Poisoned Pen Press, 175 pages, $14.95 (c1989)
"Cocaine Blues" is MBTB’s reading group selection for this month. If you live in the Portland, Oregon, area, please join us for a rousing, humor-filled discussion of this book. There is rarely unanimity among us! Tuesday, May 31, 2016, 6:30 pm, Belmont Branch of the Multnomah County Library, 1038 S.E. César E. Chávez Boulevard.
Australian author Kerry Greenwood has been writing her Phryne (pronounced Fry-knee) Fisher series for twenty-seven years. There are twenty novels, most of which are available in the U.S., thanks to Poisoned Pen Press. There is even an excellent Australian television series, “The Miss Fisher Mysteries,” which is available in the U.S.
“Cocaine Blues” is set at the end of the roaring 1920s of Melbourne, Australia. Phryne has brought her dramatic, European sense of fashion with her from England to the wilds of déclaseé Melbourne in order to surreptitiously help a young society wife whose husband is suspected of slowly poisoning her. Along the way she becomes embroiled in finding a man who, in the guise of an abortionist, has been butchering young women. When Phryne indulges her passionate whims with a young dancer, she also finds herself committed to finding the “King of Snow,” the head of the dangerous cocaine pipeline in Melbourne.
Phryne is a free spirit with detecting skills, a fashion plate whose accessories include guns and knives, a rich society woman with a first-hand knowledge of how the poor live, a pushover for attractive young men who nevertheless has a steel grip on her common sense.
“Cocaine Blues” is a whodunnit with racy bits and a nod to fashion history.