RogerBW's Blog

Flying Too High, Kerry Greenwood 23 September 2016

1990 historical detection, second in Greenwood's Phryne Fisher series (1920s flapper detective in Australia). Phryne takes on the case of a son whose mother is worried he'll murder his father, and then the father is indeed murdered; and she tracks down a kidnapped child.

There's possibly a slight slump from the driving energy of the first book, and the promise of the title isn't really borne out (there is one flying sequence in this book, but most of that comes in The Green Mill Murder).

The light-hearted cosy style is always a slightly uncomfortable fit for tales of poverty, vice and depravity, and where there's an actual pædophile involved it gets somewhat unpleasant at times – but the reader who enjoys this series will have to develop a certain amount of ability to go with the flow anyway, and I'd rather this than have an ultra-sanitised version of 1920s Melbourne where such things just didn't happen. (It's already somewhat sanitised anyway.)

The backup characters have a great deal to do, especially the taxi-drivers and hauliers Bert and Cec, and Phryne's maid Dot gets a good share of the investigative work. Her major participation in the action is relatively late in the book, and the mysteries themselves are straightforward as usual.

Enjoyable, and short, but not a book which will grab the reader; my nostalgia for the first book carried me over the weak spots in this one. Followed by Murder on the Ballarat Train.

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