Queen of the Flowers
Review: Melbourne socialite and private investigator Phyrne Fisher is the Queen of the Flowers (at least for the town of St. Kilda's Flower Parade) but has a missing persons case to solve as well in the fourteenth mystery in this delightful series by Kerry Greenwood set in 1920s Australia.
There is excitement in St. Kilda as the town's first Flower Parade is being planned as part of a gala festival with a bazaar, a small circus, picnics on the beach, music, dances, and more. Naturally Phryne will be the Honorable Queen of the Flowers. On the float with her will be her four flower maidens. Costumes are being made for the teenaged girls by Dot, Phryne's maid and companion. A few days before the festivities, however, Rose Weston, one of her flower maidens, vanishes. Phryne is hired by Rose's wealthy grandfather to find the missing girl. When it becomes evident that she has not simply run away from home, Phryne calls in her old friend Inspector Jack Robinson and her own experts on the "worst of company", Ben and Cec. Their search takes them from the stylish home of Grandfather Weston to the local brothels, and down seedy roads to low sleazy, squalid saloons. Just when Phryne comes close to solving the disappearance of Rose, her own thirteen-year-old adopted daughter, Ruth, appears to be missing. The search deepens and becomes more wide-spread. Phyrne and her companions rummage around looking in the circus tents and the bazaar booths. Phryne knows that if the girls ran away from their homes, the chances of finding them are pretty good. If, however, they have for some reason been abducted, her only hope is to find them before any harm can come to them. For Phryne, it's a race against time.
Phyrne is wealthy, witty, and sexy, and much of the appeal of the series, including Queen of the Flowers, is in her relationships with her daughters, her staff, her friends, and, of course, her lovers. Here she's involved with the very handsome, very loving, and very married Lin Chung whose wife doesn't mind his liaison with Phyrne as long as she has a life of her own. And an old friend returns to town, Dulcie Fanshawe, who is available to help Phyrne as Phyrne once helped her.
Though Queen of the Flowers is a light, fast-reading, mystery, it is weighed down by letters from people not mentioned in the immediate storyline that are interspersed through the narrative. Though the letters become meaningful in the end, some readers are likely to flip back through the pages to see if something was missed. Otherwise, it's a welcome return for Phyrne and her cast of genuinely likeable characters.
Acknowledgment: Poisoned Pen Press provided an ARC of Queen of the Flowers for this review.
Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover), June 2008
ISBN-13: 9781590584262; ISBN-10: 1590584260
Murder in the Dark
Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover), March 2009
ISBN-13: 9781590584392; ISBN-10: 1590584392
Location(s) referenced in Queen of the Flowers: Melbourne, Australia
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Queen of the Flowers by Kerry Greenwood — A Phryne Fisher Mystery
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Publication Date: July 2008
List Price: $24.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
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