Author: Kerry Greenwood, 1992.
Genre: Period Fiction. 1920s Australia. Crime Fiction.
Other Details: Unabridged Audiobook (5 hours, 30 mins). Read by Stephanie Daniel.
Driving home late one night, Phryne Fisher is surprised when someone shoots out her windscreen. When she alights she finds a pretty young man with an anarchist tattoo dying on the tarmac just outside the dock gates. He bleeds to death in her arms, and all over her silk shirt. Enraged by the loss of the clothing, the damage to her car, and this senseless waste of human life, Phryne promises to find out who is responsible. But she doesn’t yet know how deeply into the mire she’ll have to go: bank robbery, tattoo parlours, pubs, spiritualist halls, and anarchists. Along this path, Phryne meets Peter, a scarred but delectable wharfie who begins to unfold the mystery of who would need a machine gun in Melbourne. But when someone kidnaps her cherished companion, Dot, Phryne will stop at nothing to retrieve her. - synopsis from Poison Pen Press website.
In addition to the murder of the young anarchist, Phryne also takes on a case that involves locating a missing teenage girl, who had been upset when her father put his foot down over her desire to join an Anglican convent. The girl attends the same school as Jane and Ruth, Phryne's recently adopted daughters, and so they are able to provide clues that lead Phryne to uncover the disturbing truth linked to the girl's disappearance.
This was another novel that had been adapted for the TV series so I did know in advance a number of plot points though there was still plenty of aspects that were new to me. It is rather interesting to see what had been trimmed for the TV adaptation and what is changed. Phryne certainly has more sexual adventures on the printed page than in the TV series.
The audio edition contained an interview with Kerry Greenwood that filled in a number of historical details including that she had researched the 1928 period with special emphasis upon the dock strike in Australia while at university and this had influenced her decision to set the novels in that year.