My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I picked this up working backwards, seeing the TV show first. They are, of course, rather different but that said I enjoyed this too. I wasn't sure I was going to because the first few chapters are a bit rough. Once we really get into it, it smooths out and Phryne shines.
This has three parallel stories that eventually dovetail a bit. 1. Phryne has come to Australia to help find out how a wealthy young lady is doing at the behest of her family back in the UK (Phryne is also rather new to being wealthy, having been dirt poor but all the other heirs to the family title and money had passed and suddenly her parents and herself were launched into prominence. ) 2. She comes across a young woman out for revenge after losing her position as a maid and for things done to her and her friend by the family's lecherous son. It leads her to an illegal abortion clinic where the 'doctor' is butchering (and raping) the women, many dying. She gets a dying girl to her friend Doctor MacMillian's clinic so this story line introduces us to Mac, Dot and Bert & Cec and the last story line is about two Russian dancers, Sasha and his lesbian sister (she makes a pass at Phryne and she was okay with it, a bit surprising for being published in the 80s) and their grandmother (great aunt? I've forgotten) who are after their family jewels and the cocaine king whose drugs killed their mother.
The stories are well woven and the characters well drawn, well Phryne more than the others. I remember the stories from the show but I will say the resolution of Sasha's story (the titular cocaine one) to be better and far more believable on the TV than in the book. It was a bit racy and a bit silly.
While I preferred the TV show (probably because I saw it first) but I would definitely pick up more.
View all my reviews
Murder in the Hearse Degree by Tim Cockey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Might even be a 2.5 read for me because there is a lot of objectifying of women in this as part of the 'humor.' It's an interesting, Hitch being an undertaker but we don't see him doing much work and being the fourth in the series (but my first) I'm not sure why he divorced his wife (but remains friends with her) but he is quick to jump in bed with others.
The mystery begins with a woman he loved coming back into town with her two kids in tow after her nanny has disappeared and her husband on the brink of being indicted for breaking the law (as a lawyer). She knows Hitch has solved cases (presumably with his friend who is a PI) and wants him to find the nanny.
Once the nanny turns up pregnant but dead, and the police quick to call it a suicide, Hitch is out to prove otherwise.
As mysteries go, it was good but I'm not sure I liked the characters enough to read another.
View all my reviews