Author: Kerry Greenwood, 1993.
Genre: Period Fiction. 1920s Australia. Crime Fiction. LGBT themes.
Other Details: Unabridged Audiobook (6 hours, 19 mins). Read by Stephanie Daniel.
The novel opens with Phryne Fisher dancing the night away at Melbourne’s premier dance hall, The Green Mill, to the music of Tintagel Stone’s Jazzmakers. In the same hall a dance marathon is limping into its final hours with only two couples left on the floor. Then in the middle of “Bye Bye Blackbird” one of the remaining dancers falls to the ground dead though no shot was heard. Phryne soon finds herself having to not only deal with this puzzling murder mystery but also becomes caught up in the complicated family history of one of her friends. Her quest leads to her flying her Gypsy Moth Rigel into the Australian Alps to seek answers.
Another in this delightful Jazz Age series and this one actually featured jazz! Its narrator again did a wonderful job including singing the Blues when called for by the text. This was adapted for the TV series, which came as a surprise as I thought I had seen the entire run but must have missed this one as I recalled no details.
The novel involves quite a few social and cultural themes including the devastating aftermath of the Great War upon its soldiers, the development of Jazz and the difficulties faced in 1920s society by homosexuals during a time when they could be sentenced to prison if their lifestyle came to the attention of the authorities.
I have noticed that while these novels are marketed as cosy mysteries, Kerry Greenwood is quite prepared to introduce serious social themes into the novels alongside the fluff and details of Phryne's glamorous life and sumptuous wardrobe.