RogerBW's Blog

Cocaine Blues, Kerry Greenwood 19 September 2016

1989 historical detection, first in Greenwood's Phryne Fisher series (1920s flapper detective in Australia). Intelligent, beautiful, rich, and bored, the Hon. Phryne Fisher travels to Australia in order to find out whether John Andrews is poisoning his wife, her clients' daughter.

Before the matter is resolved, she'll have dealt with abortionists, drug dealers, communists, and a pleasingly attractive Russian dancer called Sasha. Though really, to be fair, the mystery is not the point of this book, though it's handled well enough: it's more of an excuse on which to string tales of Melbourne in the 1920s.

Phryne herself is largely an iconic character, changing in herself only insofar as she decides to stay in Australia and be a detective by the end of the book; she is more prone to produce change in the people she deals with, and has a boundless energy that's sometimes tiring just to read about, but is never overconfident. Pacing is a little uneven, with a fairly slow start (introducing many of the recurring characters of the series, all reaonably developed and interesting, but it does take time) and a second half that gathers pace into the climax.

The book is basically fluff, but it's enjoyable fluff, in a short book that doesn't wear out its welcome. Followed by Flying Too High.

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Series: Phryne Fisher | Next in series: Flying Too High

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