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The most elegant investigator returns in her seventeenth escapade to investigate an apparent suicide and a missing heir. The start of 1929 is particularly wearisome for the plucky heroine as a heatwave has hit Melbourne with a vengeance. It is so hard to think when one is so hot – but think Phryne must as she does battle with a particularly dangerous group of bright young things who are dabbling in the occult.

The two cases are separate, but gradually links connect the investigations. Phryne has to deal with weeping mothers, angry son-in laws, drug addicts, terrifying seances, ghosts, spirit guides and treasure hunters before she can solve the mysteries.

Reading a Phryne Fisher mystery such as MURDER ON A MIDSUMMER NIGHT is always very good fun. Cosy with an edge, author Kerry Greenwood takes the sting out of the evil side of life with humour, friendship and some very off the wall characters. Phryne herself is a rich and independent woman who drinks, is not afraid to have casual sex, smokes her gaspers, drives her car fast with little or no regard of road rules, and solves mysteries. Phryne is always on the side of the underdog, and will battle anyone be they rich or poor, exploitative or abusive.

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Melbourne, 1929. The year starts off for glamorous private investigator Phryne Fisher with a rather trying heat wave and more mysteries than you could prod a parasol at. Simultaneously investigating the apparent suicide death of a man on St Kilda beach and trying to find a lost, illegimate child who could be heir to a wealthy old woman's fortune, Phryne needs all her wits about her, particularly when she has to tangle with a group of thoroughly unpleasant Bright Young Things.

But Phryne Fisher is a force of nature, and takes in her elegant stride what might make others quail, including terrifying s ances, ghosts, Kif smokers, the threat of human sacrifices, dubious spirit guides and maps to buried pirate treasure ...

Review MURDER ON A MIDSUMMER NIGHT - Kerry Greenwood
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Friday, August 21, 2009
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