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Unnatural Habits (Phryne Fisher #19)

4.03  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,085 Ratings  ·  261 Reviews
1929: Girls are going missing in Melbourne. Little, pretty golden-haired girls. And not just pretty. Three of them are pregnant, poor girls from the harsh confines of the Magdalene Laundry. People are getting nervous.Polly Kettle, a pushy, self-important Girl Reporter with ambition and no sense of self preservation, decides to investigate - and promptly goes missing hersel ...more
Paperback, 348 pages
Published October 1st 2012 by Allen & Unwin (first published 2012)
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When Miss Phryne Fisher observed a young woman being harassed by boys on the street, she intervened. But Polly Kettle wasn’t particularly grateful for her rescue – a reporter from a local paper in Melbourne she was filled with a determination to get ahead; to get her story at any cost. And her cost came when she vanished – it seemed she’d been abducted; Phryne was sure she would find her, with the help of her good friend, Jack Robinson the local policeman.

When three young women who were very pr
Apr 19, 2015 Marianne rated it it was amazing
Unnatural Habits is the nineteenth book in the popular Phryne Fisher series by Australian author, Kerry Greenwood. A chance encounter with a young female reporter for The Daily Truth in a laneway leads Phryne Fisher to investigate the disappearance of three pregnant girls and said reporter. Margaret Kettle, better known as Polly, is determined to make her name as a serious journalist and steals a colleague’s story on White Slavery. But her enquiries into the fate of three very pregnant teenagers ...more
Carl Brookins
Jan 08, 2013 Carl Brookins rated it really liked it
I confess it’s a cause for celebration when another Phryne Fisher adventure shows up. Yes, the publisher sent this novel in the hope that I’d give it a review. Yes, I have written elsewhere that I love the Phryne Fisher crime novels. The Honorable Phryne Fisher is an aristocratic displaced single woman living on her inheritance in Melbourne, Australia where she serves the downtrodden and criminally beset. Her relations with a few coppers is excellent and she has over the years, taken to her boso ...more
Jan 14, 2013 Karen rated it really liked it
It's almost impossible now to read these books and not have visions of the perfect Essie Davies as Phryne in the TV series wafting elegantly before your eyes. Which actually enhances the storylines as, although always beautifully described and outlined by Greenwood, she now has a physicality and a more three dimensional feel. It also didn't hurt that the dialogue, which was always crisp, sharp, clever and funny, has a voice as well.

I sort of lost my way with the Phryne Fisher series somewhere ba
Angela Savage
Dec 11, 2012 Angela Savage rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-fiction
Explaining his reason for wrapping up the Kenzie-Gennaro series, Dennis Lehane allegedly says, "Have you every heard anyone say ‘The seventeenth book in the series was my favorite’?"

Perhaps Mr Lehane lacks Ms Greenwood's chutzpah as I'm here to say Unnatural Habits, the nineteenth book in the Phryne Fisher series, is my favourite to date.

The central plot concerns the disappearance from Melbourne of a swathe of golden-haired girls, some of them pregnant, and the ambitious but not at all streetwis
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
A nice, light, enjoyable read. Greenwood continues her love of punny names for characters (Polly Kettle, as in "put the kettle on", Sister Dolour, who's a real pain, etc). We finally make it into 1929 as Phryne steps into the breach to stop white slave trafficking out of Melbourne. Lin Chung makes only a cameo appearance in this novel, which is populated by prostitutes, good ol' boys, unwed mothers and nasty nuns of one kind and another...especially another.

Ruth, Jane, Tinker and Dot all pitch
Jan 19, 2014 Sally906 rated it really liked it
Unnatural Habits is the 19th Phryne Fisher investigation and this time she looks at the dark side of Melbourne and the treatment of young unmarried mothers. Phryne gets drawn into the investigation when she rescues a young woman from being beaten up by three thugs. The woman turns out to be a reporter called Polly and she is investigating a story about 3 pregnant girls who have vanished from a convent that is supposed to be caring for them until after their babies are born. She believes that the ...more
❂ Jennifer
Nov 11, 2012 ❂ Jennifer rated it really liked it
As usual for this series, this book was excellent. Really excellent. Phryne is like the 1920's, female version of James Bond. She's not a spy, mind you, but that same self assurance, unlimited means, elegant taste and ability to strike fear in all hearts, as well as lust in the male ones. She answers to nobody and lives by her own standard of ethics and morality, not the law. Nothing scares her.

Unnatural Habits covers more than a few plots - a missing girl, mistreatment of unwed soon-to-be-mothe
I have to admit that it has been some time since I read Phryne Fisher, I did manage a handful of the early novels, even watched the television series but was surprised to realise that Miss Fisher is up to book 19. This was no deterrent in reading Unnatural Habits for the only things that seemed to be different, from my memory of the earlier books, is that Phryne’s household has grown and she has more notoriety with the general public.
Miss Fisher is still her independent, free-wheeling, scandalo
One of the best of the series. The more I listen or read, the more I like the book and the audio of it. Stephanie Daniel will be very much missed.

