Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood is the first in a very long series of books (I think they are up to number 19 now) about the fabulous Phryne (pron frynee) Fisher, lady detective. Phryne was orginally born in Australia but moved to England as a girl when her father became heir to a title and a fortune. She has spent her formative years as a wealthy socialite, learning to dance the tango in Paris with a gigolo, learning to drive from a race car driver and learning to fly planes. She is certainly accomplished and handles every situation with aplomb.
When we start this book, Phryne solves a mystery of missing jewelry almost without getting up from her dinner table and when he witnesses this, another guest engages her to find out if his daughter’s husband is poisoning her. To do this she must head off to Melbourne.
When Phryne arrives she settles in at the Windsor hotel, engages a maid and settles in to solve crime and socialise, all in the best of frocks. She also finds time to fraternise with a Russian dancer, solve an international drug ring and make the police look stupid for not being able to find an illegal abortionist.
In fact Phryne is a little too perfect. But she is wonderful all the same. I fell in love with her wittiness, her dry sense of humour and her willingness to chip in and help out those of lower class than her. She was a fun character to listen to. But I think what I loved the most about this book was the descriptions of Melbourne in the 20’s. As a Melbournite, I love my city, and to hear it so lovingly described made me want to go back there, to experience it for myself. Greenwood obviously did a lot of research about Melbourne in the 20’s to sound so convincing, and it is obvious she loves this city as well.
I am glad I got to experience this book before the television series starts on the ABC this year. I think I am definitely going to enjoy it.
I read this book for the AWW2012 Challenge. You can find the challenge at the following link http://www.australianwomenwriters.com/p/australian-women-writers-book-challenge_25.html 2 down – 8 to go 🙂