Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Snow King

Cocaine Blues
A Phryne Fisher Mystery
by Kerry Greenwood

Genre; Fiction/Mystery
Publisher; All&Unwin/Australia/2005
Pages; 195

Plot; Phryne Fisher is a young, vivacious, fast-car-loving, thrill seeking, couture wearing mistress who cannot help but jump at the opportunity for adventure when a London Aristocrat asks her to investigate the possible poisoning of his daughter, Lydia. It is this adventure that brings her to the streets of Melbourne and the luxurious rooms of the Windsor Hotel.

Almost immediately Phryne finds herself thrown into a chaotic world of poisoned wives, cocaine smuggling gangsters, back-street abortionists, corrupt police and communists. However, Phryne is no flake and takes each dangerous encounter in her stride with the help of her loyal and gutsy maid Dot, her stout and stubborn friend Dr. MacMillan, her muscle-bound Russian lover Sasha and the two tenacious, yet charming, taxi drivers Cec and Bert.

On her search for the "King of Snow", a menacing lord of the cocaine world, Phryne is thrust into situations from which any 1920's woman would cower but Phryne stands up and is able to defeat her adversaries ending her adventures with a steamy conclusion set in the Turkish Baths of Little Lonsdale Street.

My Thoughts; What a fantastic read! Who wouldn't love a woman who drives fast cars, knows the intricacies of the martial arts, can take down a man twice her size and does it all while wearing white gloves, a french hairstyle and the most stylish of couture.

Kerry Greenwood has done a wonderful job of developing a character that you cannot help but adore and root for. From the moment you first meet Phryne Fisher you know that she is going to take you on an adventure from which you will walk away feeling thrilled.

This book has been well written, with a group of characters that the reader warms to. As you read Cocaine Blues you are confronted with the onslaught of sensations; fear, sadness, intrigue, eroticism and, best of all, laughter. Each character brings forward a new feeling. Cec and Bert, the taxi drivers, can either cause you to have fits of laughter or they can warm your heart with their sincerity. Sasha, the Russian dancer and Phrynes lover, can take your breath away with one exquisite movement or he can stop your breath completely as you fear for his life. Dr. MacMillan, the upright best friend, causes you to question Phryne and her actions and Dot, the loyal sidekick, who brings you back down to earth after a chaotic and action packed scene.

One of the most beautiful and appealing things about this book is the way Greenwood sets the scene and describes, such things as smell, in such a entrancing way. I was able to visualise every scene in total detail from the sheen of a woman's ballgown to the aromatic and spiced steam of the Turkish Baths. Greenwood's attention to detail is remarkable.

Another important note to make about this book is that it is not your typical Women's mystery. We are not presented with the usual female detective, skimpily clad in short skirts and sharp heels, Phryne Fisher may be tough and she may be able to fight off a man twice her size, but she is classy and femanine, making her all the more appealing.

I highly recommend this book because I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Luckily it is part of a series of over a dozen books, so I see myself following Phryne Fisher on many more adventures.


  1. This just sounds like a movie waiting to happen!

  2. I was thinking that as I read it. Or maybe a TV show because there are over a dozen in the series...

  3. Sounds fun... but it's such a short book! The end would come way to quickly for me!

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  4. Wow! I want to read this book girl!

  5. Aye.Me, yes it is a short book, but you would be surprised at how well the storyline is formed and concluded in the timeframe.
    And the best thing, If you feel that you have been left wanting more you can pick up the next in the series.
    Once I have finished with my current read, "The Flesh Statue" I think I may revisit Miss Fisher in another of her adventures.

  6. So excited to read such a positive review of a Kerry Greenwood title - I ordered another title of hers, Queen of Flowers, last week - can't wait!

  7. bookwordlover; I only have 2 of her Phryne Fisher series, but i plan to order the whole bunch after reading the next. They are a great read!