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Murder On The Ballarat Train (Phryne Fisher #3)

3.92  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,573 Ratings  ·  320 Reviews
When the 1920s' most glamorous lady detective, the Honourable Miss Phryne Fisher, arranges to go to Ballarat for the week, she eschews the excitement of her red Hispano-Suiza racing car for the sedate safety of the train. The last thing she expects is to have to use her trusty Beretta .32 to save lives. As the passengers sleep, they are poisoned with chloroform.

Phryne is
Paperback, 163 pages
Published 2005 by Allen & Unwin (first published 1991)
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Richard Derus
Rating: 2.5* of five for the book, 4* of five for the series.

Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries episode 2 was Kerry Greenwood's third novel, MURDER ON THE BALLARAT TRAIN. Four stars for the episode! My review is at Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud.

These episodes, the series in general...such a treat. So satisfyingly beautiful to look at, and the problem of Greenwood's almost taciturn take on exposition is handled by the visuals. An excellent marriage.
May 20, 2011 Miriam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
What this country 1920s Australia coming to these days? A body can hardly take a train without being chloroformed or horrifically murdered or having molested orphans palmed off on her. And it was such a short book, too! When you subtract all the time spent talking about clothes and seducing the boring college boy (not that he held out long) it's a wonder any detecting got done at all.
Another fun outing with Phryne! This one ends with her adopting a couple of girls and goes through a bunch of stuff — a crime on a train, hypnotism, murder for an inheritance, mad criminals, etc. I’m not a fan of stories where the criminal turns out to be insane, even though it’s a classic: most crime is carried out by sane people, or certainly people whose mental disorders are not central to the deed. In fact, in the real world, it’s more common for a mentally ill person to be a victim of viole ...more
Apr 27, 2014 Brenda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As Phryne Fisher struggled to wake, she was assaulted by a dreadful smell – a strong smell which made her feel she was swimming up through a very thick substance. Fumbling for her Beretta she shot out the window of the fast moving train and when a gush of cold air hit her, she could feel her senses gradually returning….

Phryne and her maid Dot had decided to travel by train from their home in Melbourne to Ballarat for a restful few days, little knowing the nightmare they would soon be embroiled i
Sep 11, 2008 Kathryn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Another well-written installment and one that I quite enjoyed--for the most part. Unfortunately, one of the later chapters was decidedly un-cozy in tone -- unsavory men and young, innocent girls and selling them into awful professions -- but the humanity of Phryne and her friends got to shine the more for it. Even so, I'm hoping that the other books in the series follow more along the lines of "Away with the Fairies."
BOTTOM LINE: One of the best of this long series IMO, as we get to meet two people who are going to become very close to Phryne in the future - Jane and Ruth. Their introduction might have been pure melodrama, but Greenwood only very slowly spins out their odd stories, which resolve in a rather grisly - albeit satisfactory - manner.

Almost as contrived as an Edgar Wallace or Sax Rohmer tale, but with Greenwood's nicely light touch the plot just flows along and as long as you can manage to take t
Murder on the Ballarat train by Kerry Greenwood is the third Phryne Fisher Mystery book. Fast paced action and adventure from when Phryne foils plans to chloroform the passengers on the Ballarat train. She is hired to solve the murder of one of the passengers as well as help another girl on the train who has lost her memory and is found to have been molested. I enjoyed this book very much. Non-stop action kept me reading through to the end making it a quick read. I loved catching up with and fin ...more
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
The third and I hope final set-up novel in the Fisher series, in which Jane and Ruth and Ember join Phryne's menage. Not Ms Greenwood's best work, very little substance. A quick light read, but I figured out who the baddy was almost immediately after said baddy made an appearance. Not much in the way of red herrings for either of the mystery threads involved. There was a rather major failing, in that it is repeatedly stated that "you can't be hypnotised if you don't want to be" and yet mesmerism ...more
Nicole Field
Oct 10, 2015 Nicole Field rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was just marvellous in its simplicity!

Most people will recognise this story as the first one from the Miss Fisher's Mysteries TV show, although I think that it's even better in book format (who's surprised?). Phryne is sleeping on a train to Ballarat when she is woken by the scent of chloroform; the killer's method of making sure to knock out the carriage in order to get away with his murder.

