Its Christmas, and Phryne has an invitation to the Last Best party of 1928, a four-day extravaganza being held at Werribee Manor house and grounds by the Golden Twins, Isabella and Gerald Templar. She knew them in Paris, where they caused a sensation.
Phryne is in two minds about going. But when threats begin arriving in the mail, she promptly decides to accept the invitation. No one tells Phryne Fisher what to do.
At the Manor House, she is accommodated in the Iris room, and at the party dallies with two polo-playing women, a Goat lady (and goat), a large number of glamorous young men, and a very rude child called Tarquin.
The acolytes of the golden twins are smoking hashish and dreaming. The jazz is as hot as the drinks are cold. Heaven. It all seems like good clean fun until three people are kidnapped, one of them the abominable child, and Phryne must puzzle her way through the cryptic clues of the scavenger hunt to retrieve the hostages and save the party from further disaster.
"One of the most exciting and dangerous of the adventures into which Phryne's fabulous and risky lifestyle have led her." - Kirkus Reviews.
"The Joker's identity will surprise many readers, but as usual for this long-running series the major pleasures come from Greenwood's wry voice and the larger-than-life Fisher." - Publishers Weekly.
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Rated of 5
Delightful mystery, as always.
Murder in the Dark is the sixteenth book in the popular Phryne Fisher series by Australian author Kerry Greenwood. It is the end of the year, and Phryne, somewhat reluctantly, accepts an invitation to attend the Last Best Party of 1928, spurred on to do so when several anonymous communications warn her against it. Held at Werribee in the Chirnside Manor, this six-day party is being thrown by the beautiful and charismatic Gerald Templar and his equally beautiful twin sister, Isabella, lately arrived from London via Paris. The Templars have brought with them their acolytes, including, among others, the Wildean Sylvanus Leigh and the Sapphic girls from Montparnasse. Amid the two hundred guests are the polo-playing Grammar Boys and Wonnangatta Tigers, a jazz trio, Arabian, Japanese and medieval musicians, the delectable Nicholas Booth (whom Phryne deems fit to dally with in Lin Chung’s absence), Madge, the Goat lady and her mint-addicted goat, a scowling orphan named Tarquin and Blues singer Nerine. The Last Best Party includes themed dinners, hamper lunches, a polo match, a deer hunt, trap shooting, poetry recitals, parlour games, a Bal Masqué, a jazz concert, plenty of drinking, eating and hashish, and certain other decadent activities. Upon arrival, Phryne finds her invitation has more than just a social aspect, as Gerald Templar has been receiving death threats and pleads for her assistance. Soon enough, young Tarquin goes missing, riddles begin appearing and Phryne finds she is trying to trap a contract killer. Stabbing, mass poisoning, kidnapping, ground glass in cold cream, a ransom note, and a coral snake in a gift box all feature. Motives of revenge, jealousy, hatred and greed propel several different offenders. As well as quotes from classic poems and plays, and recipes for delicious cocktails, the reader tastes Christmas in the Fisher household and chez Williams, Butler, Yates and Johnson. Phryne goes undercover as a housemaid, wins a bet using a bunch of mint, remembers a few things her detested father was right about, attempts some rhyme and asks the all-important question: just how much cream can one cat hold? Delightful mystery, as always.
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 books in this series with no sign ...
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