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Dead Man's Chest by Kerry Greenwood

Dead Man's Chest

by Kerry Greenwood

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Phryne Fisher Mysteries (18)

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English (12)  Piratical (1)  All languages (13)
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
lots of good eating and drinking and holidaying. most excellent ( )
  aliceoddcabinet | Jul 25, 2015 |
Phryne goes to the seashore, but mystery inevitably follows. In this episode, Phyrne rents a house in a seaside town, but when she and her family arrive, the promised servants are not there to greet them! As she delves into this, she discovers an appealing new henchperson -- a small but effective boy -- and a collection to a nasty bunch of smugglers. Like its precursor, "Murder on a Midsummer Night", this didn't strike me as one of Phryne's best efforts; for one thing, she is getting awfully domesticated. But any Phryne is worth reading. ( )
  annbury | Oct 24, 2014 |
Kerry Greenwood’s Phryne Fisher series is one that is top of my “buy it immediately a new book is issued” list. This latest exciting installment lives up to the high standard of 1920s high jinks I have come to expect as Ms Fisher fights injustice with her pearl handled pistol, kind heart and quick wit.

DEAD MAN’S CHEST, the eighteenth in the series, opens with Phryne travelling to the resort town of Queenscliff with her faithful maid Dot, dog Molly and two adopted daughters, Ruth and Jane, for a summer holiday and a good break from sleuthing. It quickly becomes apparent that mystery is not taking a summer break when they discover that Mr and Mrs Johnston the butler and cook that come with the house Phryne has borrowed have gone missing. The house is not prepared for them, and there is no food, but the family quickly rolls up their collective sleeves and settle in. Very quickly they are joined by a young fish delivery boy named Tinker that Phryne rescues from some upper-class bullies, and Tinker in turn rescues the Johnson's abandoned dog, Gaston. It is the appearance of this much loved pet that arouses suspicions that the Johnston’s have met with foul play, as they would never have willing left him behind.

Everyone does their bit to investigate, and there is a lot to investigate. Strange neighbours abound, Surrealists on one side, the bully boys on the other and a crotchety old lady who rules her long-suffering family with an iron fist across the way. Throw into the plot an epidemic of girly pigtail slashing, the arrival of a film company, a locked room full of bones, suspected Bundaberg rum smuggling, and a hidden pirate's treasure then you have one jam packed book.

Don’t fret though; there is still plenty of time for delicious meals cooked by Ruth and lots of restorative cocktails. Kerry Greenwood knows the period well, and through her characters gives us an insight into everyday life in the late 1920’s. Phryne is a thoroughly modern Miss with impeccable taste in clothes, men and cocktails – and not necessarily in that order.

Stop press: Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries 13 one-hour episodes based on the Phryne Fisher novels went into production this year with screening scheduled for ABC1 in 2012. I for one will be glued to the small screen when the premier airs.
  sally906 | Apr 3, 2013 |
One of my favorites of the series so far. Lots of delicious food and fabulous outfits and rescuing people and other people getting their comeuppances. Plus Surrealists!
It was just the perfect thing to read in the park on a sunny afternoon. ( )
  JenneB | Apr 2, 2013 |
In the 18th instalment of the Phryne (pronounced Fry-knee) Fisher series set in 1920′s Australia, Phryne and her entourage have left Melbourne for a summer holiday in the seaside town of Queenscliff. They are to occupy the home of an anthropologist acquaintance of Phryne’s but when they arrive they find the Johnstons, a servant couple who were to look after the holidaymakers, appear to have left in a hurry and taken all the supplies with them. As well as being wealthy enough to get herself out of most pickles the Right Honourable Phryne is both unflappable and resourceful so soon has the house running smoothly with the help of her extended family. Practicalities dealt with Phryne and company turn to considerations of the Johnston’s disappearance and the alarming matter that has occupied the town’s gossips: who is cutting of the plaits of all the young ladies?

DEAD MAN’S CHEST provides that all too rare phenomenon: an intelligent cosy mystery with the bonus of a sense of humour and set against the backdrop of the roaring twenties. Phryne is the kind of very strong female character who you’ll either love or hate and she has grown on me over time. She is beautiful, rich and intelligent (which could get annoying after a while) but is also a fiercely loyal friend and is far more impressed by a person’s abilities and character than she is their social status. She is also not one to stand idly by when she sees an injustice or other wrong-doing being committed: a trait the world is surely crying out for. She has two adopted daughters who have both been rescued from some form of poverty or danger and during the course of the novel acquires another young charge, a boy named Tinker who starts out as a kitchen-hand but soon becomes integral to Phryne’s crime solving. There are a plethora of other characters to enjoy, both nice and not, but my favourites were a crowd of surrealists who provided just the right smidgen of bizarre that most books could benefit from.

Although fairly easy to follow, as befits a cosy mystery, the plot here has plenty to keep the reader’s attention and there’s a nice balance of background historical detail and plot advancement throughout the story. There’s a film about a local treasure myth being shot in the town which provides for a lot of the action and there are many social gatherings (always accompanied by lashings of marvellously described food) and little adventures to maintain interest. Although this is a long series you could easily start with this book, particularly as it involves only the core group of Phryne’s retinue as she’s not in her usual Melbourne haunts. I have only read a couple of the very early books in this series but I had no trouble picking things up as I went.

Stephanie Daniel’s narration of this novel is outstanding, providing a myriad of accents and voices for the rather large cast of characters but never feeling like it is a forced performance. It has been a long time since I acquainted myself with Phryne Fisher and her extended family and I found myself pleasantly surprised with the meeting. It feels like Greenwood has put just as much work into this instalment as she would have done her first (not something that can be said about all authors with long-running series) and the characters were fresh an interesting. Highly recommended to fans of light historical or cosy mysteries, or those wondering if they should give one a go.

My rating 3.5 ( )
  bsquaredinoz | Mar 31, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kerry Greenwoodprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Daniel, StephanieNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Norling, BethCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dot opened her eyes. Only because the Hispano-Suiza had, at last, stopped.
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When she tries to go on summer holiday, Phryne Fisher discovers that the Johnsons, who were supposed to be at the vacation home, are nowhere in sight, beginning a mystery that involves smugglers, pirate treasure, and the mysterious Madame Selavey.

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