Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Bev's Favorite Fictional Character --- Phryne Fisher

It's that time of year again, which amazes me by the way.  I can't believe it's July all ready, I really have no clue where time goes to anymore.  I don't think you guys want to hear my theories about age and time, so I will get to the manner at hand.  Because work is just crazy busy during the months' of July and August and my creative juices and brain just don't function as well during those two months, I'm once again inviting 9 different bloggers to share some of their favorite fictional characters over the next two months.  It's gives me a little breathing room and allows me to have some breathing room.

The blogger is who starting it off is one that I've come to really adore.  Bev at My Reader's Block is one of those bloggers who always seems to have more pans going than I can ever keep track of.  She hosts three different challenges, including The Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge, which I take part in.  She participates in even more challenges and never fails to keep an engaging blog that keeps adding to my every growing wish list.  I've discovered numerous vintage mysteries reviewed on her blog and keep being introduced to some interesting characters.  She graciously accepted my invitation to discuss her favorite one, a character I know I'll be meeting for myself some day soon.  So when you are doing reading, please go by and say hi.

I am so excited to be guest-posting for Ryan!  I was very humbled to be asked to step in for him while he takes a little break from posting his Favorite Characters.  I didn't have to think more than two seconds before I was ready to say yes and I didn't have think more than two more seconds before my character pick popped into my head.  Not that I couldn't come up with a list longer than my arm of favorite characters....and that's just within my favorite genre: mysteries.  But over and over again, when the subject of favorite or memorable characters come up The Honorable Miss Phryne Fisher--rich, beautiful and smart child of the Jazz Age--heads the list.

The Phryne mystery series is set in Australia between the World Wars.  Phryne grew up as a poor relation in an aristocratic family.  There were several men between her father's branch of the family and the title, but World War I, as it did with so many families, reduced the number of male heirs and soon conferred the title of Honorable and quite a bit of wealth upon Miss Fisher.  After serving with a women's French ambulance unit in the Great War, she worked for a bit as an artist's model in Montparnasse. Upon returning to England, she found that British aristocratic life wasn't quite her cup of tea and when a chance to go to Melbourne and try her hand at unraveling a mystery comes along, she is ready to leave Britain behind and set up residence in Australia.  She finds that she has a good nose for investigation and her experiences in the war have steeled her nerves for any altercations she might encounter.  Thus, she launches herself as a private investigator.

Her first recorded investigation is brought to us in Cocaine Blues which hit bookshelves in 1989.  In it, she sets off on that above-mentioned adventure to Melbourne and never looks back.  Her initial foray into detective work finds her investigating poisoned wives, cocaine smuggling rings, corrupt cops and communism.  That's just the mystery part and doesn't include her erotic encounters with the beautiful Russian dancer, Sasha de Lisse.  The adventure comes to a steamy conclusion in the Turkish baths of Little Lonsdale Street.  From there Phryne works her way through 17 more cases--picking up additions to her household along way.  From Dot, who becomes her right-hand woman, to two girls, Jane and Ruth, who she winds up adopting, Phryne is continually rescuing people who have become entangled in upsetting circumstances.  She excels at liberating the innocent victims of the ruthless.

I have mentioned before that I consider Phryne the grown-up's Nancy Drew.  Like Nancy, she can keep up with the men and the boys and give as good as she gets. She has steel in her spine and a plethora of witty comebacks. She can handle a pistol and herself in a fight.  She can stare down anyone fool enough to mess with her socially and can take on some rather hefty blokes and come out "with hardly a hair out of place." She drives a beautiful, fast car and can fly an airplane. She swims like a fish and can dance all night. And she runs circles around any criminal who comes her way while making time to make time with the most eligible of available bachelors. She sounds (and probably is) quite improbable, but Kerry Greenwood writes such entertaining stories and writes them so well that you don't even notice.

If you'd like to learn more about Phryne, then you can check out the Official Phryne Fisher Webpage.   If you're fortunate enough to live in Australia, then you can catch Phryne in the Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries series.


Loretta said...

I downloaded the Kindle Edition of Cocaine Blues (it is currently available for free) earlier today. After reading your post I am glad I did and I am really looking forward to reading it.

Ryan said...


This was not a character I was familair with before you agreed to do this post. I have since decided that was a stupid oversight on my part, one that I need to correct soon.


Bev Hankins said...

I didn't discover Phyrne until the 2000s...I'm not sure how I missed her until then. I'm always glad to introduce people I like to one another. I hope you enjoy Phryne & her adventures.

Bev Hankins said...

And, Ryan, thanks so much for the kind words. High praise from one of my best blogging buddies!

Lauren Hairston said...

Thanks so much for the reminder! I've been meaning to give this series a try. It sounds right up my alley.

Alexia561 said...

Not familiar with this character, but love the idea of a grown up Nancy Drew!

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

I'll have to check this character out! I haven't heard of her before.