Phryne Fisher needs a rest. It’s summer. She packs up her family and moves to Queenscliff, a quiet watering place on the coast. Where she meets with smugglers, pirate treasure and some very interesting surrealists, including a parrot called Pussykins. What is the mysterious Madame Selavey hiding? Where are the Johnsons, who were supposed to be in the holiday house?
Dead Man’s Chest is the 18th installment in the Phryne Fisher mystery series (there is also a treasury) and as you now know from the interview with Ms. Greenwood herself, the series is set in 1920s Melbourne and features the wonderful Phryne Fisher, a dashing young woman with a flair for fashion, nerves of steel, and the knack for attracting waifs and strays.
Phryne Fisher mysteries do not always center around murder, and this isn’t one of those books where ten people die before you reach the second chapter. In some books the mystery builds up slowly, and in others it hits you from the first page, but my true addiction to these books comes from the wonderful characters and the historical detail that Ms. Greenwood includes, these books are truly a window into 1920s Melbourne.
In Cocaine Blues, the first book in the series, Phryne starts out on her own, but soon she has acquired a maid-companion who she met wandering the Melbourne streets, a couple of socialist drivers, and a police inspector who, while awed by the flamboyant Ms. Fisher, realizes soon enough that she has a great advantage in the crime solving business.
I love that Phryne is so very independent without being annoying, she isn’t constantly walking about saying “I’ll do it all by myself” yet, somehow she manages to get out of some very sticky situations. It is also lots of fun to read about the inner workings of her mind as she accepts yet another into her fold, she doesn’t just seem tough, she is tough, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have a very warm heart. Ms. greenwood writes her character beautifully, with just the right amount of humor, sarcasm, and a great deal of intelligence.
Each time we join Phryne on a case, we are introduced to more and more colorful characters who become part of her household or her associates. Dead Man’s Chest is no different. This book introduces us to Tinker aka Eddie the Slacker, a young boy who soon becomes anything but a slacker due to his hero worship of Phryne. I loved his character, especially his interactions with Gaston the terrier. I can’t wait to see what becomes of him in the next book.
You are probably wondering about the mystery itself. Well, I can’t really say much, because it would ruin he story. I will say that in this book, the mystery took place in the background for quite a bit of the book, but truthfully? I didn’t mind. As I told someone just a few days ago – I would read Kerry Greenwood’s shopping list if she published it! These stories are very much character based, and each and every character in the book is wonderful to read about. Oh, and you might want to have a snack sitting next to you as you read, the food descriptions in these books? Mouthwatering.
What I would recommend if possible – read the books in order. Many of the characters who join Phryne along the way have their own stories told in one of the books, and you wouldn’t want to miss out on getting to know them, would you?
Dead Man’s Chest is a solid addition to this series, and anyone who loves these books will enjoy every single page. Now, if only I could get the recipe for that Impossible Pie…
Find Kerry: Website
This book was sent to Noa through Net Galley.