Death in Daylesford
by Kerry Greenwood
The inimitable and exquisite Phryne Fisher, lady detective, stars in a new Phryne Fisher mystery. In Death in Daylesford, there are two main plots as Phryne is invited to visit a spa that helps soldiers recovering from shell shock with an end to soliciting her financial support. She and her constant companion, the very sweet Dot, enjoy a vacation in the area where there are many mysteries that find their way to Phryne’s attention.
Back at home in St. Kilda, a girl is found dead in the water. Jack Robinson has been assigned a temporary post in another town, and an incompetent detective inspector is taking his place. Dot’s boyfriend Detective Sergeant Hugh Collins recruits Phryne’s household to assist in his investigation. Phryne’s adopted daughters Jane and Ruth along with Tinker, a helpful youth Phryne has taken in, use their respective strengths to uncover the secrets that led to the girl’s death.
This is an intricate and well-played mystery with multiple surprises and twists along the way. Given that there are so many issues to be resolved, it is amazing how Phryne sorts through the mysteries which range from minor quirks to multiple murders that occur in plain sight of crowds of people. Yet no one sees anything.
In Daylesford there is a local bumbling officer whose “talents would be taxed to the limit by remembering his own name and address, or the number of digits on his extremities.” There is also a quite competent inspector brought in to work on the murder cases, and he respectfully solicits Phryne’s help and their collaboration, although dangerous, is successful.
Although sexual encounters of various types are referred to, they are not displayed in the book. Phryne is an unusual woman for her time. Her wealth allows her the freedom to challenge conventional norms while her background helps her understand the dark, seamier side of life.
There are a lot of characters in this novel, and at times I had to refer back to refresh my memory. The setting changes back and forth between storylines, but at no time do the two overlap.
I have enjoyed all the Phryne mystery novels and the movies made from them under the title Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. This book exceeded my high expectations for another complicated plot with a creative, sophisticated sleuth.
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Notes: 1. #21 in the Phryne Fisher Series, but could be read as a standalone.
2. There are references to various sexual preferences.
3. Set in Australia, it contains lots of Australian terms if you enjoy dabbling in linguistic differences.
Publication: June 1, 2021—Poisoned Pen Press
“To save time and fuss I may as well tell you that your fame precedes you. And while I’m not gonna play Dumb Cop to your Aristocratic Detective, I need a result here and I’d be a fool if I didn’t use whatever help you can give me.” He blinked, and put his massive head on one side, looking now like a kookaburra eyeing off an unattended sausage at a barbecue.
“You do realize that the front door doesn’t lock, don’t you?” Al grunted. “S’orright, though. We got a dog. Burglars are scared of Bluey.” “Why is that, sir?” “On account of gettin’ slobbered on a lot. Nuthin’ worse than an overenthusiastic dog when yer tryin’ to rob a house.”
Now the smugness was unmistakable. Kelly could feel the conceit rising in the insolent young man like yeast in a bowl of dough.