Hello My Lovelies!
If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I recently became obsessed with Miss Fischer’s Murder Mysteries on Netflix. If you haven’t watched this show yet, stop reading this post and go do so! I’ll wait 🙂 … Okay, now that you’ve downed all three seasons (as you should!), can we fangirl/boy together?! I just love this show! So naturally, I knew I wanted to read the books based on the Australian TV show. I looked them up and found that a library semi-close to me had them all available. My home library had most of them checked out, but luckily I was going to this other library for a school assignment anyway. So after an 80 minute public transit commute (40 minutes both ways), I was finally back in my apartment with the coveted two first novels of the series. I couldn’t wait to dig into them! Read on below for my thoughts on the first book of the series 🙂
If you’re sort on time, then check out my Need to Know section for a quick summary of my review!Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood
Series: Phryne Fisher #1
Published by Poisoned Pen Press on 18 April 2007
Genres: Adult Mystery
The London season is in full fling at the end of the 1920s, but the Honorable Phryne Fisher—she of the gray-green eyes and diamant garters—is tiring of polite conversations with retired colonels and dances with weak-chinned men. When the opportunity presents itself, Phryne decides it might be amusing to try her hand at becoming a lady detective in Australia. Immediately upon settling into Melbourne's Hotel Windsor, Phryne finds herself embroiled in mystery. From poisoned wives and cocaine smuggling, to police corruption and rampant communism—not to mention erotic encounters with the beautiful Russian dancer, Sasha de Lisse—Cocaine Blues charts a crescendo of steamy intrigue, culminating in the Turkish baths of Little Lonsdale Street.
Ownership: I borrowed from the library
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Published: 1989 (2012 – US Ed.)
Price: $24.95 (hardcover);
Place: Amazon, B & N, Book Depository, GoodReads, IndieBound
Going into this first novel, I was half expecting everything I loved about the TV shows to appear in print and half trying not to over-hype my expectations of the books. Knowing what I did about most book-to-TV series–that things are always changed–I didn’t want to disappoint myself by going into these books thinking everything was going to be exactly the same. I really just wanted to feed my addiction of this show and this world. So with that said, in the end I really did enjoy the first book of the mystery series although some things were slightly different.
Miss Phryne Fisher
Much like the TV show, Miss Fisher is all spunk, confidence and daring. Her character still resounds nicely alongside the one we see in the TV Show. Her intelligence and knack for solving mysteries remains the same within book one. In Cocaine Blues, Phryne encounters an array of colorful characters and eventually finds herself embroiled in a mystery surrounding drugs, a botched abortion and a poisoned couple. I enjoyed reading Phryne as a character and getting more insight into her motivations, thoughts and background that isn’t always shown through the TV show.
Cec, Bert, Dot, Dr. MacMillan, Detective-Inspector Robinson
I was excited to see that all of my favorite secondary characters did make an appearance within the books. Cec and Bert are still cab drivers who we get to see more of in terms of POV in the narration. They still have a great camaraderie between the two of them and readers also get to see more of their political mindset. Dorothy (or Dot) is such a great secondary character. She quickly enters into Phryne’s life and becomes an integral part of the story much like the TV show. Dot is a bit different within the books. Her personality was a little rougher around the edges when readers are first introduced to her. With that said, she still holds to her more respectable outlooks on certain behaviors. Within Cocaine Blues, she quickly becomes a confidant and friend to Phryne. I can’t wait to see her character develop more as she spends more time “working” with Phryne.
Dr. MacMillan exudes strength and determination within Cocaine Blues. She champions women’s rights within the novel (and TV show) and I love seeing her character within the books. I enjoyed that Mac played a more active role within the novel. She spearheaded some parts of the investigation. I also enjoyed the little snippets of her personality such as “her accent becoming more Scottish as she lost her temper” (p.28). As for Detective-Inspector Robinson, I felt most disappointment with his character. I was looking forward to the banter between him and Phryne, but alas there was none to be had. Detective Robinson plays only a minor character in book one. I’m not sure if he will eventually play a bigger role or not within the coming novels, but for now he was mainly on the outskirts of this mystery. Instead, Sasha–the Russian dancer–became Phryne’s only love interest (or dalliance) just as within the TV show. I also wonder if a different character might pop up in later books to take on what the TV show made Detective Robinson’s role as–Phryne’s over-arcing love interest between all her trysts.
