Saturday, September 18, 2021

Death in Daylesford (Phryne Fisher #21)


Death in Daylesford is the 21st mystery featuring expat British aristocrat Phryne Fisher and her entourage by Kerry Greenwood. First released in late 2020, this reformat and new release 1st June 2021 from Poisoned Pen Press is 336 pages and is available in hardcover, paperback, and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately.

This is such a well written romp, full of action, eccentric characters, skullduggery, and the returning cast of regulars doing what they do best. This installment sees Dot and Phryne off consulting (and scaring the rurals zooming around in the Hispano-Suiza) while Mr. & Mrs. B, Hugh, Cec Burt & Tinker, and Phryne's adopted daughters investigate the tragic death of one of the girls' classmates. 

Although it's the 21st book in the series, it works quite well as a standalone. I heartily recommend the entire series, but caveats apply - they're variable in pacing and writing (all worth reading, but uneven). For readers unfamiliar with Phryne & co., she's redoubtable, fiercely independent, intelligent, and outspoken. She and her companion Dorothy investigate crimes and thwart criminals great and small. There's always a lot of wit and some light comedy in the books, but they're also very intelligent with unexpected twists and turns. The denouement and resolution here are satisfying, the clues are fair play, and Phryne is (as always) unflappable and resilient.

To me this is a well researched historical diverting read, full of Antipodean charm, dependable and believable characters, and a good ending. The language is mostly clean (a few damns and bloodies, nothing worse). There is some strongly suggestive light erotic content (completely consensual) between Phryne and a lover, but nothing explicit. I love her pragmatic view of sex and food and her hedonistic honesty. It's pure wish fulfillment and fantasy of course, but it's a lot of fun to read. This is also the very first time in all of literature in which I can recall reading a death-by-caber-toss.

Four stars. Phryne's a delight.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.    

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