It was eleven by the Green Mill’s clock when the cornet player went into a muted reprise in ‘Bye Bye Blackbird’, and one of the marathon dancers plunged heavily and finally to the floor at Phryne Fisher’s feet. She stumbled over him. His partner dropped to her knees with a wail.
There is no prelude to the murder in this book. The murder takes place in paragraph one and the rest of the book is devoted to the business of solving the mystery and wrapping up the side dramas which arise as a consequence.
No-nonsense amateur sleuth, the Hon. Phryne Fisher is at the scene of the murder and, of course, decides she will solve it, especially when her dance partner, Charles Freeman, disappears from the scene. Although he seems the prime suspect, Phryne is quite sure he isn’t guilty. She isn’t, however, sure who is, nor how they managed to stab a man without coming near him. Phryne, however, delights in a good mystery and will pursue it relentlessly until it is solved.
This is Phryne Fisher’s fifth msytery and, like its predecessors, provides plenty of action. As well as the mystery of the murder, there are the additional puzzles of Charles Freeman’s missing brother and the absentee husband of one of the band members. Like all of author Greenwood’s offerings, there is a plethora of fine food, good music, quality wine and – of course – beautiful men, all of which Phryne Fisher is devoted to.
Phryne Fisher is a woman before her time in 1920s Melbourne, with tastes and attitudes that shock some of her more conservative peers, but the money and class to get away with them. She is a strong, liberated woman, but certainly not averse to partaking of male assistance when required.
The Greenmill Murder was first published in 1993 by McPhee Gribble and has now been republished by Allen & Unwin.
An absorbing read.
The Greenmill Murder, by Kerry Greenwood
Allen & Unwin, 2005