Comments: 8
Murder by Death 5 months ago
I almost stopped reading the first book because of that dinner scene - it was embarrassingly clumsy, but ultimately what I loved about Phryne is everything you disliked, lol. I don't know why, but in this series I'm not only totally ok with her being superwoman (I used female James Bond as my descriptor) but I loved the way she just swanned in and fixed everything. I want to be able to swan in and fix everything myself, so I live vicariously through her. Total fantasy. :)

I think, too, it works for me because Greenwood doesn't try to be realistic about it; Phryne isn't a woman in the 20's trying to buck the system from within; she just totally ignores the system and does what she wants. She's superman without the timid Clark Kent alter ego. If Greenwood tried to make her real, I wouldn't have the patience for it - does that make sense?

Bummer that it didn't work for you - have you seen the series at all? She's slightly more fallible in the series (but only slightly).
No, I haven't seen the series, though as I said, I can see the series working better, at least if it doesn't have the same fairly explicit premise of everybody else being TSTL and just waiting for Phryne to swish in and fix things with a single snap of her fingers.

I know Phryne is meant to deliberately flaunt social convention, and I'd be OK with that if it were well executed -- in fact, this was one of the things I had been most curious about beforehand. It's all in the execution where it falls down for me, though, and it's not just Phryne being superwoman as such (in lieu of "just" strong, independent, and unconventional), either. As I said, it's the whole central package that doesn't work for me -- the writing itself has the same blatant "aren't I clever?" subtext coming straight from Greenwood herself as Phryne has in her dealings with others -- and you know what, if the book's plotting and construction would at least halfway justify this sort of subtext, I might even have bought that ... but this is not anywhere near Christie's and Conan Doyle's (and Sayers's, and plenty of other first-tier crime writers') league, and so to me it just reads like a fairly preposterous wannabe.

Well, life would be boring if we all liked the same things ... and for the same reasons, too! And I did enjoy revisiting Melbourne -- or rather, getting to know and imagine the Melbourne of 80 years ago!
Murder by Death 5 months ago
The setting is what first drew me in - and truth be told the first book is the weakest of the bunch. I don't think any of them ever get past clever and into seriously good mystery writing construction, but I'm not sure that's Greenwood's intent, tbh. From what I've seen of her in the local press, her personality/attitude doesn't stray far from Phyrne's (as a type, not as an autobiographical similarity). As much as I love these I don't put them in the same class as Doyle (he's in a class by himself, btw), or Christie and Sayers. To me, these books are cream cheese while Doyle et. al. are a rich, complex, creamy brie. Both have their appeal - just not at all in the same way. Unless you dislike cream cheese, lol - which happens. :D
I do like cream cheese, and I was all prepared for reading this one in precisely that light -- if I'd have found it to be written as such! :) An example of cream cheese that works perfectly for me, and where I wouldn't even think of invoking comparisons to Conan Doyle, Christie et al., are Donna Andrews's mysteries. (Like all sorts of cream cheese, nothing to be overindulged on, but perfectly delicious if ingested in the right doseage.) This one, OTOH, while ostensibly written as a book that doesn't take itself seriously, in fact read (to me, anyway), as something that *does* take itself, or rather its own cleverness, extremely seriously underneath a paper-thin surface of levity, to the point of shoving the "don't-you-dare-miss-how-clever-I-really-am" bit into the reader's face 150% of the time, and that's precisely one of the things that I found annoying pretty much from page 1. And yes, I did get the impression from Greenwood's writing that she wrote Phryne as a fictional (even if not strictly autobiographical) incarnation of her own personality; or at least, of her own self-image (that, too is actually fairly obvious IMHO) -- which however only had the effect of making me grateful, for once, that it's extremely unlikely I'll ever meet her in person! :(
Murder by Death 5 months ago
Lol - do you know, I had the chance to go see her talk a couple of years back and found myself strangely disinterested. Or perhaps not strangely - I'm pretty certain what I like on paper I wouldn't like in RL. :)

And we agree completely on Donna Andrews! She's definitely a favourite of mine. :)
Olga Godim 5 months ago
I read one of the books in the series, don't remember which one, and I didn't like it either. But I love the series. Not for mysteries but for the personality Essie Davis has created. And she dresses so well in the movies. Total eye candy. :)
Well, I may end up taking a look at the series at some point. Not likely to happen anytime soon, though ...