My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Bored 1920s socialite Phryne Fisher—with a brain, a heart, and a social conscience—eschews the tiresome round of London parties for a life as a female detective. The case she accepts takes her to Melbourne, Australia, where evil apparently abounds.
The great Agatha Christie began Murder on the Links with an anecdote about a writer who, wanting to capture an editor’s attention, pens the opening line, ‘“Hell!” said the Duchess.’ Ms Greewood takes this advice to heart and starts her novel thus:
The glass in the French window shattered. The guests screamed. Over the general exclamation could be heard the shrill shriek of Madame St Clair, wife of the ambassador ‘Ciel! Mes bijoux!’
Taken in conjunction with the book’s title, you know you’re in for something that might have stepped straight from the Golden Age of Crime. There’s wee bit of sex that may feel a little foreign—as does Phryne’s automatic acceptance of the term “dairy” to describe what she would think of as a tea shop. I know what Ms Greenwood means because I grew up in New Zealand (as Phryne grew up in Australia), but when I read it, it was hard to rid my mind of Phryne and Dr MacMillan eating sandwiches in the company of milk cows.
The characters are delightful, the story cracks on apace, and there’s a good sense of history about it. What’s not to like? But that’s just my humble opinion…what’s yours? Do let me know what you think.
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