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Murder on the Ballarat Train (1991)

by Kerry Greenwood

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Phryne Fisher Mysteries {Kerry Greenwood} (3)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7534023,009 (3.75)78
When the 1920s' most glamorous lady detective, the Honourable Miss Phryne Fisher, arranges to go to Ballarat for the week, she eschews the excitement of her red Hispano-Suiza racing car for the sedate safety of the train. The last thing she expects is to have to use her trusty Beretta .32 to save lives. As the passengers sleep, they are poisoned with chloroform. Phryne is left to piece together the clues after this restful country sojourn turns into the stuff of nightmares: a young girl who can't remember anything, rumors of white slavery and black magic, and the body of an old woman missing her emerald rings. Then there is the rowing team and the choristers, all deliciously engaging young men. At first they seem like a pleasant diversion....… (more)
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» See also 78 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
It's been interesting coming to these books after first experiencing the television series. I always find it fascinating in what has and has not changed from book to screen.

In this case, we see the introduction of Jane and Ruth, both of whom feature in the show, but I see that there is one change between this original version and the adaptation. Their story origins are the same, yet more sinister with the reveal of what the Great Hypno does to the girls that fall into his clutches (forcing them to pickpocket is much milder by comparison). Also, this introduces us to one character I would have loved to see on the show, but I guess they felt that Doctor Mac was as inclusive as they could be.

Our two mysteries play out much the same, with the understandable changes from book to show. One interesting change was Lindsay's history, thus eliminating the need for his roommate to steal his alibi for the night of the murder, which he does anyway.

Honestly, I'm loving the books as much as I loved the show. The changes don't bother me here, as they do in some other adaptations.

It turns out my local library (now that I've moved) has the majority of the series, so I'll more than likely be able to read through the rest of the books very soon. I know my reviews are more about the differences between the book and the series episode, but that's how I'm experiencing these stories, so that's my thought process as I write about the books. ( )
  regularguy5mb | Jul 3, 2021 |
Phryne Fisher, Dot and all the other first-class passengers on the train to Ballarat are somehow chloroformed; waking early, Phryne manages to kick open windows, stop the train and save the passengers - all but old lady Henderson, who has somehow disappeared. Phryne takes on the old lady’s daughter, who has sustained bad burns from the chloroform, and also a young girl who has no memory, not even of her own name. When the old lady’s body is found along the train tracks, suffocated and apparently stomped on, it is up to Phryne to trace the clues back to the baffling events…. This third book in the Miss Fisher series introduces some other characters who join her household, notably Jane the amnesiac. As is becoming the norm in this series, Phryne finds a new lover and some of the crimes she investigates are sordid indeed; but just because polite people didn’t talk about sexual desire *or* sexual abuse in the 1920s doesn’t mean those things didn’t happen; that’s one of the refreshing things about this series. Even with serious content, the series is still very light and frothy to me, and a joy to read; recommended! ( )
  thefirstalicat | Jan 18, 2021 |
Still fun and very feisty, Miss Fisher travels slightly further afield to Ballarat on the train, except the journey ceases at Ballan after a murder is discovered.

The story is fun and pacey. Miss Fisher is a very assertive and confident character. ( )
  Vividrogers | Dec 20, 2020 |
MURDER ON THE BALLARAT TRAIN by Kerry Greenwood is ‘Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries Book #3’.
I liked this particular title very much.
We have train journeys which are interrupted with murder, mayhem and thievery.
We have Miss Phryne Fisher at her most independent, courageous self.
We have erotic dalliances with young students; haute couture; missing children; hypnotists; interesting locations and characters. Dot, Bert, Cec and Mr. & Mrs. Butler all put in helpful appearances.
We have a glimpse of the society and history of 1920s Australia; specifically Melbourne and its environs.
We have a lot of fun. An excellent read. ( )
  diana.hauser | May 5, 2020 |
Phryne often reminds me of an aperitif--light, cleansing for the palate, refreshing. The work never seems heavy-handed, though the endings often are happier than not. Delightful. ( )
  slmr4242 | Oct 16, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kerry Greenwoodprimary authorall editionscalculated
Daniel, StephanieNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Norling, BethCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Stephen D'Arcy

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Fortunately, the Honourable Phryne Fisher was a light sleeper.
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When the 1920s' most glamorous lady detective, the Honourable Miss Phryne Fisher, arranges to go to Ballarat for the week, she eschews the excitement of her red Hispano-Suiza racing car for the sedate safety of the train. The last thing she expects is to have to use her trusty Beretta .32 to save lives. As the passengers sleep, they are poisoned with chloroform. Phryne is left to piece together the clues after this restful country sojourn turns into the stuff of nightmares: a young girl who can't remember anything, rumors of white slavery and black magic, and the body of an old woman missing her emerald rings. Then there is the rowing team and the choristers, all deliciously engaging young men. At first they seem like a pleasant diversion....

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