The whole 'Magdalen laundry' setup was shameful and outrageous, and I thank Ms Greenwood for exposing it. Can't do anything about it so many years after the fact, but we can be hopeful that such narrow-minded views never arise again.
Sep 06, 2012 KateFromAllGoodBookStore rated it it was amazing
our Phyrne (and Kerry!) never fail! Cheeky and fun, daring and lethal Phryne is hard on the trail of missing girls and the white slave trade. Full of all our favourite 'minions' and reassuringly still the Phryne-of-my-imagination rather than the ABC-series-Phryne this was as completely refreshing and restorative as one of Mr Butlers cocktails!
Jul 06, 2014 Vivienne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This proved to be another winner in this constantly excellent series. Still unlike many in the series I cannot class it as a 'cosy mystery' given that the plot involved the kidnapping of young girls for nefarious ends as well as the horrific conditions inside the Magdalene Laundry, a place that did actually exist.

This part of the story obviously upset Kerry Greenwood as they do her fictional detective. It forms part of the social aspects of the story and proves a powerful condemnation of the at
Dec 05, 2013 Damaskcat rated it it was amazing
Phryne Fisher rescues a young journalist, Polly Kettle, from an awkward and potentially dangerous situation. Shortly afterwards she hears Polly has gone missing. Her friend – Detective Jack Robinson – asks for her help. Phryne, in her usual inimitable fashion, starts asking awkward questions and soon discovers that Poppy was onto something.

Girls are disappearing without trace and it seems as though pregnant girls are being badly treated by the local convent in their Magdalen laundries. Are thes
Feb 21, 2013 Abbey rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Abbey by: Mary Chamberlain
2012, #19 Phryne Fisher, Investigator, ~1929, Melbourne Australia
poor, pregnant young women and pretty little nice girls have gone missing, as has the reporter who was trying to find them; classic-style cosy thriller.

Naive Polly Kettle wants to be a "real" reporter, not just a Womans' Page puff-piece writer, and sets out to get herself a scoop, falling into extremely bad company along the way. Very young, blonde girls from decent families are going missing, presumably kidnaped, but no ransoms ha
Mar 02, 2013 Coralie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: i-own-this-book
This latest Phryne Fisher Mystery is just as agreeable and totally enjoyable as all her others.
I find it difficult to individually review Kerry Greenwood's lady detective stories because they all have excellent plots, they bring my favourite characters to life and I always learn a little more about the 'underbelly' of Melbourne in the 20's which is fascinating in itself.

I adore the character of Phryne, and what adventurous, romantic woman wouldn't? So many of us would love to be Phryne, and for
Kevin Lanahan
Apr 07, 2013 Kevin Lanahan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, chick-lit
My wife, the librarian, has brought home all the Phryne Fisher books and I, the dutiful husband, have read them all. After the last one, Dead Man's Chest, Greenwood gets back on her game with a fairly interesting story. After some boring storytelling in her last Corinna Chapman book and her dreadful Egyptian story, she is back to what appears to be her favorite character.

As Phryne gets a little older, she maintains her style and sense of adventure, but has also been adding strays to her househo
I do love Miss Phryne Fisher of the Kerry Greenwood mysteries. There are some series that become stale or too formulaic as they go on, but Greenwood manages to keep the surprises coming and the interest piqued....even at entry #19: Unnatural Habits. This particular outing puts a little bit darker spin on the adventures of the grownup's Nancy Drew.

Phryne finds herself drawn into the world of "bad girls" and white slaving when a spate of disappearances occurs that involves everyone from fallen wom
I've listened to most of the series, and I like some much better than others. This title hit the spot--whether because it really is an excellent mystery and the characterizations fine or because it was the right book for my mood. Who knows. Phryne is always a force to be reckoned with--a dashing heroine not unlike adventure heroes in her sense of mission. Loved the parallel to chess--it's the queen that's the most powerful piece on the board, and Phryne proves she is just that here. Lovely perio ...more
Mar 04, 2014 Jade rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
Phryne is fun, intrepid, like a female James Bond in the 20s and I liked that new adventure, but I started to get bored 3/4th into the book. I found that after one mystery was solved I had lost interest in the second, and by the time the second was solved I was impatient for the book to end & I didn't care much for the details. It was a good book, I don't regret reading it, the way the mysteries were resolved was well done, it just lost steam at some point.
One of the stronger installments in the series—Greenwood has Phryne Fisher investigating a Magdalene Laundry, a missing female reporter, and the disappearance of some young girls at the hands of white slavers. There is no fear of this series ever veering into the truly gritty or becoming great literature, but Unnatural Habits is a little darker and more thoughtful than some of the earlier installments. Reading this book after having seen the episode of the TV series based on it was jarring, thou ...more
Feb 15, 2013 Barbara rated it really liked it
Another fabulous book in Kerry Greenwood's series focused around the world of Phyrne Fisher in 1920s Melbourne ... a Melbourne that definitely has a dark underbelly, an underbelly that spreads from the highest to the lowest.

