Phryne is left to piece together the clues after this restful country sojourn turns into the stuff of nightmares with a young girl who can’t remember anything, rumors of white slavery and black magic, and the body of an old woman missing her emerald rings. Then there is the rowing team and the choristers, all deliciously engaging young men. At first they seem like a pleasant diversion....
In fact, the 1920s’ most talented and glamorous detective flies even higher here, handling a murder, a kidnapping, and the usual array of beautiful young men with style and consummate ease. And she does it all before it’s time to adjourn to the Queenscliff Hotel for breakfast. Whether she’s flying planes, clearing a friend of homicide charges, or saving a child, Phryne does everything with the same dash and elan with which she drives her red Hispano-Suiza.
An empty house, a gang of teenage louts, a fisherboy saved, and a missing butler and his wife seem to lead inexorably toward a hunt for buried treasure by the sea. Phryne knows to what depths people will sink for greed, but with a glass of champagne in one hand and a pearl-handled Beretta in the other, no one is getting past her.
Denying divinity but accepting cognac, she later continues safely to the theatre. But the unexpected continues as the performance is interrupted by a most bizarre death onstage. What links can Phryne possibly find between the ridiculously entertaining plot of Ruddigore, the Chinese community of Little Bourke Street, and the actors treading the boards of His Majesty’s Theatre?
Drawn backstage and onstage, Phryne must solve an old murder, find a new murderer and of course, banish the theatre’s ghost—who seems likely to kill again.
Meanwhile, her lover, Lin Chung, is about to be married. And the effect this is having on her own usually peaceful household is disastrous....
The dance competition is trailing into its last hours when suddenly a figure slumps to the ground. Phryne, conscious of how narrowly the weapon missed her own bare shoulder, back, and dress, investigates.
Phryne follows the deadly trail into the dark smoky jazz clubs of Fitzroy, into the arms of eloquent strangers, and finally into the sky, as she uncovers a complicated family tragedy from the Great War and the damaged men who came back from ANZAC cove.
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 parlours, pubs, spiritualist halls, and Anarchists. Then when someone kidnaps her cherished companion, Dot, Phryne will stop at nothing to retrieve her.
An orchestral conductor has been found dead and Detective Inspector Jack Robinson needs the delightfully incisive and sophisticated Miss Fisher's assistance to enter a world in which he is truly lost. Hugh Tregennis, not much liked by anyone, has been murdered in a most flamboyant mode by a killer with a point to prove. But how many killers is Phryne really stalking?
At the same time, the dark curls, disdainful air and the lavender eyes of mathematician and code-breaker Rupert Sheffield are taking Melbourne by storm. They've certainly taken the heart of Phryne's old friend from the trenches of WWI, John Wilson. Phryne recognizes Sheffield as a man who attracts danger and is determined to protect John from harm.
Even with the faithful Dot, Mr. and Mrs. Butler, and all in her household ready to pull their weight, Phryne's task is complex. While Mendelssohn's Elijah, memories of the Great War, and the science of deduction ring in her head, Phryne's past must also play its part as MI6 become involved in the tangled web of murders.