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29 July 2012

Kerry Greenwood: The Castlemaine Murders

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The Delectable and Divine Detective - the Hon Phryne Fisher
Get ready to become addicted to this amazing series where the Hon Phryne Fisher, a unique, beautiful, stylish, sexy and larger than life character, romps through adventure after adventure as a private detective in Melbourne in 1928 and 1929.

In this mystery, Phryne visits a carnival and accidentally disturbs a mummified body of a person murdered during the 1852 Australian Gold Rush. To find out the identity of the body and how the murder happened, Phryne travels to Castlemaine in the goldfields and finds that the implications of the murder are still current. When Lin Chung (Phryne's long term Chinese lover) also goes to the goldfields to visit and manage his extensive family and explore ancient feuds, he finds that the two mysteries are intertwined.

I have read at least 12 books in the Phryne Fisher series and loved every one of them. The plots are ingenious and frequently outrageous. Phryne's has a fantastic family of helpers, including communist taxi drivers, a ladies maid who acts as assistant sleuth, a friendly police inspector and humble constables, circus performers, adopted daughters saved from white slavery, and hosts of lovers (including Lin Chung, her favorite). In this book we are also introduced to Phryne's sister from England who starts off as an aristocratic bore and slowly unveils as a caring Fabian socialist with an impoverished aristocratic sapphic partner.

Warning: to really understand this amazing group of characters you should try to read the series from the beginning - starting with Cocaine Blues.

Kerry Greenwood's classic writing style and fantastic vocabulary keeps you entertained and frequently searching for the dictionary. See how many of these words from an earlier books you would need to look up: "collop, evanescent, agape, polyphiloprogenitive, presbyter, durance, aesthetes, embonpoint, sola, pavane, iodoform, seethe, obsequies, tesserae, parterre, pornutopia, julep, effluvium, valerian, vindaloo, acolyte, genuflect, progenitor, sapphic, seeress, auguries, lascivious, epicene, hetaera, servitor, repining, epicene".

ANOTHER WARNING - Phryne Fisher books are addictive. When you have read one, you will want to read more.

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