October 31st, 2013

miss fisher

Book 197: Death Before Wicket by Kerry Greenwood

Book 197: Death Before Wicket (Phryne Fisher, #10).
Author: Kerry Greenwood, 1999.
Genre: Period Fiction. 1920s Australia. Crime Fiction. Cozy Mystery. Occultism.
Other Details: Unabridged Audiobook (8 hrs, 1 min). Read by Stephanie Daniel.

Phryne Fisher has plans for her Sydney sojourn - a few days at the Test cricket, a little sightseeing and the Artist's Ball with an up-and-coming young modernist. But these plans begin to go awry when Phryne's maid discovers her thoroughly respectable sister has left her family for the murky nightlife of the Cross. And Phryne is definitely not the woman to say 'no' when two delightful young men come to her on bended knees, begging for her help in finding their friend innocent of theft. Phryne's plans for a simple day or two of pleasure are postponed for good.

It all sounds simple enough as Phryne sets investigations into motion, but when greed and fear are the motivating factors, people become ruthless and Phryne finds herself enmeshed in blackmail, secrets, lies and the dangerous influences of deep magic.
- synopsis from Kerry Greenwood's website.

I don't understand cricket at all though despite the title the sport is mainly used here as background to the story; so my ignorance didn't really detract from my enjoyment of this outing in which Phryne takes on the investigation of a theft from a university while she is visiting Sydney as well as searching for Dot's wayward sister.

What did surprise and delight me was that after the inclusion of alchemy in the last book, Raisins and Almonds, here aspects of early 20th Century occult traditions made an appearance when Phryne in a confrontation with some sinister magical-types proves herself familiar with various characters and traditions, including the exploits of Aleister Crowley, the Golden Dawn, and the Goddess Isis, who makes an unexpected cameo. Of course, Kerry Greenwood has written novels set in ancient Greece and Egypt yet it still was interesting that she incorporated aspects of the Western Magical Tradition into her story.