Book review: Phryne Fisher mysteries by Kerry Greenwood

phryne2.jpgI’ve never encountered a detective quite like Phryne (rhymes with “briny”) Fisher before – but now I’m totally smitten. Divinely elegant and stylish, this smart, confident woman turned her back on 1928 aristocracy to live independently in Australia. In one of my favorites, Murder in Montparnasse, Phryne steps in to help her friends Bert and Cec when their buddies start dying under under suspicious circumstances. She suspects that the men – and perhaps Phryne herself – unknowingly witnessed a crime in Paris ten years earlier during World War I.  Even though I was attracted to the Art Deco cover art in this series, I resisted these books for a solid year. I finally realized my reluctance is connected not to the story or the character, but to the embarrassing fact that I had absolutely no idea how to pronounce “Phryne.” A quick trip to author Kerry Greenwood’s Web site gave me the hint I needed (the “rhymes with ‘briny’”), and listening to Murder in Montparnasse on audio confirmed that. (By the way, these are great on audio!) I started the series with this title and, although it isn’t the first in the series, I think it’s a fine place to start because of the backstory you get about Phryne’s days in France. If you like to read a series in order, then you’ll want to start with Cocaine Blues. (And that brings up a good question: Do you like to read mystery series in order? Do you ever read out of order?)

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