I am – I must confess – a bit of a nanna when it comes to some television shows. I mean, I haven’t succumbed as yet to Midsomer Murders and the like, but I love me some Agatha Christie Miss Marple (particularly when the leading lady is played by the fabulously wooly Geraldine McEwan). And, I’ve already confessed to a Murder She Wrote fetish.
Well, now it appears there’s a new female sleuth in town and I feel slightly guilty that I haven’t heard of her before. However, I’m pretty sure I’ve admitted that I don’t read a lot of Australian literature (preferring to escape into other worlds as much as possible – ie. I don’t want any bloody reality seeping in!), so I guess it’s not surprising that I hadn’t heard of Australian author Kerry Greenwood’s Miss Phryne Fisher.
At least I hadn’t heard of her until she burst into life in the form of a 13-part ABC Australian television series, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. AND. I. AM. LOVING. IT. In fact, I think I’ve got a bit of a girl-crush on Miss Phryne Fisher herself, played by Essie Davis who’s apparently been in other stuff which I haven’t seen or can’t recall. Although quite frankly, it’s not Ms Davis, but Miss Fisher who has me enthralled.
Phryne (pronounced Fry-nee) is a tres glamorous pistol-toting 1920s ‘spinster’ (as she is referred to in the show) who seemingly stumbles across murder and mayhem convincing her to turn her mind to ‘detecting’.
Phryne, who has a one-nighter with a murder suspect in the first episode may not be typical of 1920s Melbourne society types, although flighty on the surface, she has a generous spirit and endearing personality (akin to a gentile steamroller) and manages to charm even the most conservative around her.
Like all good heroines, Phryne comes with baggage in the form of a sister who disappeared many many years before… and when we first meet Phryne she is returning from life abroad to ensure her sister’s accused kidnapper remains behind bars. (And I’m kinda assuming we may see more of that backstory throughout the series!)
Now I must confess that I don’t know Melbourne well, but the location scouts and set designers have done a good job in ensuring the period feel, and Phryne’s wardrobe is FABULOUS!
Episode two has just aired here and her support cast is coming together nicely, from her chaste Catholic maid (and assistant sleuth) Dot, the remainder of her household staff and the ubiqitious Police Inspector, who will surely be a love interest of some sort.
Obviously I could trundle down to the local bookstore or library and buy/borrow Greenwood’s books… but I have to say I’m enjoying the TV series so much I don’t want anything to mar the experience. I’m happy to take each episode as it comes, eking out the pleasure I get from watching the show and Phryne’s antics, each week.
And already I’m excited about what she may have in store for us next!
*Photographs from www.abc.net.au