Phryne knew the signs. This was a maternal lioness on guard against a predator who was stalking one of her cubs. This could be borne, as Phryne knew that her intentions were honourable. However, if this dinner was not going to be unbearably dull, she needed to get Mrs. Abrahams alone. An explanation would either clear the air or expel Miss Fisher from the house – and either would be preferable to this subdued hostility.
‘Mrs. Abrahams, perhaps you could show me the paintings in the hall? I should like another look at that Renoir,’ she asked, and the lady of the house accepted reluctantly.
When the door had safely closed on the slightly puzzled male faces, Phryne said, ‘What have you got against me, Mrs. Abraham?’ and watched the closed face come alive in dazzling rage. Porcelain, she fancied, cracked as Julia Abrahams demanded, ‘What do you want with my son?’
‘I just want to borrow him,’ said Phryne sweetly. ‘I’ll give him back when you want him. I know I can’t keep him, and I won’t hurt him.’
Mrs Abrahams cocked her sleek black head and considered her visitor. When she spoke again, her voice had the same lilt as her husband’s.
‘You don’t want to marry him?’
There was a pause, then Simon’s mother demanded, ‘What’s wrong with him?’
Phyne released the laugh she had been suppressing, and after a moment, Mrs. Abrahams joined in. Her finished school poise slid from her like a cloak from the shoulders, and she laughed so hard that she had to lean her immaculate back against the wall.
This is another nice mystery adventure of Miss Fisher, the unflappable flapper. It involves the Jewish community of Australia and I really enjoy learning about it. There is a lot of insight into that culture. The Jewish culture and history at large, but also the very specific incarnation of it that was forged in Australia. In the 1920s, this community was fighting to have a new homeland in Palestine. It was kind of strange but very interesting to see how this was perceived inside the Jewish community since there were many different stances toward it.
The mystery was a bit less intriguing, I’m afraid. I’m particularly disappointed that I guessed the murder before it was revealed. But the movement of the story was nice. I enjoyed finding all the usual cast again, which admittedly is one of the cosiest parts of this series. Every time, it’s like going back to a familiar and dear place.
This was a good one.
In post is part of the Thursday Quotables meme. If you want to discover more about this meme and maybe take part in it, head over to Bookshelf Fantasies