Phryne is at a dance competition with her new pet, a nice young Jewish boy, when a murder occurs and Phryne is asked by her pet’s father to solve the case. A proper lady owns a bookstore and a young man dies in her arms from an unknown cause. Detective Jack Robinson immediately has the lady arrested and Phryne is tasked with clearing her name, and even Jack hopes Phryne will be successful. In true Phryne fashion, she engages everyone around her and uses her wits to figure out what is not adding up and who the true mastermind is. All while having a new pet, enjoying his attention, taking care of her adopted daughters (who convince her to bring a dog into the house), and helping Dot and Hugh move their relationship along.
Phryne’s one and only downfall in this entire book is that her heart is too big for those she cares about. When a thief breaks into her house, she is pleased that it is only her room that is ransacked, otherwise she would kill. When her daughter’s beg her to let her keep the dog, she gives in. Now this is not going to be Phryne’s downfall, in fact it is what makes her great, but I sense the increasing size of her loved ones will lead to one of them getting hurt in a future book. Bert and Cec make an appearance, and are happy to help try and figure out what Phryne’s gut is specifically telling her other than something is wrong and she needs eyes and ears in a market to help make sense of a few things that don’t add up.
In fantastic fashion, as always, Phryne manages to talk a madman from murdering her pet and solve the murder in the bookstore. Phryne even manages to save her man when things get tough. While she is an unconventional role model, you have to love how Phryne is an amazing example of a female detective and role model.
Of note, if you saw the TV shows, there is a hint of the relationship that Jack and Phryne have in the show. As a reader I am unsure how I feel about this since Jack is portrayed differently in the books than in the TV show. I will wait to make a judgment on this to see if the relationship develops like it did in the show or if it takes a different turn. Overall, I highly recommend this book, just as I recommend all of the Phryne Fisher Mystery books.