RogerBW's Blog

Death at Victoria Dock, Kerry Greenwood 30 September 2016

1992 historical detection, fourth in Greenwood's Phryne Fisher series (1920s flapper detective in Australia). As Phryne is driving home one night, someone shoots out her windscreen. As the gunfight moves on, she gets out of the car to find an injured young man, who dies in her arms.

It's less of the usual murder plot than has been usual for Phryne, and a lesser woman might dismiss it as a falling-out among anarchists, but Phryne is offended and takes up the case. She also goes looking for a young woman who went missing after being turned away from a convent. Séances and incest follow.

There is some infodumping of Baltic politics in the wake of the Russian revolution, necessary to get a handle on the various factions; there's also more abuse of women, something of a theme in the series but one that's generally handled pretty well.

The mysteries themselves are well-handled, not as simplistic as in some of the other books, though this certainly isn't a series for the dedicated puzzle-story fan; it's more of a blend of historical research, shocking behaviour, and fabulous dresses, with incidental crime to be solved. Followed by The Green Mill Murder.

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