I have a soft spot for cheesy, fun mysteries that aren’t particularly mind-blowing. I do like thrillers and the like, but these cheesy mysteries have been a favorite of mine since I was a little girl.
I used to watch Masterpiece Mystery with my Nana, which meant I saw the likes of Poirot, Miss Marple, etc. and also watched Murder, She Wrote a lot with my Nana. I also grew up reading the Amelia Peabody series, though I hardly remember any of the ones I read!
I was in a bind for what to watch on Netflix a few months ago after my rewatch of some show – probably Supernatural? I honestly can’t remember. But, Sumsy recommended a fun mystery show call Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries and I loved it. Naturally, I looked up what it was based on and instantly added the first book, Cocaine Blues, to my “want” list. Fast-forward to now, and I’ve finally read it. Hurrah! I’ve also watched ALL AVAILABLE EPISODES… Netflix is so dangerous sometimes. Anywho, if you haven’t watched the show, I think you need to. Like, as soon as you finish this blog, go watch it.
This book is set in the 1920s in Australia. We meet Miss Phryne Fisher almost immediately in Cocaine Blues and notice that she has a knack for detection. She instantly sniffs out a thief and sends him packing without the stolen property or his pride. Miss Fisher is pretty wealthy, but she came from poverty. (Several people died in their large family, which lead to her father inheriting the family’s estate.)
Now, as Phryne sees it, she gets to have all the fun she wants, which is quite a lot. She is very independent, knows how to drive a car (which really freaks these 1920s dudes out), flies a plane, and several other awesome things. She starts to get pretty bored, and finds herself seeking information about a young woman named Lydia. Yep, that’s right, Lydia. Heh heh.
As she goes through this particular case, she starts to get caught up in a few other things, some of which tie-in with her current quest. She ends up solving each and every problem, and realizes that being a lady detective sure would be fun. Naturally, she can’t be an actual detective in the Australian police force, as women are only allowed to be policewomen, never detectives.
She starts her own private investigation business, and from what I’ve seen in the show becomes quite useful to the police force. They find her tedious, but they all know they’d never solve half of the cases without her. (Side note: Phryne seems to be quite a bit like Jessica Fletcher from Murder, She Wrote because murder seems to follow her wherever she is.)
I really enjoyed this book. It was a light, fun read. It wasn’t especially groundbreaking or awe-inspiring – just a fun little mystery. You get to see a lot of Phryne’s life, and laugh at some of what she does, and get to imagine (or see if you’re watching the show) some awesome 1920s fashion and music. I read it pretty quickly, and if I hadn’t been busy with work, it would’ve been a perfect candidate for a book I could finish in a day.
It is pretty obvious who the main baddie is, but sometimes it can be pretty fun. Sure, I like challenging mysteries, but again, these easy ones are really nice. In fact, Kerry Greenwood does a great job of keeping you interested even after you know who that baddie is. She takes Phryne through several adventures that you know no one could really get away with in real life, which makes this a perfect “I need to escape” book.
If you’re looking for a mystery/thriller that will freak you out and keep you guessing at every turn, this isn’t for you. But if you’re looking for a fun read that is pretty light, this is perfect! I do plan on reading more Phryne Fisher novels, and have several already listed on my Amazon wish list. You might see a few more reviewed here in the future.
Do you like mysteries whether regular or of the murder-variety? What are some of your favorite detective novels? Let me know!