‘Charles, dear, do stop asking unanswerable questions and pay attention. What about the murder of Bernard? Did you know him?’
‘And you knew that he had incriminating photographs of you?’
‘Yes.’ Charles took a cigarette from the box on the table and lit it with a jazz-striped lighter.
‘And you were at the Green Mill to watch him take part in that ghastly dance marathon?’
‘Yes. Mother was nagging at me to go out with you and I thought that as long as I had to go, I might has well see Bernard in the marathon and watch him break a leg, with any luck. But I never have any luck. If someone was going to kill him, and there must have been hundreds of people who wanted him dead as much as I did, why did they have to choose the night I was there? It looks bad, doesn’t it?’
‘Yes. But there are points in your favoure. One is the fact that you fainted at the sight of blood. The other is the weapon. It still hasn’t been found.’
‘Did they search all those musicians?’
‘Because they were all over the body like a rash. Tintagel Stone and Ben.’
‘Yes, but neither had any weapon to kill Bernard. Also, they only came down to see what had happened after he fell, and he was dead when he hit the ground.’
‘They’ll hang me, won’t they? The hangman will come up in a mask and put a bag over my head and a moose around my neck and they’ll kill me, they’ll kill me!’
Charles’ voice had risen to a scream. Phryne slapped him, hard, across the cheek. He gaped at her.
‘You hit me!’ he gasped. ‘ You hit me!’
‘And I’ll hit you again if you don’t pipe down. You’ll rouse the house. You have overlooked the factor that is going to preserve your miserable life.’
‘What?’ asked Charles, hand still capping his reddened cheek.
‘Me,’ said Phryne immodestly. ‘I am a vital factor. I will find out what happened and I will get you out.’
I first came in contact with Miss Phryne through the tv series. I don’t know why, I had a feeling it was going to be a silly show, but since it’s the 1920s and since it’s a mystery, I decided to give it a go. I fell in love.
So when I got the chance to read one of the books through NetGalley, I immediately grabbed it. Once again, I was initially put off (it wasn’t the first book in the series, and at the beginning, I had a hard time getting into it), but then a fell in love all over again.
There is really a lot to love about this series. First of all, Miss Phryne Fisher is a fantastic character: haughty and elegant, but also good-hearted and generous. Smart, educated, self-confident, but also insecure enough to make her not really a superhero.
The cast of characters around her is equally endearing, very easy to love all of them in their own way. This was a huge winning point for me.
The era reconstruction is absolutely outstanding, one of the best I’ve read. It is plain clear this author did a lot of research and – this is the tricky part – integrated them into the story seamlessly. Greenwood’s 1920s world is vivid, real, and still different enough that you know it is not the world we’re living now. Still, she depicts it in such natural tones you can’t help feel you’re there.
The mystery was clever and well constructed as well as the investigation. I even like the romantic parenthesis Phryne takes at some point, though that went on for a little bit too long for me (but hey, I’m not particularly fond of romances, so…). I really liked the connection with WWI, which – like all the rest – was integrated beautifully in the story.
It’s a great series. Read it!
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