it happens late in the book. As in all her other novels, each chapter ends with a letter from someone who isn't actually a character in the story, but you need to read it, because it throws you hints about something that will play out in the novel itself. In this case the letters are from various people about to go on the Titanic. The Phryne Fisher novels are set in 1928, sixteen years after the Titanic disaster. Here, we learn that for once Dot knows something in the news that Phryne doesn't; while that ship was sinking, the twelve-year-old Phryne was with her family on another ship, on its way to England. 

But it's now 1928, the good ship Hinemoa is on its way to New Zealand and the passengers - first class, of course! - are eating and drinking gourmet stuff and dancing under the Tiffany lamps of the Grand Salon, which is decorated with stained glass depictions of Australian and New Zealand critters and there's an all-girl dance band which includes a trumpeter whose Uncle Cec is one of Phryne's minions, under orders to be helpful to Miss Fisher. 

And we have vicarious fun imagining ourselves on that gorgeous ship. I'm betting that modern cruise liners aren't quite that classy. 

In the middle of the school year, with a lot of work things hanging over me, I need the comfort of a Phryne Fisher glamorous experience to keep me going just that bit longer...


Pamela said...

I need to read these! My friend did the whole series on audiobook when she had a knee replacement and said it kept her sane. I love mysteries and the twenties and glamour.

Sue Bursztynski said...

Oh, they're great fun! And the ones set in Melbourne really show what Melbourne was like in those days. Kerry Greenwood is a lawyer with Legal Aid - she's something of a socialist in her leanings and went into law to be able to help those who couldn't afford to pay for their defence. And one time, one of her clients brought along his grandmother, who had dementia, because she couldn't be left alone and the old lady described a gown she had worn to the Green Mill dance hall one time in the 1930s(the Melbourne Arts Centre is there now). It made its way into her next novel, The Green Mill Murder, as Phryne's dress. When you've read them a few times, as I have, you do notice the glitches and inconsistencies, but you forgive her, because they're so entertaining.