Cocaine Blues

Cocaine Blues: A Phryne Fisher Mystery by Kerry Greenwood

Watching the Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries TV series is what lead to the purchasing of this book.  As in the overwhelming majority of the cases, the book is better than the TV show.  The characters have more background, there are more characters, and there are several background plots going on at the same time.  This author does an amazing job of drawing you into this imaginary world that you have a hard time putting the book down.

Phryne comes to Australia with two missions and by the end of the book the cast of characters she meets and the way everyone works together is delightful.  A rag-tag team of characters that builds a team that works based on the strength of each one.  The joy of this book makes me think that the rest of the series will eventually make it to this blog.

List of Characters/Book Summary:

Phryne Fisher = solved the stolen necklace issue at a dinner party, decides to try being a lady detective in Melbourne, born into extreme poverty and now has wealth, knows how to fly, good a quick thinking and connecting the dots

Madame St. Clair = wife of ambassador, had jewelry stolen at the dinner party

Robert “Bobby” Matthews = stole Madame St. Clare’s necklace, ends up a the Cryer’s party with Phryne, plays cricket, considered to be a confidence man

Colonel = sat next to Phryne at dinner in London, wants Phryne to figure out what is going on with his daughter in Australia

Lydia = Colonel’s daughter, married an Australian, good sense for money, fakes being stupid at the party, Phryne recognizes her as an emotional trap

Mrs. Harper = Colonel’s wife, mother to Lydia, wants Phryne to figure out if Lydia’s husband is poisoning her

John “Johnnie” Andrew = Lydia’s husband, cruel/crushing often absent husband, no sense for business

Madame Breda = owns a Turkish bath, is Phryne’s masseuse sells powders

Dr. Elizabeth “Mac” MacMillan = 45 years old, wears men clothes & has a rugged style to her, worked hard to become a doctor, travels to Melbourne on the same boat as Phryne, now practicing at the Women’s Hospital

Cecil “Cec” Yates = cabbie, tall and lanky, soft heart, looks after Alice as she is healing

Albert “Bert” Johnson = cabbie, short and older than Cec, Communist, looking for the butcher that hurt Alice, thinks Phryne might be able to help

Alice Greenham = ended up in Cec & Bert’s cab after a bad abortion, they took Mac, likes Cec

Dorothy Bryant = maid who was kicked out of her job after refusing advances of the son, meets Phryne while seeking revenge, gets hired by Phryne and helps in her investigation

Detective Inspector Robinson = Mac goes to him with Bert & Cec to report the bad abortion, agrees to work with Phryne on the bust of the person who tried to frame her

George Fletcher = known to the police as Butcher George, doing poor abortion for 3 years that the police know of, often rapes the girls before he does bad abortions that has killed several women

Robert Sanderson = MP of Toorak, flirts with Phryne, married, knows her father, a Tory, invites Phryne to dinner

Melanie Cryer = Toorak 325, invites Phryne to dinner, should be the social event of the season

Muriel Miller = Dot’s friend, works in a factory, dad owns a lolly shop

Madame Olga = has a shop on Collins street, Phryne opens an account with her for shopping

Old Ted = doorman at the Windsor, where Phryne is staying

Princess de Grasse = sponsors dancers, Phryne has misgivings about her title, wants Phryne’s help with the cocaine problem that took her daughter’s life

Mademoiselle De Lisse = Sasha’s twin sister

Sasha De Lisse = dancer, tried to blackmail Phryne, mother died from cocaine is looking for the snow king, romances Phryne with the hope of marriage or getting paid

Gerda = Madame Breda’s cousin, maid the bath house, sells Princess snow

Ariadne = Lydia’s friend, thin, husband is unfaithful & a banker

Beatrice = Lydia’s friend, fat, husband is a gambler & importer

Senior Constable Ellis = works with Robinson, took money to frame Phryne

Police Constable Jones = female officer, hired to deal with prostitutes and search women, excited at the chance to go undercover, Phryne makes Robinson bring her to the lunch to celebrate closing both cases

Mr. Turner = politician at Sanderson’s dinner, a member of the independent party

Mr. Jackson = politician at Sanderson’s dinner, a member of the labor party

Mr. Berry = politician at Sanderson’s dinner, a member of the conservative party