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BOOK REVIEW: MURDER IN THE DARK
BY KERRY GREENWOOD

We hope you enjoy this book review by Caryn St. Clair.



Phryne Fisher is invited to a four day long “Last Best Party” scheduled around New Year's Eve 1928 being held at Werribee Manor House. Phryne knows the hosts, “Golden Twins” Isabella and Gerald Templar from her days in Paris and although she's usually up for a good party, she's not so sure she's up for four days of the Templar company. That is until she begins receiving threatening letters warning her away from the party. As soon as she is warned off, Phryne immediately sends her acceptance.

Once at the party, Phryne is thrown into all sorts of mysterious happenings to investigate. Gerald asks Phryne to figure out who is threatening him and there are not one but THREE kidnappings from the party. Phryne though is well up to the task. The party attendees offer up an assortment of colorful characters including a woman with her goat, a couple of women polo players, obnoxious children and gorgeous men, all helping to promote the wild carnival feeling of the gathering.

There is a sharp contrast between the two Phryne worlds and readers get a true feeling for both in Murder in the Dark. On one hand, we have Phryne the mother and head of household. That Phryne is careful to make sure her adopted daughters have the most traditional of traditional Christmases. They attend Christmas Mass, have a traditional dinner, socks and presents. She makes sure every member of her household has the same sending them all off to be with their families. But then we have Phryne the party girl. I must say, some of the doings at the “Last Best Party” were over the top even by Phryne standards. So much so, that Greenwood included at the end of the book the historic perspective on a couple of things assuring readers that yes in deed these things were common. But even at the party, the mothering Phryne pops out when Isabella and Gerald are discussing how they obtained their children. Phryne is clearly appalled that they treated the child selection process much the same way others select kittens.

So while there are clothes to admire, interesting travel adventures to take and colorful characters at every turn, it is her deep caring about all people that makes Phryne so special. Fans of Phryne will find much comfort in this latest caper of hers.

REVIEWED BY CARYN ST. CLAIR

DO NOT REPRINT WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE REVIEWER, CARYN ST. CLAIR


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