Not Just Another Grouchy Grammarian

Musings about language, books, grammar, and writing in general

Review: Death in Williamstown, by Kerry Greenwood

My review of Kerry Greenwood’s newest Phryne Fisher book, Murder in Williamstown is a five. However, my rating of Goodreads itself is a big fat zero. Since the format change, Goodreads seems to be ignoring the Audible version of new books, so I have to mark that I’ve read either the Kindle, hardback, or paperback versions. I’m finding this extremely annoying since I do much of my reading via Audible or Libby these days.

That said, this is a typical Phryne Fisher book: light, easy to read or listen to, engaging, and with a group of characters who grow along with Ms. Fisher. In this book, for example, it is observations by Phryne’s adopted children – Jane, Ruth, and Tinker – that provides the keys to solving several mysteries. What it means in terms of impact is that each time I pick up a new Phryne Fisher mystery I get to visit with a bunch of old friends and (depending on what happens to some of the newcomers) maybe even make some new ones. When you are locked in at home due to health issues, this is one of the best ways to keep from going batsh*t crazy.

The other thing that keeps me coming back for more is Phryne Fisher herself. I first heard of her when PBS imported a series they just called “The Miss Fisher Mysteries,” about an aristocratic lady private investigator who wasn’t anything like the “girl detectives” I grew up reading. Set in Australia in the 1920s, Phryne is the epitome of an independent woman. She has traveled, drives a car, flies a plane, has open relationships with various interesting people, has friends and some relatives who are non-binary, and basically lives life to the tune of her own drummer. Oh, yeah, and she is smart and beautiful on top of it all. Even now, at age 70, I find myself saying I want to be either her or Granny Weatherwax (yes, I am a Terry Pratchett fan) when I grow up.

In this book, there are two major mysteries to be solved – the financial issues that could create a major scandal for a local charity, and the murders of several people involved in illegally importing opium from China to Australia. (Sorry, you have to actually read the book to get to the very satisfying endings.)

If you do decide to take the plunge, this is one series I really recommend reading in order (the first book is called Cocaine Blues), or you will miss the way her chosen family grows. And, quite frankly, I hope you do take the plunge.

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