On Monday, April 6, at 7 pm, on BookPeople’s third floor, the 7% Solution Book Club discusses Kerry Greenwood’s first Phryne Fisher novel, Cocaine Blues. All book clubs are free and open to the public, and book club picks are 10% off at the registers the month of discussion.
– Post by Molly
Cocaine Blues, Kerry Greenwood’s first Phryne Fisher mystery, begins with a blackout. Phryne Fisher (thanks to the Australian TV adaptation Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, we now know how to pronounce Phryne’s name) is attending a dinner party when the lights go off and a diamond necklace goes missing. She pulls out her lighter, finds the necklace cunningly stashed in a chandelier, and by foiling the robbery, secures an offer of employment. A middle-aged couple, worried about their mysteriously-ill daughter in Australia, are willing to pay Phryne handsomely to investigate. Phryne, bored in England and curious to return to her childhood home, agrees to take on the case, on condition that she pay her own way and look into the matter at her own pace.
Upon Phryne’s arrival in Australia, she immediately acquires staunch allies. Two communist taxi drivers, a pansexual pair of Russian dancers, a Scottish female doctor, and an adventurous maid join Phryne as she embroils herself in several cases, including the hunt for a butcher-abortionist who takes advantage of his clients before performing his incompetent surgeries, and the pursuit of a cocaine ring, possibly run out of a bathhouse that also functions as a place for lesbians to meet up. She also works to find a cause for the continued and chronic illnesses of her clients’ daughter.
Phryne certainly does not spend all her time solving cases – Miss Fisher is a ne’er-do-well flapper with a voracious appetite for fashion, parties, and attractive young men (not necessarily in that order) and a loathing of pretense. I don’t believe I have ever read a detective novel where the main character indulged more and regretted less than Phryne Fisher. Greenwood’s characters seem right out of a much less miserable and much more bloody Great Gatsby. The TV adaptation of the series renders Greenwood’s vision well, yet there are enough details that differ between the book and the series that the two complement each other nicely. The book even takes about the same amount of time to read as the first episode of the show takes to watch, so read the book, watch the show, and come on down to BookPeople Monday, April 6, at 7 pm, to discuss ’em both!
Copies of Cocaine Blues are available on our shelves and via bookpeople.com. The 7% Solution Book Club meets the first Monday of each month. As always, books for book clubs are 10% off when purchased the month of discussion.