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Murder in Montparnasse–an astounding plot

Murder in Montparnasse

by Kerry Greenwood

Murder in MontparnasseIt is said that one should order soup in a fine restaurant as it is a predictor of the quality of the meal to come. The first chapter of Murder in Montparnasse was my “soup.” I knew upon sampling the book, that the descriptive language was worth savoring on the tongue. The introduction of three major plot threads provided delicious flavors evocative of a mystery worth reading.

Phryne Fisher has her hands full in this fast-paced mystery which focuses on a group of Bert and Cec’s friends from the war who seem to be targeted for death, the disappearance of a young lady, and strange occurrences at a delightful French restaurant. Along the way, various other puzzling circumstances need to be examined. Phryne’s past also becomes important as her time spent in Paris in an art community returns to haunt her. Domestic issues involve the marriage of her Chinese lover and the employment termination of her beloved Mr. Butler. Phryne’s daughters, Jane and Ruth, are pleased to take on detective roles, and Constable Hugh Collins shows his skills in some independent police work. Murder in Montparnasse is an altogether satisfying mystery.

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Poisoned Pen Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Historical Fiction, Mystery

Notes: #12 in the Phryne Fisher Mystery Series

Publication: September 5, 2017—Poisoned Pen Press

Memorable Lines:

The remedy for anything short of an outbreak of cholera in a French kitchen was “Add more cream!”

The waiter, who had clearly graduated magna cum laude from Cheeky French Waiter School, made a face which suggested that a chef who had dinners to cook ought not to be slugging down cognac at lunch, but he slapped down another glass and the bottle of cognac. He then flounced away, turning an ostentatious back.

Dot always worried about Phryne. There had been raised male voices in the refined parlour, and Dot didn’t like it one bit. Raised male voices, in Dot’s experience, preceded raised male fists. And then Miss Phryne might have to hurt someone.

Away with the Fairies–not a fairy tale

Away with the Fairies

by Kerry Greenwood

Away with the FairiesAway with the Fairies begins immediately with the discovery of Miss Lavender’s body in a fairytale setting. There are many possible suspects from the residents of the apartments to coworkers at the women’s magazine that Miss Lavender writes for. Maybe even a disgruntled reader who has solicited help from the magazine’s advice column.

In the midst of this complicated investigation, Lin Chung, Phryne Fisher’s Chinese lover, goes missing and it is up to Phryne to cross the cultural barriers set up by his family.  She needs to find him and rescue him if needed.

Dot, Phryne’s assistant, and Bert and Cec, socialist taxi-drivers and part-time employees of Phryne, get major roles. We are also introduced to another interesting character, Li Pen, a Shao Lin monk and bodyguard of Lin Chung.

Away with Fairies is an interesting mystery, full of adventures and intrigue, set in 1928. Phryne, as always, is brave and defiant. The plot is complicated, and the book has a satisfying, but unexpected resolution.

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Poisoned Pen Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Historical Fiction, Mystery

Notes: #11 in the Phryne Fisher Mystery Series. This one would work as a standalone, but is probably more enjoyable if the reader has been previously exposed to the characters.

Publication:   August 1, 2017—Poisoned Pen Press

Memorable Lines:

The case was breaking. She knew the feeling. The matter would be as obdurate as a big stone block for ages, utterly resisting all chipping and tapping. Then just when you were about to give up and take to it with a sledgehammer, it cracked into a lot of pieces and fell away, revealing the gold egg of the solution in the middle. Feeling that she had extended her metaphor beyond its coefficient of expansion, she blew idle smoke rings all the way to the city.

Bert, who was about to call upon his maker to deliver him from unconscionable demands from stroppy sheilas, decided not to on receipt of a fifty megawatt glare from those strange green eyes. He felt a moment of gentle Christian pity for whoever tried to stop Miss Fisher…

She stood so still that a questing rat paused in its passage across her foot, whiffling its whiskers, wondering if the engineer was dead enough to provide a late-night snack. Loathing washed over Phryne so strongly she was afraid that she would retch. The clammy tail was across her bare ankle. It was cold. It was one of the vilest things she had ever felt in her whole life and if it had gone on for another second she might have flinched.

Raisins and Almonds–even the title is a mystery

Raisins and Almonds

by Kerry Greenwood

Raisins and AlmondsRaisins and Almonds is a typical Phryne Fisher mystery, but somewhat more cerebral. Evidence of that is found in the inclusion of a bibliography reflective of the author’s research and a glossary of Yiddish words. This mystery is strongly tied into the Jewish community that settled in Australia, the politics of Zionism, and a sub-sect focused on alchemy. Phryne has to do a lot of research in addition to her usual methods of sleuthing in order to find the murderer of a young Jewish scholar and free an innocent bookseller from prison.

Greenwood excels in this book in three ways. She uses the supporting characters to good advantage in solving the mystery as she sends her adopted daughters, her assistant Dot, and friends Bert and Cec out on different missions which play to their strengths. Phryne and Jack agree on the bookseller’s innocence enabling them to cooperate in their separate missions to solve the mystery. The ending of Raisins and Almonds is a fun surprise which wraps up the mystery and the title quite satisfactorily.

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Poisoned Pen Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Mystery, Historical Fiction

Notes: #9 of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries

Publication:   June 6, 2017—Poisoned Pen Press

Memorable Lines: 

Phryne smiled guilelessly into the policeman’s face. He winced. Miss Fisher was at her most dangerous when she was smiling guilelessly. It was a sign that someone, somewhere, was about to be shaken down until their teeth rattled and the Detective Inspector was uneasily aware that he was the closest available target.

Bert was nervous because he didn’t know what to look for in this big bustling market. Neither did Cec, but his Scandinavian ancestors had bequeathed him some Viking fatalism. If they were meant to find out, they’d find out.

Kadimah was as ordinary as a church hall, and as extraordinary as a landing of Well’s Martians. It was as sane as porridge and as lunatic as singing mice.

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