Phryne Fisher returns in her 20th mystery, and one gets the distinct impression that the singer in Ms Greenwood has had issues with choir conductors in the past. But that's not the only thing that really stood out in MURDER AND MENDELSSOHN.
Fans will, as always, find Miss Fisher in full flight, gorgeously costumed and decisive. A woman of means who uses those means to resolve the wrongs of the world. All of the expected elements are here - the cars, the household of supporting characters, the slightly bemused police in her wake. There's also a love interest, in the person of John Wilson, doctor and compatriot in the trenches of WW1. As attracted to Phyrne as Wilson is, his heart's desire lies elsewhere. In the person of the lavender eyed code-breaker Rupert Sheffield. Now I will admit that I was vaguely distracted by the concept of lavender eyes for a fair portion of this book, as I was by the general idea of the killing of conductors and the investigation as a whole.
But what stays with me most from MURDER AND MENDELSSOHN is something noticed in the book immediately before in the series. It could be that my reading eyes are seeing things that I lean towards, but could it be that these books are developing a little edge? The first time this feeling arose was to do with the wrongs of religious organisations, and a point being firmly, but politely made. In this book, the joy of love and relationships is equally firmly, but beautifully and quite touchingly explored. Made especially poignant when seen through Phryne's eyes, with her own feelings of love, friendship and loyalty for one of the men.
Aside from the gloriousness of the settings of these books, and the ongoing cast of well-known and familiar characters, there's the costumes. There's the cleverness of Miss Fisher. The dogged and quiet determination of Jack Robinson. The chaste and gentle relationship between Dot and her policeman. There's also a plot, interwoven with the personal and household touches, which never loses focus, and the internal machinations of a choir, conductor's and performance. I laughed out loud at the final line on the blurb of this book "A vastly entertaining tale of murder, spies, mathematics and music." How Miss Fisher is that.