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Cocaine Blues (Phryne Fisher Mysteries…
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Cocaine Blues (Phryne Fisher Mysteries (Paperback)) (original 1989; edition 2007)

by Kerry Greenwood

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7295612,849 (3.59)129
Member:katefrancis
Title:Cocaine Blues (Phryne Fisher Mysteries (Paperback))
Authors:Kerry Greenwood
Info:Poisoned Pen Press (2007), Edition: First Paperback Edition, Paperback, 175 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
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Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood (1989)

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Honorable Miss Phryne Fisher travelers back to Melbourne, Australia after years abroad. But she isn't there on a social visit. A couple has asked her to investigate why their daughter get terrible ill now and then. Is her husband trying to poison her?

It always a bit tricky reading a book after watching a tv-series based on it, and vice versa. But I, despite all the difference between the book and the tv-series still enjoyed the book immensely. But I must admit that I miss the sexual tension between Phryne Fisher and Jack Robinson that exist in the tv-series and alas is absent in the book. But despite that, the story was great and I love to read about Australia in the 1920s.

Phryne Fisher is such a wonderful character, adventurous and glamorous. Now I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series!



Review also posted on And Now for Something Completely Different and It's a Mad Mad World ( )
  MaraBlaise | Dec 11, 2014 |
Miss Phryne Fisher is a fantastic character; I first encountered her in the TV show Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. I prefer my mystery novels to be dark and hard-boiled but in the effort to be a literary explorer, I decided to pick up the first in the Phryne Fisher novels. What I love about the TV show plays a small part in this cosy crime novel.

Set in 1920’s Melbourne, Cocaine Blues follows Miss Fisher as she tries to hunt down an illegal abortionist who is leaving so much damage that the women are lucky to make it out alive. While cocaine is fast rising as the drug of choice in high society, Phryne Fisher finds herself caught up in web of smuggling, corruption and Turkish baths. Cocaine Blues’ mystery may be basic and the resolution far too convenient but this book sets up Phryne Fisher as a private detective that will solve a mystery with style and grace.

This novel is evidently focusing on the lifestyle of a 1920s socialite; take out the mystery and you are still left with a trendy Jazz age story with a strong heroine. The demographic for this novel is clearly focused towards woman; Kerry Greenwood often takes time to describe every inch of Phryne’s outfit and style. Almost to a point where I got a little angry by it, but this translates well to television as visual element is one of the reasons that make the show so great.

Phryne Fisher is a wealthy flapper with plenty of spare time; she is a strong willed feminist and a sensual being that shocks high society in 1920s Melbourne. She seems to have a wealth of knowledge but I can’t seem to pick her age, I gather she must be middle aged with all her life skills but Kerry Greenwood never mentions her age. She takes the time to go into great detail about everything she is wearing, why not give us an idea of her age.

I might be biased towards the TV show Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries but I think that captured Phyrne’s personality and the essence of what Greenwood was trying to write far better than this novel. It was fun to read and I enjoyed experiencing Phryne Fisher’s personality on the page. However I think the TV adaptation does a far better job with all the other characters, including Dot, Bert and Cec. Unfortunately Jack Robinson only got a look in and I’m finding it hard to remember if Hugh Collins even appeared.

If you are looking for a cosy crime novel with a strong kick-ass female detective then Cocaine Blues might be worth checking out. There are currently twenty books in the Phryne Fisher series. Also, as I mentioned a few times, the TV series is excellent. I don’t know if I will read any more in the series, it really depends if I need any light fillers to read and if I have access to the next book. I doubt I’ll ever run out of books to read but who knows maybe another dip into the world of Miss Fisher might be calling me and I can read the next book in the series, Flying Too High.

This review originally appeared on my blog; http://literary-exploration.com/2014/05/24/cocaine-blues-by-kerry-greenwood/ ( )
  knowledge_lost | Dec 7, 2014 |
Kerry Greenwood's entire Phryne Fisher series is wonderful. The Hon. Phryne Fisher lives and detects in Melbourne, Australia, in the 1920s. This is the first book in the series (and I think she's up to 16 now) and they just get better and better.
They're wonderfully fun books, but also a very interesting look at class and gender. ( )
  jselliott | Dec 5, 2014 |
I don't know how I've missed the Phryne Fisher series, since this--the first installment--came out in 1989. But I'm happy to have discovered it now. Phryne, pronounced "fry-knee," BTW, if--like me--you were puzzling over the pronunciation--was accidentally named after a famous Ancient Greek courtesan. Her father intended to name her after a goddess, but misspoke when the doctor wrote down her name. It turned out to be an apt moniker, thought, as Phryne is a free-wheeling flapper who exercises all her liberties. Though she grew up poor in Australia, her father eventually inherited an English title and a pile of money along with it, which Phryne then inherited from him. Though she enjoys the freedoms that money allows her, Phryne finds the leisurely aristocratic life boring, so when a friend-of-a-friend asks her to travel back to Melbourne to find what ails their sickly daughter, Phryne happily takes the job.

First books in detective series can be kind of tricky, but Greenwood manages to introduce her character, and several others who are clearly going to be her sidekicks, in a way that doesn't feel contrived or "info-dump"-y. She also establishes Phryne's feminist bona fides in subtle ways: for example, in a side case, Phryne helps track down a back-alley abortionist and put him out of business. She herself plans to have no use for such services, because she's smuggled a contraband "medical device" (a diaphragm) into the country. And we learn that Phyrne is incredibly quick-witted not because Greenwood tells us this, but via the dialogue and the ways in which Phryne is always a step ahead of the reader in making connections.

I haven't seen any of the TV adaptations of this series ("The Miss Fisher Mysteries")--I think I'll read a couple more of the books before I watch them, since I suspect that Phryne may have had to be toned down for television. ( )
  rvhatha | Dec 3, 2014 |
"The Princesse nudged Phryne in the ribs with an albow evidently especially sharpened for the purpose of compelling attention... She was the last person in the world whom Phryne could imagine selling any sort of drug. She was so oppressively healthy."

The Honourable Phryne Fisher is rather bored with London society and, having demonstrated some super sleuthing at a party, accepts the commission of a gentleman of wealth to check up on his daughter in Melbourne, who seems to be being poisoned by her husband. Little does Phryne expect the cavalcade of adventures awaiting her in her hometown.

The plot in this opening novel takes a little while to get going, and Greenwood is determined to keep a side-plot rumbling along; as we are being introduced to Phryne and her crew, the slower pace is fine. It took me a while to get into the mystery of the Russian dancers, but as the pace of the book does not permit impatience, one trundles along quite happily.

Phryne is a wonderful character; a dab hand at most things, but not perfect. She rather delights in causing scandal which is usually very funny. I have to say, I love Dot - Phryne rescues her from a bad situation which has made her harbour murderous intentions, and sets her back on the straight and narrow. Dot's a nervous creature but with a heart of gold, frequently concerned about Phryne's wellbeing and ethics, but clearly knows a friend when she sees one. The television series appears to stay truer to the spirit of Dot's character than to Phryne's (I suspect Phryne is edited on screen for ratings purposes!). Bert and Cec, Phryne's local henchmen, are also frequently a source of comedy and excellent foils for Phryne (especially the more stubborn Bert).

We are so very firmly in 1920s Melbourne here. The telephone is a source of mystery and fear for those who don't encounter it often, calling cards are left, Phryne resides at the Windsor hotel and drives the only Hispano-Suiza in Australia. Greenwood sets a compelling stage.

Highly enjoyable and definitely recommended for Australian fans of private investigator fiction and period drama. ( )
  readingwithtea | Dec 1, 2014 |
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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)

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

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