Reviewed By: Harriet Klausner
In 1928 Australia Phyrne Fisher and her best friend Bunji Ross are walking to His Majesty’s theatre to see a performance of Gilbert and Sullivan’s operetta Ruddigore. However, Bunji notices several men accosting an elderly Chinese woman so she intercedes taking a shot to her gut. Phyrne follows scattering the assaulters so she can rescue the woman. Her grandson Lin Chung thanks Phyrne and Bunji for rescuing his grandmother from a nasty mob.
Phyrne enjoys the performance, but between acts theatre manager Sir Bernard Tarrant asks her to come to the back area as an accident occurred. However, another patron Dr. Fielding states that actor Ruthven was poisoned with an opiate. Deputy Inspector John “Jack” Robinson heads the official investigation. Another performer Leila Esperanza insists ghosts were haunting the theater and caused the incident. Bernard knowing Phyrne’s reputation for solving mysteries wants her to investigate before someone else is hurt or killed.
Historical mystery fans who have not read the Phyrne Fisher tales are missing out on one of the best series available today. The latest who-done-it contains a fabulous sleuthing subplot as well as the first meeting between Phyrne and her lover Lin. Phyrne is a terrific protagonist who is a delightful gender bender accepted as more than just an equal by men in typically male roles at least in 1920s Australia. Her detective work is top rate as Kerry Greenwood combines real events like the 1928 showing of Ruddigore with a fabulous mystery.
Reprinted with permission. Do Not repost without permission from the author, Harriet Klausner