Cocaine Blues – The Mystery
As I mentioned above, Cocaine Blues follow Miss Phryne Fisher’s entry into solving mysteries as a private lady detective. Phryne get embroiled in a mystery surrounding drugs, a botched abortion and a poisoned couple. With three mysteries within her radar, Phryne relies on help from new friends: Bert, Cec, Dot and Dr. MacMillian to help her put the dots together. Greenwood does a fabulous job of creating memorable characters with distinct personalities. Phryne became a favorite main character of mine as I loved her confident almost brazen personality. She was up for anything and was determined to solve the mysteries presented to her. Although some of her actions were for own entertainment purposes, I really felt like I got to see some of the layers that make up Phryne as a character. Not all her actions were done for superficial reasons.
The mystery as a whole was not overly intriguing. I think because I had watched the TV show already and this was the main mystery right from episode one so I already knew who the culprit was. With that said, I found the novel fast-paced and I quickly read through it. While I knew the ‘who’d done it,’ I still found myself compelled to the pages and loving the adventure Greenwood took me on.
I think if you’re a fan of Miss Phryne Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (the TV show) then you’d very much like reliving her adventures in print form. If you’re a mystery lover who hasn’t seen the show, I’d still recommend this mystery series. Book one: Cocaine Blues does a great job of introducing a fun cast of characters and I feel as though no one can really say no to Phryne’s charm. Her character definitely pulls you in. Plus, the mystery was a quick read that will only take a sitting or two to finish. The books are set in 1920s Australia which also holds a lot of appeal. I haven’t read much from this time period, let along this country setting and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about it. Again, Greenwood does a great job of bringing the setting to life. Overall, I rated this 4 stars since it was an enjoyable read! It has definitely spurred my interest in the mystery genre and I can’t wait to pick up book two in the series!
Cocaine Blues follow Miss Phryne Fisher’s entry into solving mysteries as a private lady detective. Phryne get embroiled in a mystery surrounding drugs, a botched abortion and a poisoned couple.
- Greenwood does a fabulous job of creating memorable characters with distinct personalities. Phryne became a favorite main character of mine as I loved her confident almost brazen personality.
- I found the novel fast-paced and I quickly read through it. While I knew the ‘who’d done it,’ (from watching the TV show first) I still found myself compelled to the pages and loving the adventure Greenwood took me on.
- I think if you’re a fan of Miss Phryne Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (the TV show) then you’d very much like reliving her adventures in print form. If you’re a mystery lover who hasn’t seen the show, I’d still recommend this mystery series. Book one: Cocaine Blues does a great job of introducing a fun cast of characters and I feel as though no one can really say no to Phryne’s charm.
- Overall, I rated this 4 stars since it was an enjoyable read! It has definitely spurred my interest in the mystery genre and I can’t wait to pick up book two in the series!
Thanks for stopping by! Let me know if you’re a fan of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries! Have you read the Kerry Greenwood’s book based on the TV show as well? What do you think about the books vs. the TV show? I’d love to hear your thoughts! 🙂
As always, Happy Reading!
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Annika - Hiding Books15 April 2016 at 3:29 pm
Ooh, I need to start reading these too! I’ve been watching the TV series, and I’m almost to the end of the second season but the third one’s not on netflix and it’s just awful! Maybe I’ll see about reading Cocaine Blues when I finish watching it. It sounds like Dot and Mac will be pretty interesting to see in book form! I’m glad you enjoyed this!
Becca W7 April 2016 at 11:53 am
I have been meaning to read the Phryne Fisher books for a while now, since I started watching the show, I just have so many books on my shelf I want/need to tackle first. I’m glad to hear they are good! I’m bummed though to hear that Jack doesn’t play a huge role, he and Phryne’s banter and relationship is one of my favorite parts of the show.