Phryne Fisher is on holiday. She means to take the train to Sydney (where the harbour bridge is being built), go to a few cricket matches, dine with the Chancellor of the university and perhaps go to the Arts Ball with that celebrated young modernist, Chas Nutall. She has the costume of a lifetime and she's not afraid to use it. When she arrives there, however, her maid Dot finds that her extremely respectable married sister Joan has vanished, leaving her small children to the neglectful care of a resentful husband. She rescues the children, but what has become of Joan, who would never leave her babies? Surely she hasn't run away with a lover, as gossip suggests? Phryne must trawl the nightclubs and bloodtubs of Darlinghurst to find out. And while Phryne is visiting the university, two very pretty young men, Joss and Clarence, ask her to find out who has broken into the Dean's safe and stolen a number of things, including the Dean's wife's garnets and an irreplaceable illuminated book called the Hours of Juana the Mad. An innocent student has been blamed. So there is no rest for the wicked, and Phryne girds up her loins, loads her pearl handled .32 Beretta, and sallies forth to find mayhem, murder, black magic, and perhaps a really good cocktail at the Hotel Australia.
"The change of scene and a hint of Dorothy L. Sayers gives the delightfully refreshing Phryne ...one of her best cases to date." - Kirkus Reviews.
"The author artfully blends action, humor and deduction." - Publishers Weekly.
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Rated of 5
Cloggie Downunder more excellent Greenwood Death Before Wicket is the tenth in the Phrynne Fisher series by popular Australian author, Kerry Greenwood. It is summer 1928 and Dot and Phrynne take the train to Sydney: Dot to visit with her sister Joan, Phrynne ostensibly to watch a Test Match (was it Bradman’s first?) and dine with the University’s Vice Chancellor. Phrynne has promised Dot there will be no murders, but two handsome young Uni students have asked her to look into a theft of exam papers from the Dean’s safe for which their good friend has been blamed. The investigation gets complicated as Phrynne learns that the safe was also emptied of the Faculty books, a valuable papyrus, an illuminated book, an Aboriginal stone axe, the Dean’s wife’s rubies and the petty cash, expanding the list of suspects exponentially. Dot’s visit also hits a snag: it seems her thoroughly respectable sister has turned into a lady of the night. This instalment has Phrynne dining with Professors, traipsing through slums, quoting poetry in a Bohemian café, getting the better of a standover man, making amulets, watching several cricket matches, removing curses and being thrown into a well. The plot has plenty of twists and there is theft, blackmail, magic, politics and roses. As usual, Phrynne is not shy when confined in close quarters with the right man. It was truly enjoyable to read a Phrynne set in Sydney, especially at my old Alma Mater, the University of Sydney, and I wholly concur with Brazell’s opinion of missionaries. I am fairly certain, though, that stutterers do not do so in their thoughts. Another excellent Greenwood novel.
Kerry Greenwood was born in the Melbourne suburb of Footscray and after
wandering far and wide, she returned to live there. She has degrees in English
and Law from Melbourne University and was admitted to the legal profession on
the 1st April 1982, a day which she finds both soothing and significant. Kerry
has written twenty novels, a number of plays (including The Troubadours with
Stephen D'Arcy), is an award-winning children's writer and has edited and
contributed to several anthologies. In 1996 she published a book of essays on
female murderers called Things She Loves: Why Women Kill.
The Phryne Fisher series (pronounced Fry-knee, to rhyme with briny) began in
1989 with Cocaine Blues which was a great success. Kerry has written fourteen
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