Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Kerry Greenwood's Murder in the Dark

Greenwood, Kerry. Murder in the Dark (Poisoned Pen Press $25). PW reviews: "Australian author Greenwood's fine Phryne Fisher mystery combines suspense and humor with a taut race to unmask a master assassin before he can strike again. The irrepressible and defiantly unflappable Phryne Fisher decides to attend a lavish four-day celebration in Melbourne, "the Last Best Party of 1928," despite anonymous and deadly warnings to keep away, which include a coral snake. One of the party's hosts, Gerald Templar, becomes worried after Tarquin, the orphan boy he's adopted, disappears. The connection between Tarquin's vanishing and the escalating acts of violence from the killer who calls himself the Joker is far from obvious, and Fisher has no shortage of suspects to consider among the eccentric guests, including a man who's modeled himself on Oscar Wilde. The Joker's identity will surprise many readers, but as usual for this long-running, the major pleasures come from Greenwood's wry voice and the larger-than-life Fisher.


The series in order: Cocaine Blues; Flying Too High; Murder on the Ballarat Train; Death on the Victoria Docks; The Green Mill Murder; Blood and Circuses; Ruddy Gore; Urn Burial; Raisins and Almonds; Death Before Wicket; Away with the Fairies; Murder in Montparnasse; The Castlemaine Murders; Queen of the Flowers ($15 each, see below); Death by Water ($25). An an illustrated celebratiion of Phryne with three all new stories and deletable recipes: A Question of Death ($35). Next: Murder on a Midsummer Night ($25 June).

New in paperback: Queen of the Flowers ($15). What better place for the maven of fashion and elegance than the flower festival of St. Kilda's? All Phryne Fisher needs to do is buy dresses, drink cocktails, and dine lavishly. Or so she thinks....When one of Phryne's flower maidens vanishes, Phryne must put aside her flower crown to investigate. However, the case doesn't become serious until Phryne's darling adopted daughter Ruth goes missing. Phryne must confront elephants, brothel-life, and an old lover in an effort to save Ruth and her flower maiden before it is too late.

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