Dazzling beauty Miss Phryne Fisher investigates mystery cases in the 1920s Melbourne! She drives a car and flies a plane and she is dressed to kill!
Have you seen the dainty Miss Phryne Fisher investigating murder mysteries? It has been aired in Australia and on Netflix, undoubtedly elsewhere too, and concerns a beautiful British (Australian born) heiress who is eccentric, witty, adventurous, dresses gorgeously and could not care less about society’s prejudices. Furthermore, she drives her own smashing car, she is a pilot and strong independent woman who picks up her various lovers along the way. The remarkable television series made me curious about the books of Ms Fisher’s creator Kerry Greenwood, so I started reading them and kept on reading until the last book in the series: ‘Murder and Mendelssohn’. Loved the books! The heroin never ceases to be enterprising and letting herself be drawn into many an adventure, always finding not only the whodunit but also the next gorgeous man who will be granted access to her boudoir.
Where the books show the leading character as all the above mentioned, the television series started alike but invented a romance along the way. The trustworthy detective Jack Robinson, happily married with children in the book, is single in the tv series and develops a passion for Ms Fisher. She swirls from lover to lover but gradually finds more and more heart space taken by her detective. At the end of tv series 3, the latest so far, there is a promise of love hanging in the air (for those of you who haven’t seen it, I won’t mention anything more).
That makes me think: why are we television viewers (as well as book readers, maybe) always seeking for a happy ever after? Why do even the most adventurous stories have to have a romantic storyline most of the time ending in: ‘and they lived happily ever after?’ Do we need that aspect and therefore the television makers put it in their stories, whether it belongs or not? Here we have Miss Fisher, an independent woman, who likes her freedom and lives as she pleases and yet she has to somehow fit into our rules of society, the ultimate goal of life being to find your soulmate and settling down together. Is it us? Do we impose these things on the television series makers? Does every book adapted to a tv series need a romantic storyline wherein the hero (or heroin) falls in love forever? May I remind you that the moment the characters find each other, usually marks the beginning of the end for the tv series? Look for instance at The Mentalist, the series that ended right after the ‘I do’ from Patrick Jane and Teresa Lisbon.
Against better judgment, I too wanted Phryne Fisher and Jack Robinson to find each other, hated it when yet another romantic dinner was interrupted and loved their Christmas kiss. However, while reading the entertaining books of Ms Greenwood, it becomes clear that the character of Miss Fisher is extraordinary and cannot be clipped by such things as a marriage or long-term involvement with one special someone. She embodies freedom herself and dares others to judge lest they be judged themselves. She is the ultimate feminist who lets herself be seduced whenever she feels like it, she is in total control of her life. For love of Ms Greenwood’s books, the character of the unique Phryne Fisher and to ensure many more future tv series of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, therefore, I implore both you, the watchers as well as the producers of the television series: leave the free spirit of Miss Fisher untamed forever.
About the Author
Kerry Greenwood was born in Melbourne and after wandering far and wide, she returned to live there. She has a degree in English and Law from Melbourne University and was admitted to the legal profession on the 1st April 1982, a day which she finds both soothing and significant. Kerry has written twenty novels, a number of plays, including The Troubadours with Stephen D’Arcy, is an award-winning children’s writer and has edited and contributed to several anthologies. In 1996 she published a book of essays on female murderers called Things She Loves: Why women Kill. The Phryne Fisher series began in 1989 with Cocaine Blues. Kerry Greenwood has worked as a folk singer, factory hand, director, producer, translator, costume-maker, cook and is currently a solicitor for the Victorian Legal Aid. She is also the unpaid curator of seven thousand books and three cats and can detect second-hand bookshops from blocks away.
Here you find a complete list of all the books, including the lovely TV tie-ins. At the moment the series consists of 20 books, all published by Allen&Unwin, Australia. Because of the many (20) books, I will provide you with the information on ‘ Introducing the Honourable Phryne Fisher – Phryne Fisher Mystery’ (2011) containing the first three books in the series: ‘Cocaine Blues’ – ‘Flying too High’ – ‘Murder on the Ballarat Train’.
|Publisher||Allen & Unwin (15 Mar. 2011)|