Once again Kerry weaves in the historical fabric of life in 1920s Melbourne in a way that gives insight into just how hard life could be, especially if you were an unwed mother. But remember, this is Phyrne Fisher's world, so whilst there is darkness, this isn't served up as
Alison Dellit
Dec 25, 2012 Alison Dellit rated it really liked it
I've been looking forward to this indulgence for ages, and it was just as expected. The impeccable Phryne Fisher triumphs against the forces of slavery and sexual abuse with the assistance of a motley crew of left-wing taxi drivers, doctors, farmers, policemen, brothel owners, servants and children. It wasn't a long book, but by the end I'd had enough of the remarkably cheerful and right-folk-rewarding world by the end. Apparently there is a limit to how much idealised history I can stomach, and ...more
Apr 08, 2016 S'hi rated it liked it
Shelves: australia, crime
Curious about the popularity of Kerry Greenwood’s writing I plunge in to read five novels in two and half days. They are both easy and challenging. The untouchable central character is ravishingly sensuous. Her deportment, wardrobe and cuisine a lifestyle propounded for selective consumption and delightful allusion among her many followers.

All the elements are here: exotic people in well-known places, ordinary folk in outrageous situations, questions where questions should be and answers that sa
Bryan Higgs
Jan 16, 2015 Bryan Higgs rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime, mystery, detective
I'm making my way through the Phryne Fisher books in no particular order, and in a relaxed fashion, interspersing other books in between. I find this writer, Kerry Greenwood, and her protagonist, Phryne Fisher, highly entertaining. This book is probably the best I've read yet in the series. This book is particularly entertaining because of the writing and the dialog -- I found myself laughing out loud on many an occasion, and the turns of phrase reflected the time period, and were often highly o ...more
Aug 21, 2014 Nancy rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries, historical
I grew up binge-reading Nancy Drew mysteries. This morning, as I finished my third Phryne Fisher story in four days I realized that the same dynamic is in place now--and, perhaps there are more similarities than differences in the books:

Nancy Drew should have had other things to do, but dropped everything to sort out a problem. Ditto Phryne.

Nancy Drew "kept house" for her widowed father and there was a domestic routine that centered the books and her life. Phryne's cozy household helps center he
First Sentence: The attack came on suddenly.

Young pregnant girls are going missing and reporter Polly Kettle thinks she knows what is happening to them. Then Polly disappears. Phryne and her minions are on a case that involves much more than first thought.

Greenwood has the most wonderful voice and use of humor…”This was going to be an evening where she needed every single whit about her, as plate armour was no longer worn in polite society.” At the same time, the book addresses several serious s
In this latest adventure of Phryne Fisher she finds herself entangled in three different investigations both of which involve missing girls.

A newspaper reporter has gone missing and no one seems to know what happened. Supposedly she had a shocker of a story she was working on.

Three pregnant girls have walked away from a lying-in house after they were sent there from the Magdalene laundry. All three left together and no one has seen or heard from them since. Phryne's investigation takes her to th
Feb 06, 2014 Katrina rated it really liked it
loved this latest phrynne fisher....such a wonderful character and love all the twists and turns!
Jun 07, 2015 Suzanne rated it really liked it
Another fast-paced story which seems to have been inspired by the film "Philomena." These books are meant to be light and entertaining, so I can accept the rosy feminist-socialist utopian commune she creates, but the glowing, one-sided depiction of life in a brothel really was pushing it. In an earlier book, Greenwood held up a proprietor as ideal because he allowed his "girls" to keep one of their children -- as if children are kittens or puppies. In this one, she compares prostitutes to wives, ...more
Mar 31, 2014 Jennifer rated it it was ok
This was my first time reading this author. It's also one of the few times that I enjoyed the television version better than the book. I will try to read a few more to see if they grow on me but overall, I find the story written very lightly while the subject matter was very dark and heavy. The characters seemed very 2 dimensional and somewhat a disappointment.
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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...

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“Phryne looked at a large statue of St. Joseph, for whom she had always had an admiration. It can’t have been easy, managing a girl with an inexplicable pregnancy. But he had accepted the word of the Lord and not put her away. Later generations had not been so forgiving.” 3 likes
“Her Beretta was holstered in her garter worn high on her thigh, under the shapeless blue dress. She had donned shoes in which she could run. The high heels had done their work and could be presented to the poor, assuming that they wanted to court a broken ankle along with their other problems. Along her forearm, covered by the loose sleeve, her throwing knife was strapped. Phryne, as a helpless victim, was a complete failure.” 1 likes
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