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Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood
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Cocaine Blues (original 1989; edition 2006)

by Kerry Greenwood

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6394415,048 (3.59)85
Member:majkia
Title:Cocaine Blues
Authors:Kerry Greenwood
Info:Poisoned Pen Press (2006), Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library, Recently Read, Mystery
Rating:***1/2
Tags:ebook, mystery

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Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood (1989)

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English (42)  French (1)  All languages (43)
Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
Fun mystery series set in the 20's and 30's in Australia featuring a "very modern Millie" type character in Miss Phryne Fischer. She is a very accomplished and courageous lady who gets very involved in the local crime. Definitely a cozy type mystery but with a much better understanding of the character development and the excellent description necessary to make it a cut above the average light mystery. Phryne has the usual endearing group of comrades to play off of and they are an intriguing bunch. The writing is very good and quite entertaining. ( )
  kmmt48 | Jan 16, 2014 |
The last thing I needed was another series but that is what I got with this book, I really enjoyed the character of Phryne, she’s tough and funny and a sexual being( when you get towards the end you will understand this statement) who was way ahead of her time. This is the best kind of cozy with historical fiction thrown in. This series is set 1920’s and Phryne is bored with being a London socialite and at a party is asked by a gentleman to find out what is going on with his daughter in Australia so off she goes and so begins our adventure into the seedy world of cocaine and murder.

Sometimes a person forgets how long cocaine has been prevalent and how long it has ruined lives, what I found interesting is this wasn’t the downtrodden these were rich people addicted to cocaine and getting it right from their friendly neighborhood pharmacist. Along with this there is a story about abortion too this book and its characters seemed far ahead of their time yet at the same time you could tell the sensibilities were right for the time period.

The mystery was almost secondary to the fun cast of characters, although I did enjoy the mystery; I hope to see more of Dot, Sasha, and Cec & Bert.

I also plan on watching this episode of the TV show soon and see how it compares to the book.

I listened to this on audio narrated by, Stephanie Daniel and was totally swept up in her narration every accent was superb and everyone had their own voice, I am so glad she narrated the rest of this series. Then this morning I heard that Stephanie Daniel passed away last week and was very saddened since I had just discovered her wonderful talent but I will honor her memory by listening to the rest of this series and anything else she has narrated. RIP Miss Daniel thank you for sharing your beautiful voice the world.

If you are a fan of cozies or the 1920’s give this one a try.

4 Stars ( )
  susiesharp | Jan 8, 2014 |
This book was excellent! I have seen Kerry Greenwood's books at the library and was never tempted to pick them up. I was on an audiobook slump after a Jo Nesbo marathon. I just couldn't find any book that appealed to me. Enter Phryne Fisher! The book begins with Phryne uncovering a jewel theft at a dinner party. Soon, she is asked to travel to Australia to check up on and investigate the health of a nobleman's daughter. While she is attempting to do this she uncovers an abortionist that is killing his patients and a cocaine ring.

What makes this book so good is Phryne herself. She is fearless, rich, beautiful, and smart. She drives fast cars, flies airplanes and take someone out in a street fight. She is also loyal and kind.

I am downloading the second title in this series while I type up this review.

Good stuff! ( )
  erica471 | Jan 5, 2014 |
I really wanted to love this book--cute independent flapper heroine, unusual setting of 1920s Australia, fairly tight plot--but it didn't quite come together.

Though Phryne is an enjoyable character, and I totally loved her fabulous clothes and her attitude towards life, she is a little too Nancy Drew in her ability to excel in all things: she's an excellent dancer! She's an excellent driver! She's an excellent pilot! She's an excellent dresser! She's an excellent shot!

Plus every once in awhile these absolute clunkers poke through: the policeman could be bribed because...he had four kids and his wife needed an operation! The villainess at the end says..."It was all going so well until you came along!"

