Sunday, October 15, 2006

Mystery Book Review: Death at Victoria Dock by Kerry Greenwood

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written our review of Death at Victoria Dock by Kerry Greenwood. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.Death at Victoria Dock by Kerry Greenwood

Death at Victoria Dock by Kerry Greenwood
A Phryne Fisher Mystery
Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-59058-238-1 (1590582381)
ISBN-13: 978-1-59058-238-1 (9781590582381)
Publication Date: December 2006
List Price: $24.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Driving home late one night, Phryne Fisher is surprised when someone shoots out her windscreen. When she alights she finds a pretty young man with an anarchist tattoo dying on the tarmac just outside the dock gates. He bleeds to death in her arms, and all over her silk shirt.

Enraged by the loss of the clothing, the damage to her car, and this senseless waste of human life, Phryne promises to find out who is responsible. But she doesn't yet know how deeply into the mire she'll have to go: bank robbery, tattoo parlors, pubs, spiritualist halls, and anarchists.

Along this path, Phryne meets Peter, a scarred but delectable wharfie who begins to unfold the mystery of who would need a machine gun in Melbourne. But when someone kidnaps her cherished companion, Dot, Phryne will stop at nothing to retrieve her.

Review: Kerry Greenwood's Phryne Fisher mysteries are immensely popular in her native Australia, and have only recently been published in hardcover for the US market by Poisoned Pen Press. Though the ninth book available from this publisher, Death at Victoria Dock is actually the fourth mystery in the series set during the 1920s in Melbourne Australia.

The title refers to an event in the opening scene, one which spawns a cascade of events involving anarchists, communists, revolutionists, and people of other political convictions. It's all rather a blur, but as Phryne herself says at one point, she hates politics so it isn't terribly germane to the story who supports whom and for what reason. What is important to Phryne is the fact that she was shot at, a good-looking chap was killed, and she wants revenge. Suffice it to say that Phryne accomplishes what she has set out to do, finding a love interest along the way.

Apart from her activities with regard to the shooting, Phryne, as an investigator, has been hired to find a missing person, the daughter of a prominent businessman. From a plot perspective, this case is more interesting than Phryne running around with revolutionaries, and is certainly the more mysterious of the two. Though the resolution to the case is fairly obvious, the delightful personalities of Phryne's adoptive daughters are on display as well as an exceptional character in the Reverend Mother of the Convent of the Holy Spirit.

Phryne Fisher is definitely a free spirit, and as one of her daughters describes her, beautiful but terribly cynical. This multi-faceted woman is well worth knowing, and it is little wonder this series is so popular with readers.

Special thanks to Poisoned Pen Press for providing an ARC of Death at Victoria Dock for this review.

Review Copyright © 2006 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

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