When readers sign up for my newsletter or for the blog feed via email, I always ask them for book and TV series recommendations. Often readers will email me back and tell me their favourite book and TV series, just in case I have the spare time to binge.
I’m so very glad I ask!
A while ago a reader told me about a little Australian TV series called Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, which sounds completely innocuous and so very cozy mystery style — in other words, not the sort of tea & crumpets type story I generally read (or write!).
I had seen the cover for the series on Netflix and it looked exactly like what I had supposed, a cozy mystery.
Thanks to that reader’s recommendation, one day when I had an hour to spare, I started the first episode, figuring I could always stop it if it was as bad as I thought it looked. That’s one of the joys of Netflix!
This series is NOT a cozy mystery, although there is a female sleuth, and lots of cups of tea consumed.
The Honourable Phryne Fisher (pronounced fry-nee), daughter of the Baron of Richmond, is a “modern woman” in the late 1920’s, and she is modern in every sense of the word. She drinks. She dances. She stands on the railing at the end of trains and screams in joy at the passing scenery. She climbs buildings, flies a plane (goggles and long white scarf and all).
Then there are the men she takes to bed with a completely unapologetic nose in the air. There’s very nearly a different man each episode, including one memorable one where all you get to see of the man of the hour is his very delectable backside, as he sprawls on the bed…as Phryne rolls over and smacks his ass in delight.
Oh my god, and the clothes! They’re so gorgeous, it makes me want to swan around in fur shawls and feathers myself. I was never a fan of the dowdy and frumpy standard fashions of the era (those dropped waists don’t flatter anyone!), but Phryne’s clothes are both absolutely accurate for the era and absolutely fabulous!
Phryne is also a product of her time: She was involved in World War I in France as a nurse, and it has left an impact. She is determined to remain single and free, and completely independent, while enjoying the best that life can offer.
That’s where Detective Inspector Jack Robinson comes in. Apart from being the essential police department contact who gets to arrest and process all the murderers and suspects for the heroine sleuth, it quickly becomes clear that Jack has extremely strong feelings about Phryne. They have an interesting conversation very early on in the series where they skirt around the issue of how they feel about each other, where Phryne insists she will change for no man, and Jack says that he would be disappointed if she did.
So Jack stays aloof, but secretly devoted. I would like to think he would rather be unique in her life, rather than one of the “others”. However, I’ve just started the third (and currently, last) season, and things seem to be shifting between them. I can’t add too much more without spoiling things altogether. I don’t know how it ends yet and I’m trying to pace myself so I don’t get there too quickly.
I will say, though, that if you’re looking for something fun, quirky and highly fashionable, give Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries a try.
Have you seen the series? Isn’t it marvelous?