Well, it can't have been too bad because I finished the whole thing, and I don't always. In fact, I'm thinking I will try a title later in the series to see if the author shook off any of the cliches as she went along. ( )
  MelissaZD | Jan 1, 2014 |
I first heard of Kerry Greenwood a few years ago - her series of mystery books focusing on Phryne Fisher was presented amongst various cozy mysteries, this kind of mystery which prohibits swear words, sex or violence. I was then between two minds - on the one hand, it seemed really I wasn't the target audience for this as I don't avoid all those things in my reading or indeed in real life (except for the violence part, obviously). On the other hand, I'm a huge fan of The Thin Man movie series which I suppose has elements of the cozy mystery (deaths are quick, you won't see Nora and Nick even sleeping in the same bed because of the Production Code and you won't hear them swear either (though I suspect Nora would). I didn't pick up Cocaine Blues then but it's always been at the back of my mind since.
Recently, I've been wanting to check what the mystery genre had to offer me and I once again, when researching books to read, stumbled upon Phryne Fisher. 1920s, a good cover, good website - let's just try, I thought, since it seems to tick so many of my boxes. I don't have to finish it after all if it's not good enough.

So happy I did! I was very pleasantly surprised by Cocaine Blues as it offered much more than I thought it would. We are introduced to Phryne Fisher, as I said, who's a rich woman who settles in Australia and solves mysteries. The book takes place in the 1920s and Phryne has all the elements of the flapper: she's high society, a great dancer and loves fashion. But there's more than that. Phryne Fisher is a free, unattached woman. In one scene she goes to church and is thoroughly bored by the sermons as she ponders that she's done a lot of what they say not to do and hasn't done a lot of what they tell people to do. She's not married and has some good times with a professional dancer. In another scene, she finds herself in the maternity ward of a hospital and explains to a nurse that she really doesn't want children - in a very funny moment, she holds a child's hand and tells him she hopes his mother will love him more than she does.
Phryne may be rolling in money but she actually comes from a very poor background, something which allows her to think about not only those whom society caters for, but also those who are left in the margins: very early in the book, while she's on her way to Australia on a boat, she explains that the wealthy are given the names of two hotels to stay in and she wonders 'where the steerage passengers are advised to stay'. Her strongest friendships are with characters who have to work to live.
In more ways than one, Phryne Fisher doesn't follow conventions and the setting of the 20s makes her modernity all the more believable.

However, Phryne isn't the only thing I was pleasantly surprised with. The plot touches on many unexpected things: while making a strong case for the need for safe, legal abortion, it also depicts back-alley abortions and their consequences in vivid detail, something I was not expecting in a cozy. The book also introduces characters such as women doctors and shows the need for better health care for women and while showing the limited choices they are provided with, it also gives examples of inspiring female characters who are amongst the best in the book.
The male characters are also very worthy of mention: one of them, a driver, provides some welcome commentary on class and assigned roles.

The mystery itself is engaging and way more thought-provoking than I thought it would be. Phryne is a wonderful character to follow and I absolutely fell in love with all the secondary characters who are very decent human beings. Cocaine Blues was overall a near-perfect book: it's fun and light in places, the setting is just right, the dresses are just so, and there is the right amount of stolen necklaces. On the other hand, it's also got some of the most politically conscious choices I've seen in a long while and I'm extremely happy it's the first in a series of books for I was absolutely taken aback by its brilliance.

In short - a fabulous read, Kerry Greenwood is an author after my own heart! ( )
1 vote RubyScarlett | Nov 11, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kerry Greenwoodprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Daniel, StephanieNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Norling, BethCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 159058385X, Paperback)

This is where it all started! The first classic Phryne Fisher mystery, featuring our delectable heroine, cocaine, communism and adventure. Phryne leaves the tedium of English high society for Melbourne, Australia, and never looks back.


The London season is in full fling at the end of the 1920s, but the Honorable Phryne Fisher--she of the green-grey eyes, diamant garters and outfits that should not be sprung suddenly on those of nervous dispositions--is rapidly tiring of the tedium of arranging flowers, making polite conversations with retired colonels, and dancing with weak-chinned men. Instead, Phryne decides it might be rather amusing to try her hand at being a lady detective in Melbourne, Australia.


Almost immediately from the time she books into the Windsor Hotel, Phryne is embroiled in mystery: poisoned wives, cocaine smuggling rings, corrupt cops and communism--not to mention erotic encounters with the beautiful Russian dancer, Sasha de Lisse--until her adventure reaches its steamy end in the Turkish baths of Little Lonsdale Street.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:36:40 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Phyrne Fisher heads for Melbourne, Australia, where she encounters a mystery involving poisoned wives, cocaine smuggling, corrupt cops, and communism.

(summary from another edition)

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