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Posted December 24, 2008
In Australia liberated Phryne Fisher enjoys Christmas 1928 with her significant other Lin Chung and her family. Scandalous acquaintances from Paris, the Golden Twins Isabella and Gerald Templar, have invited her to the Last Best party of 1928, a four-day affair at Werribee Manor house.<BR/><BR/>Phryne considers declining the invitation until she receives letters and a Christmas present containing a poisonous snake in the post that threaten her if she attends. No one scares Phryne away so she goes to the gala. At the party, hashish and alcohol flow freely and she meets an odd collection of people including a bad-mannered child Tarquin who soon afterward vanishes without a trace. Two more people disappear with puzzle clues left behind. As Phryne and Nicholas Booth, who she has just met and believes is an undercover cop, investigates, she realizes someone has been hired to assassinate the sibling hosts. <BR/><BR/>No one messes with kick butt Phryne whether it is threatening her by post, behaving boorishly towards her at a party, or committing murder. She is at her best in this pre-Depression Era Australian whodunit as her sleuthing partner Nicholas brings out her strengths. The mystery is cleverly devised with solid twists and the roaring cast fits the decadent 1920s. Fans will enjoy Phryne¿s latest caper as once again Kerry Greenwood provides her readers with a deep look at a bygone era Down Under inside of a rousing investigative thriller.<BR/><BR/>Harriet Klausner
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Posted November 24, 2013
Murder in the Dark is the sixteenth book in the popular Phryne Fisher series by Australian author Kerry Greenwood. It is the end of the year, and Phryne, somewhat reluctantly, accepts an invitation to attend the Last Best Party of 1928, spurred on to do so when several anonymous communications warn her against it. Held at Werribee in the Chirnside Manor, this six-day party is being thrown by the beautiful and charismatic Gerald Templar and his equally beautiful twin sister, Isabella, lately arrived from London via Paris. The Templars have brought with them their acolytes, including, among others, the Wildean Sylvanus Leigh and the Sapphic girls from Montparnasse. Amid the two hundred guests are the polo-playing Grammar Boys and Wonnangatta Tigers, a jazz trio, Arabian, Japanese and medieval musicians, the delectable Nicholas Booth (whom Phryne deems fit to dally with in Lin Chung’s absence), Madge, the Goat lady and her mint-addicted goat, a scowling orphan named Tarquin and Blues singer Nerine. The Last Best Party includes themed dinners, hamper lunches, a polo match, a deer hunt, trap shooting, poetry recitals, parlour games, a Bal Masqué, a jazz concert, plenty of drinking, eating and hashish, and certain other decadent activities. Upon arrival, Phryne finds her invitation has more than just a social aspect, as Gerald Templar has been receiving death threats and pleads for her assistance. Soon enough, young Tarquin goes missing, riddles begin appearing and Phryne finds she is trying to trap a contract killer. Stabbing, mass poisoning, kidnapping, ground glass in cold cream, a ransom note, and a coral snake in a gift box all feature. Motives of revenge, jealousy, hatred and greed propel several different offenders. As well as quotes from classic poems and plays, and recipes for delicious cocktails, the reader tastes Christmas in the Fisher household and chez Williams, Butler, Yates and Johnson. Phryne goes undercover as a housemaid, wins a bet using a bunch of mint, remembers a few things her detested father was right about, attempts some rhyme and asks the all-important question: just how much cream can one cat hold? Delightful mystery, as always.
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Posted April 1, 2013
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