Tag: Jack Robinson

Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood

Posted May 24, 2014 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Crime / 2 Comments

Cocaine Blues by Kerry GreenwoodTitle: Cocaine Blues (Goodreads)
Author: Kerry Greenwood
Series: Phryne Fisher Mystery #1
Narrator: Stephanie Daniel
Published: Poisoned Pen Press, 1989
Pages: 175
Genres: Crime
My Copy: Audiobook

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Miss Phryne Fisher is a fantastic character; I first encountered her in the TV show Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. I prefer my mystery novels to be dark and hard-boiled but in the effort to be a literary explorer, I decided to pick up the first in the Phryne Fisher novels. What I love about the TV show plays a small part in this cosy crime novel.

Set in 1920’s Melbourne, Cocaine Blues follows Miss Fisher as she tries to hunt down an illegal abortionist who is leaving so much damage that the women are lucky to make it out alive. While cocaine is fast rising as the drug of choice in high society, Phryne Fisher finds herself caught up in web of smuggling, corruption and Turkish baths. Cocaine Blues’ mystery may be basic and the resolution far too convenient but this book sets up Phryne Fisher as a private detective that will solve a mystery with style and grace.

This novel is evidently focusing on the lifestyle of a 1920s socialite; take out the mystery and you are still left with a trendy Jazz age story with a strong heroine. The demographic for this novel is clearly focused towards woman; Kerry Greenwood often takes time to describe every inch of Phryne’s outfit and style. Almost to a point where I got a little angry by it, but this translates well to television as visual element is one of the reasons that make the show so great.

Phryne Fisher is a wealthy flapper with plenty of spare time; she is a strong willed feminist and a sensual being that shocks high society in 1920s Melbourne. She seems to have a wealth of knowledge but I can’t seem to pick her age, I gather she must be middle aged with all her life skills but Kerry Greenwood never mentions her age. She takes the time to go into great detail about everything she is wearing, why not give us an idea of her age.

I might be biased towards the TV show Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries but I think that captured Phyrne’s personality and the essence of what Greenwood was trying to write far better than this novel. It was fun to read and I enjoyed experiencing Phryne Fisher’s personality on the page. However I think the TV adaptation does a far better job with all the other characters, including Dot, Bert and Cec. Unfortunately Jack Robinson only got a look in and I’m finding it hard to remember if Hugh Collins even appeared.

If you are looking for a cosy crime novel with a strong kick-ass female detective then Cocaine Blues might be worth checking out. There are currently twenty books in the Phryne Fisher series. Also, as I mentioned a few times, the TV series is excellent. I don’t know if I will read any more in the series, it really depends if I need any light fillers to read and if I have access to the next book. I doubt I’ll ever run out of books to read but who knows maybe another dip into the world of Miss Fisher might be calling me and I can read the next book in the series, Flying Too High.