RogerBW's Blog

Murder in Williamstown, Kerry Greenwood 12 June 2023

2022 historical detection, twenty-second in Greenwood's Phryne Fisher series (1920s flapper detective in Australia). Phryne happens across an opium-pipe, then a corpse, in a suburb to the west of Melbourne; meanwhile her family work to track down irregularities at the Blind Institute.

Greenwood's solidly back on form here, with the subsidiary mysteries getting a reasonable amount of complexity while not detracting from the main case. There's a reasonable interpretation of how Phryne, with a Chinese lover who's something of a power in that community, still can't simply jump in with both feet asking questions when she's clearly not Chinese herself.

There's yet another new explanation for Jane's short hair, and Tinker has apparently now been adopted rather than simply "borrowed", but these don't affect the plot. This is more of a comfort-food book than a sharp-edged social poking book like some of the first few, but that's not in itself a bad thing.

I felt a more elegiac tone than in pre-illness books, and getting everyone together for a party at the end felt like taking out an option on the end of the series, but while these recent books don't necessarily have the energy of the earlier ones they're still a welcome return to characters one's come to like.

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Previous in series: Death in Daylesford | Series: Phryne Fisher

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