Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood

Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Bolinda Publishing
Publication Date: 2006 Audio Edition. Book originally published 1986
Length: 5 hours, 50 minutes
Read by: Stephanie Daniel
Source: Library

The Short Version:
Phryne (Fry-nee) Fisher , bored with late 1920’s London Society agrees to go to Melbourne to check in on the daughter of an acquaintance but soon find herself in full on Private Detective mode.

Why I Read It:
When Jenn at Jenn’s Bookshelves talked about this one I decided that it sounded like a fun audio series.

The Book:
From the Publisher:

The London season is in full fling at the end of the 1920s, but the Honorable Phryne Fisher–she of the green-grey eyes, diamant garters and outfits that should not be sprung suddenly on those of nervous dispositions–is rapidly tiring of the tedium of arranging flowers, making polite conversations with retired colonels, and dancing with weak-chinned men. Instead, Phryne decides it might be rather amusing to try her hand at being a lady detective in Melbourne, Australia.

Almost immediately from the time she books into the Windsor Hotel, Phryne is embroiled in mystery: poisoned wives, cocaine smuggling rings, corrupt cops and communism–not to mention erotic encounters with the beautiful Russian dancer, Sasha de Lisse–until her adventure reaches its steamy end in the Turkish baths of Little Lonsdale Street.

My Thoughts:
This was a fun first in a series. I liked Phryne from the very beginning. She’s a bit of a rebel and very independent and intelligent. Her history is that she was born in Australia and had a fairly poor childhood until she was twelve when “three people between father and the Title died”. She and her family moved from Australia to England and lived in luxury.

When Phryne arrives in Melbourne to find out what is really going on with the daughter of Colonel and Mrs. Harper. They fear that their dear Lydia has married a reprobate and that Lydia’s recurring illnesses are symptoms of mistreatment.

Before Phryne can even begin to learn what is going on with Lydia she is soon involved in helping track down a brutal abortionist who may be responsible for multiple deaths. Then the Russian dancers talk her into helping them track down the cocaine dealers responsible for their mother’s death.

It’s a lot to pack into a short book but Phryne is fun and she’s clearly gathering a cast of recurring characters that have me looking forward to continuing with the series.

I’ve never listened to a book narrated by Stephanie Daniel but I enjoyed her work. I never felt like I wanted to shift my audio player into the higher speed to move things along. She’s good with the voice characterizations without if sounding forced.

There is an Australian Television series based on these books called Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. It’s available on Netflix and I might check it out once I listen to a few more in the series.

This was a light fun introduction to a series of relatively short audiobooks that are well-narrated. The combination of a fun main character and an interesting setting and time frame means I’ll be continuing with the series.

3.5 stars Rating 3.5/5 for the book

4 stars Rating 4/5 for the narration


SoundBytes is a weekly roundup of audio book reviews hosted by Jen at Devourer of Books.