In Murder on a Midsummer Night the fabulous Phryne – the 1920s most elegant and irrepressible sleuth – returns for her seventeenth adventure investigating the death of a man at St Kilda while at the same time trying to find a lost child who could inherit an old woman’s fortune. Read on for my full review.
Murder on a Midsummer Night Book Synopsis
Melbourne, 1929. The year starts off for glamorous private investigator Phryne Fisher with a rather trying heat wave and more mysteries than you could prod a parasol at. Simultaneously investigating the apparent suicide death of a man on St Kilda beach and trying to find a lost, illegimate child who could be heir to a wealthy old woman’s fortune, Phryne needs all her wits about her, particularly when she has to tangle with a group of thoroughly unpleasant Bright Young Things.
But Phryne Fisher is a force of nature, and takes in her elegant stride what might make others quail, including terrifying s ances, ghosts, Kif smokers, the threat of human sacrifices, dubious spirit guides and maps to buried pirate treasure …
Genre: Historical, Mystery, Crime-Detective, Humour, Audio
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I was fortunate enough to first make Phryne Fisher’s acquaintance last year when I read and thoroughly enjoyed Queen of the Flowers. Now I am really bad at reading series, so of course I started with the 14th novel and now have jumped to Phryne’s 17th outing, Murder on a Midsummer Night. The great thing about these novels is they read well in isolation, with Kerry Greenwood providing sufficient back story for the reader to understand the relationship, but not so much to be annoying to a Phryne devotee.
In Phryne Fisher Kerry Greenwood has crafted such a feisty, forthright and fun character – she is addictive.
Murder on a Midsummer Night presents two very compelling and intertwined mysteries that provide plenty of roles for Phryne’s colourful extended family to play in the investigation. I found Phryne’s sister and her companion a particularly charming addition to the troupe. Through Phryne’s interaction with her sister we also learn more about Phryne’s childhood. I felt the Murder on a Midsummer Night storylines were stronger than those of Queen of the Flowers.
I listened to the audio version of Murder on a Midsummer Night and found it highly entertaining. Narrator Stephanie Daniel does a wonderful job portraying the sassy and sexy Phryne along with Greenwood’s raft of other colourful characters. I will definitely be going back for more Phryne in audio from this talented narrator.
If you’re ever in need of a pick-me-up I recommend a good dose of Phryne Fisher and her family. She does what she wants, while doing good for others. She is smart and refined, yet is not one to ride side-saddle (either literally or metaphorically). She consumes food and wine to make your mouth water and meets the most interesting people. Oh, and she’s never too busy to have an afternoon snooze – handsome companion optional!
BOOK RATING: The Story 4.5 / 5 ; The Writing 4 / 5 — Overall 4.25
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About the Author, Kerry Greenwood
Kerry Greenwood is the author of twenty-seven novels and the editor of two collections. Previous novels in the Phryne Fisher series are Flying too High, Murder on the Ballarat Train, The Green Mill Murder, Blood and Circuses, Death on the Victoria Dock, Ruddy Gore, Urn Burial, Raisins and Almonds, Death Before Wicket, Away with the Fairies, Murder in Montparnasse, The Castlemaine Murders and Queen of the Flowers. She is also the author of several books for young adults and the Delphic Women series.
When she is not writing she is an advocate in Magistrates’ Court for the Legal Aid Commission. She is not married, has no children and lives with a registered Wizard.