I absolutely love Phryne Fisher, completely agreeing that she's about as unrealistic character
MURDER ON THE BALLARAT TRAIN (Amateur Sleuth-Australia-1920s) – G+
Greenwood, Kerry – 3rd in series
Allen&Unwin, 2005- Trade Paperback
Phryne Fisher and her companion Dot are on the Ballarat Train. Phryne awakens realizing the first class car is filled with chloroform fumes. She opens the windows, saves the passengers but realizes that the quarrelsome mother of one of the passengers is missing. The mother’s body is found badly broken and Phryne agrees to find the killer. Additional, Phryne resc
Jun 07, 2015 A.M. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own
Phryne hates chloroform, so when she finds herself almost passed out on the floor of the first class carriage, she pulls her small gun from her purse and shoots out the window. She breaks it with her shoe heel later to cover that she carries a gun. She thinks of everything.
But once they have stopped the train, opened all the windows and roused all the passengers, they find one is missing. The daughter’s face is badly burned by the chloroform and her aged mother is missing. When they find the mot
Jenny OH
Mar 21, 2016 Jenny OH rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I grabbed one of my mom’s Phryne Fisher books while she was visiting and was pleasantly impressed, enough to finish it in a week (I work full time and have a small kid so that says something about my available reading time!) There is definitely quite a bit of “I’m rich and hot and it’s 1920s Australia so I can pretty much wave my hand and get what I want/fix things plus I know martial arts” so the mystery gets wrapped up quickly and with little fuss, but it was a good Agatha Christie style whodu ...more
Feb 10, 2015 Jo rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This one was much better then Flying Too High, which thank god they skipped in adapting the series to tv. Unfortunately, I already knew who the murderer was from the show, so there was no suspense at all. This left the problems with the book in more glaring relief. It would be wonderful for Miss Fisher to be bad at a single thing, just for variety. This is also the first one I read in hardback instead of on my kindle, and it was revealed that I am not an amazingly fast reader, instead they are a ...more
While the story had potential to be good, the writing style, characters, and plot I felt were underdeveloped and silly in some parts.
Richard Ward
Jan 30, 2016 Richard Ward rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nobody.
I really disliked this one. The story made no sense. None of the adult characters were believable, interesting, or likeable. The child characters were more tolerable, I guess, but only because they were kids. They were underdeveloped and not enough to save the book. My favorite character, if I had to choose one, would have to be the stray black kitten, just because I'm a cat enthusiast. The setting, 1920's Australia, should have been interesting but it mostly fell flat for me. If you have Netfli ...more
Oct 16, 2013 Agnesxnitt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a confirmed fan of the tv series based on these books, but this is the first one I have read - thanks again my excellent local library :) I will try to track down more - with self-imposed austerity measures in place my days of mad spending sprees on Amazon are things of the past (if only temporarily) so I am dependant on my local library and second hand book emporia.
Phyrne, the Honarable Miss Fisher, is a bit of a girl one way and another, with confidence and money enough to do what she lik
I adore the TV series adapted from this series, but had never really read any of the books. This was the first book I read in the series, and although I'm not usually a fan of Australian period series, I was swept away by Miss Fisher. A great whodunit, with great characters, vibrant settings and amazing fashion.

Will definitely be picking up other books in the series.

oh, and for those who watch the series the book is very different from the episode and well worth a read.
Jul 03, 2015 Marina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 3-star, own-ebook
Some spoilers.

The series is progressing nicely. I still can't help but compare to the TV show, but I like it nonetheless.

What this book suffered from was the meandering storylines. While I was able to follow them quiet easily, the fact that the two mysteries has little to do with each other, was distracting. Greenwood should just focus on more and make it a little harder to solve. The villains of this story were a little two obvious. The scary thing is that the villains are very real.

Men like Al
Oct 20, 2013 Damaskcat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Phryne Fisher and her maid Dot are travelling by train to Ballarat when someone tries to chloroform the whole carriage and an elderly lady is murdered. Thanks to Phryne’s quick thinking no one else suffers any lasting ill effects from the frightening experience. Phryne is asked by the victim’s daughter to investigate the murder.

I enjoyed this fast paced story and thought it was well plotted. This is the third in the series Bert and Cec the taxi drivers find themselves investigating a mystery of
Jun 19, 2014 Patty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, historical
I learned about this series from the TV show from Australian Broadcasting Company. I love the costumes and Roaring 20's settings. The plots sometimes have a few holes in them, but they are nice and light. The characters are so fun. Phryne Fisher is a lady detective, horning in on the police work. Sometimes a lady can get information better than a policeman. She's also a pretty risque, independently minded flapper!
Aug 19, 2015 McYang rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Alright, I did it, I read one more to be fair - like SUPER fair. I was really excited about this one - a homage to Murder on the Oriental Express, but argh! No! So many things wrong:

1. taking all the victims into your home without knowing anything about them
2. a progressive and sexually promiscuous woman adopting 2 orphans - what? No! Not in line with everything the character has said and done before
3. a medical student not wholly understanding what chloroform can do
4. miraculous medical recover
Nov 29, 2014 Nikki rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's times like this that I wish you could give 3 and a half stars to things because I genuinely enjoy this series of books. I find them funny and quirky and they are really easy to read. I like the characters and the plots and I love that they're set in 1920's Australia which is a setting I don't know much about. I'm quite stingy about handing out 4 and 5 star reviews because I have to love a book for it to get 4 and I have to love it and be unable to stop thinking about the many ways in which ...more
Laura Morrigan
Jan 05, 2012 Laura Morrigan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: heroines
While I usually enjoy these books, I have to agree with some of the reviewers and say that all the slimy characters and references to paedophiles and sexual slavery left me with a distinctly nasty taste in my mouth and an unfriendly feeling towards humanity in general. This eventually wore off.

However, this is not half as enjoyable as the other Phryne Fisher books, which, while dealing with murder and kidnapping, are usually fun adventures with wonderful food, clothes and exciting and dangerous
I found Murder on the Ballarat Train to be just as strong, if not stronger, than the previous books in the series. I do enjoy it when an author is able to keep up standards over the course of a long-running series—it really doesn't happen too often. The only real drawback to this book was that the murderer was a bit too obvious, though it didn't affect how engaging and compulsively readable the book was as a whole. Besides a murder, Greenwood concerns herself with a child prostitution ring, a hy ...more
I obviously need more wool trousers.
Denise Louise
Something was lacking in this episode of Phryne Fisher mysteries. Phryne seemed to be mostly a detached observer through most of the book. She really didn't do anything much to solve the mysteries. She either seemed to know exactly what was going on without any investigation, or the information just fell into her lap without any effort on her part. Even the adoption of her daughters mostly just sort of happened without much thought or discussion. Very emotionless and lacking in character develop ...more
I can't help wanting to compare the print version of Phryne Fisher to her screen counterpart, but this is Goodreads after all, not GoodTV. (Seriously, you must watch the show, if you are able.) However, I will try to do justice to the book and give it an honest assessment.

This third instalment of the series feels less self-consciously Australian than the first two. Plot-wise, things happen very quickly in predetermined ways that seem to be either taken for granted and never explained at all, or
Nov 25, 2015 Jacqie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this for my mystery book club. Mostly it's an enjoyable, frothy little book that allows you to put yourself in Phryne Fisher's shoes for a bit of wish fulfillment. Phryne lives in a fabulous Art Deco home, drives a great car, has young men falling at her feet, adopts teenage girls as easily as she adopts kittens, and has the respect of both the police and the prostitutes. Not an easy feat, but then Phryne is larger than life. Always energetic, exuberant, and thirsty for justice, she never f ...more
Lorraine Montgomery
After watching Season One of the Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries , a TV series produced in Australia, and enjoying them so immensely, I decided it was time to read one of them. As it happens, this particular book, Murder on the Ballarat Train , was one of the mysteries I had watched, so it's easy for me to compare the book to the episode in the series.

While the series (books and TV episodes) takeplace in Melbourne, Australia, in the 1920s, this story begins withthe Honorable Phryne Fisher, tra
Sep 04, 2014 David rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2014
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Kerry Greenwood was born in the Melbourne suburb of Footscray 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,
More about Kerry Greenwood...

Other Books in the Series

Phryne Fisher (1 - 10 of 20 books)
  • Cocaine Blues (Phryne Fisher, #1)
  • Flying Too High (Phryne Fisher, #2)
  • Death at Victoria Dock (Phryne Fisher, #4)
  • The Green Mill Murder (Phryne Fisher, #5)
  • Blood and Circuses (Phryne Fisher, #6)
  • Ruddy Gore (Phryne Fisher, #7)
  • Urn Burial (Phryne Fisher, #8)
  • Raisins and Almonds (Phryne Fisher, #9)
  • Death Before Wicket (Phryne Fisher, #10)
  • Away With the Fairies

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“She was sensible of the fact that while there were two sets of masculine arms to fall into, and one of them her current pet, Phryne had fallen into Dot’s.” 2 likes
“I looked over Jordan, and what did I see? Coming for to carry me home A band of Angels coming after me Coming for to carry me home.” 0 likes
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